Hurricane Tip Sheets
Preparing for a Hurricane*
Hugo. Andrew. Iniki. Hurricanes like these have devastated huge areas and left thousands of people homeless. Hurricanes are a threat to inland areas, as well as coastal cities and towns. The best defense against a hurricane is to be prepared. Here are some things you can do to minimize the impact a hurricane may have on you, your family and your property.Prepare ahead of time:
- Review your homeowners insurance policy to ensure you have adequate protection and appropriate coverages. Homeowners insurance policies do not cover loss from flooding, a common occurrence with hurricanes. The only way to protect your home from floods is to purchase flood insurance. If you live in a flood hazard area, you may want to purchase a flood policy -- call your Liberty Mutual representative for more information.
- Homeowners policies provide coverage for valuables, up to certain limits. For maximum protection, you should have jewelry, furs, silverware and other valuables appraised, then scheduled separately to your policy. You'll get the broadest coverage possible, with no deductible. Ask your Liberty Mutual representative for more information.
- Take an inventory of your personal property. Document this inventory with a videotape or photographs. Store this information and other important documents in a safe deposit box. Liberty Mutual offers a brochure that will assist you in creating a room-by-room inventory -- call your local office for a free copy.
Prepare family members:
- Teach your children what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Have a family member take a first aid course if possible.
- Plan an evacuation route and destination.
- Ask an out-of-town friend or relative to be your "family contact." After a disaster, anyone not at home should check in with the contact person.
- Know your pets' favorite hiding places so that you can find them in an emergency.
Take steps to minimize damage to your property:
- Install hurricane shutters or pre-cut 3/4 inch plywood shutters on each window of your house.
- Cut tree branches that could break windows and enter your home.
- Check tie-downs of mobile homes.
- Turn refrigerators and freezers to coldest settings and don't open the doors unless necessary.
- Bring outside objects like patio furniture or toys into the house or a secured garage. Secure large items, such as boats or swing sets, to the ground.
- Close shutters, board up or tape windows.
Assemble disaster supplies:
- First aid supplies, including sterile gauze pads, scissors, bandages, tweezers, antiseptic spray, latex gloves and a bar of antibacterial soap.
- Prescription and non-prescription medicines, including non-prescription pain relievers, antacid, eye wash, rubbing alcohol, and medicine to induce vomiting in the event of poisoning.
- Battery-operated radio with extra batteries.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Cash or travelers checks.
- Dry clothes and sturdy shoes for each family member.
- Sleeping bags and a tent.
- Toilet paper and other personal hygiene items.
- Special items required for babies or pets.
Prepare emergency rations:
Stock up on bottled water and non-perishable food, such as canned meats, soup, juice and powdered milk.
Set aside emergency cooking utensils, including a manual can opener, matches, Sterno and lightweight cooking pots.
Store emergency rations of food or beverages in non-breakable containers.
Just before the storm:
Turn off circuit breakers.
Close all doors and secure all windows.
Fill bathtubs with water, to be used for hygiene and cleaning after the storm.
Listen for radio or television reports from the National Weather Service and follow all instructions, particularly those for evacuation.
If you need to evacuate your home:
Do so early to avoid traffic congestion.
Make reservations if necessary; tell your family contact where you will be and how to reach you.
Turn off your electric, water and gas utilities before leaving. This can reduce the possibility of electrocution or explosion when power is restored.
Take family pets and other valuables with you. You will not get the opportunity to retrieve these items later. Keep in mind, however, that many emergency shelters do not accept pets, so you should develop a contingency plan for your dogs, cats and other household pets.
If you decide to weather the storm in your home:
Make sure each family member is prepared to follow directions, stay calm and take safety precautions.
Avoid using utilities during the storm. Rely on candles and battery-powered appliances instead.
Identify the safest rooms in your house in which to weather the storm, preferably internal rooms with no windows. Wait out the storm there.
After a Hurricane:
Listen to the radio to determine when it is safe to leave the reinforced room in which you have been waiting out the storm.
Boil tap water before drinking or cooking, or use bottled water.
Follow these electrical safety precautions:
Keep circuit breakers turned off until all power has been restored.
Stay away from power lines.
Once power is restored, investigate for electrical system damage. Turn off the electricity if you find frayed wires, detect a burning smell or suspect any other problems.
Check for gas leaks. If you detect a leak, leave the building immediately and turn off the gas at the main valve outside, if possible. Notify the gas company at once.
Check to see that sewer and water lines are functioning properly. If you detect a problem, do not run the tap or flush the toilet. Contact a plumber.
Take an inventory of any damaged property or possessions. Do not dispose of any items without the prior approval of your insurance claims adjuster.
In the event of a loss, contact your Liberty Mutual claims office and a representative will assist you.
Note: Homeowners policies and coverages vary by state. An Insurance Counselor will gladly explain the coverages provided by your policy and any regulations for the state in which you live.
*Source: Institute for Business and Home Safety, http://www.disastersafety.org/