Hurricanes pose significant challenges. Such challenges are considerably less difficult when business owners and families prepare for hurricane season in advance.
A proactive approach to hurricane season can minimize the effects of these powerful storms, which can cause potentially costly property damage. Such preparation also reduces the likelihood that individuals will be involved in accidents and/or suffer injuries.
Hurricane season is on the horizon, so now is a great time for business owners and families to prepare for the months ahead.
Coastal regions tend to bear the brunt of damage caused by hurricanes, so anyone working and living in such areas should have a well-developed evacuation plan in place as hurricane season begins. Lifelong residents of coastal regions most often affected by hurricanes, which in the United States includes Florida, Texas, the Carolinas, and Louisiana as well as other areas along the Atlantic coast, no doubt have evacuation plans in place already. However, it’s a good idea to go over such plans with employees and family members at the start of each new hurricane season.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes that the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, while the Eastern Pacific season begins roughly two weeks earlier and ends at the same time.
The opening weeks of May is a great time to develop an evacuation plan and/or go over an existing plan. Make a list of accessible hotels and shelters where you can go should you need to evacuate, and make sure everyone has a hard copy of that list. Keeping the list on a smartphone notes app can be helpful, but hard copies are vital, as access to mobile networks or even electricity to keep phones charged is not guaranteed during hurricanes. Detailed information about routes to take to get to safety and a prearranged place to meet if evacuation also is vital.
The Insurance Information Institute notes that, when hurricanes are in the forecast and warnings are issued, it’s not uncommon for residents of areas in the eye of the storm to rush to stores to purchase supplies. A proactive approach to hurricane preparation can help people avoid that mad rush. The III recommends people stock up on certain supplies in advance of hurricane season. Such supplies include:
• Extra batteries
• Candles or lamps with fuel
• Matches, which should be kept in a part of the home that’s likely to remain accessible and dry
• Materials and tools for emergency home repairs, such as heavy plastic sheeting, plywood, a hammer, and other tools
• Prescription drugs
• A three-day supply of drinking water
• Food that you don’t have to refrigerate or cook
• First aid supplies
• A portable NOAA weather radio
• A wrench and other basic tools
• A flashlight
It’s also wise for business owners and homeowners in coastal areas to take an annual inventory of their belongings in advance of hurricane season. The III notes that such an inventory, which should include a list of possessions and their respective values, can speed up the claims process, substantiate losses for income tax purposes and prove helpful if business owners or homeowners apply for disaster aid.
Hurricane season is coming. That means now is the time to prepare businesses and homes for the challenges that hurricanes can leave in their wake.