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3/21/2013 - Three ways to prepare for hurricanes today

Performing various tasks in and out of their residences can help homeowners be prepared for hurricanes.

With the temperatures gradually inching upward and with spring finally here, Americans everywhere are rejoicing after getting through another winter season that brought its fair share of storms, including heavy winds, bone-chilling cold and heavy snowfall. But, it won't be long before the spring transitions to summer, bringing with it a new set of environmental weather hazards - hurricane formation.

As a general rule, the Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 all the way into the end of November. While hurricanes could occur at any time of the year, most occur during this window, causing billions of dollars in damage on an almost annual basis.

Though forecasters haven't gone into great detail about what to expect this year, it's never too early to start preparing, with the first item on the list being home maintenance. 

1. Trim overhanging tree branches. Though leaves and branches on trees may not be in full bloom, homeowners may already be able to tell if the branches are too close to the home. When severe wind blows, these branches can damage a property's exterior, therefore it is crucial to hem them back so problems are avoided.

2. Unclog gutters. Falling leaves can cause rain gutters to become backed up. Some homeowners often do this near the end of the fall season, but due to busy schedules, on occasion it can be neglected. Clearing away any debris and leaves frees up the gutters' drainage system, so that flooding can be prevented.

3. Remove sensitive items from basement floor. Many times the main part of a home that is damaged during a flooding event is the basement. Therefore, it is important to remove items lining the floor that could become destroyed or cause injury if they become wet, such as electrical devices.

4. Review insurance policy. Every year, homeowners and renters should be sure to review their homeowners insurance plan to see if it needs to be updated. This is especially crucial as it pertains to flood insurance, as most homeowners policies don't include flood coverage. If policies need to be renewed, ensure that the flood policy is updated as well, as these are separate and are imperative in the time of a crisis.

While flooding typically occurs following a hurricane, homeowners can learn more about the dangers they present to homes by checking out the website for National Flood Safety Awareness week here.

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