With so many of the legendary hurricanes coming in later summer and early fall — think Andrew, Katrina and Sandy — you may be surprised to learn hurricane season officially begins on June 1. In fact, June storms such as Agnes, Alma and Allison have resulted in hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars in damages.
Bottom line: Now is the perfect time to start preparing or dusting off your hurricane plans. Included in your planning should be key recommendations from the experts at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):
- Before the storm: Build emergency kits; create a family communications plan; prepare an evacuation plan, including available escape routes; decide how to secure your home; and be sure to include pets in your plans.
- During the storm: Have battery powered communication devices for keeping up with storm developments and local emergency announcements; properly prepare and store food and water; implement home security arrangements; and decide when or whether to evacuate.
- After the storm: Keep updated with local news, weather and emergency government announcements. If evacuated, wait to return home until authorities say it is safe. Avoid "sightseeing," because roads are often dangerous and buildings and debris may be unstable. When returning home, inspect cautiously for damages, dangerous gas leaks and loose or downed electric lines. Be certain to use any temporary equipment such as generators properly and safely. Take pictures for claim documentation purposes, and report claim as soon as is practical to us.
These and many other FEMA tips, including more detailed descriptions of emergency kits, communications plans and evacuation plans, can be found at www.ready.gov/hurricanes.
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