HURRICANE PREP: LESSONS LEARNED FROM IRMA
Most of us learned a few hard lessons when Hurricane Irma came ashore over our area in September last year. With the 2018 season officially upon us, we thought it would be prudent to put into practice some of the things we learned at that time and hope that we won’t have to apply it to a tropical event this year. Below are some reminders we hope you will find helpful this season:
Set up a Hurricane Kit
Create a personalized list of must-haves for your hurricane kit. There are many templates to choose from online, or you can create your own. After your list is compiled, decide what items you need to purchase now in order to fulfil your kit. Most items you will need are available online, including the basics such as a Hand Crank NOAA Weather Radio, batteries, flashlights, and the like. You might even throw in a deck of cards and a couple of good, old fashioned games to entertain your family via candlelight when the lights go out.
Pick up a couple of large, see-through bins with tight lids and load your supplies inside. Print the list and enclose it inside so it’s handy should you need to modify it, or should you need to modify the contents in the bins at any time.
Buy bottled water now, before you need it. The shelf life for bottled water is one to two years so it will last for a long time. If you plan ahead, you won’t need to rush to the store, only to discover that the shelves are already empty.
Grill…and Refill Those Propane Tanks
Everyone likes a good barbeque in the summer. But that’s not the only reason to have your grill in working order. If you are without power, cooking is an instant challenge. Go to a propane refill facility and be sure you refill enough propane tanks for a couple of weeks of outdoor cooking if the need arises. Just be careful to store the extra tanks in a safe place, secure from the effects of a storm.
Do you own a generator? If so, give it a test run now to ensure it’s in working order. Be sure you have enough gas on hand to run the generator should you need it. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and comply with safety regulations. Have extension cords handy. If you use a ‘whole house generator’ it is imperative to understand exactly how it works in conjunction with your home’s electricity. When the power to your home is restored, you do not want your home over-powered and back-feed. You’ll want to hire the services of a licensed electrician so you understand how the two systems work, and how to ensure all safety practices are followed.
Securing Your Home
Before the threat of a hurricane is upon us, walk around your home and see what items should be secured now. If you need someone to assist you with securing your items, give us a call and ask for a recommendation. If you need a recommendation for hurricane shutter or window boarding installation, we will be happy to recommend someone to you as well.
Cell Phone and App Update
Download the latest hurricane tracking app on your phone and be sure to adjust your settings to allow notifications AND cellular data. While it’s true this can quickly use up your battery charge, you can dim the screen on your cellphone to help offset the extra battery usage. You’ll want to select the best app for your particular smart phone device. Some popular, helpful apps to check out are:
Fox 13: My Fox Hurricane
The Weather Channel
Hurricane: American Red Cross
Always be sure your cell phone is charged and know where your car charger is as well. Last year I was without power for over a week. I was grateful for a car charger. Unfortunately, I had to drive around to charge my phone, and I had to use the gas in my car to do so.
Know Your Utility Provider Information
Download your utility provider’s app now so you can quickly report any outages in your area. Log in to your account in advance so you can save your user name and become familiar with the features of the app. Sitting in the dark in the middle of a storm is no time to try to locate your utility account information.
Protect Your Important Papers
Most of our clients request that we hold an original set of their signed estate planning documents in our vault. If you’re holding your own set, you’ll want to be certain your documents are in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box, or in a locked, weather-proof safe. Many of our clients also prefer PDF scans of their signed documents. Having access to your documents electronically offers piece of mind, knowing that you can search your email and have access to your documents at a moment’s notice. This also holds true for other valuable documents and photos you want to protect.
Stay Connected With Your Family and Friends
There’s almost nothing worse than losing connection to the outside world in the middle of a storm. Be sure to put a plan in place well in advance so you and your loved ones know the best way to get in touch with one another. Some families select a party that is outside the affected area as a central pivot point with which a family can communicate.
Here are a few links to some great web sites that provide even more detailed information on Hurricane prep.
If you take thoughtful precautions in advance of the hurricane season, you’ll have
less to worry about when the storm circles around you. You’ll be able to concentrate on keeping yourself, and your family safe and secure in the middle of the storm.