Hurricane safety tips to protect you, your family, pets and household items

Hurricane season is coming at us full force. As we begin to face the destructive reality of Hurricane Florence, WeatherCheck has unique safety tips and online resources.

Here are tips you’ve probably never heard, but can give you peace of mind before and after the storm.

  1. Make a checklist. You can never be too prepared for a hurricane. Walk around your home before evacuating and take a photo of everything; rooms, cabinets, drawers. This will be crucial in getting the maximum insurance claim pay out.
  2. Fully charge your phone. Consider downloading the “Zello Walkie Talkie App.” Zello lets you use your phone as a walkie-talkie or two-way radio as long as you have a network or WiFi connection. Users can join channels and instantly send messages or photos, and the app even works over older 2G networks. It’s important to note that if cell towers are wiped out in the storm and WiFi goes down, Zello will not work. But if you have cell service — even a 2G or 3G connection — the app could help in the event of an emergency.
  3. Invest in a portable charger. You can also find solar powered chargers online.
  4. Get a prepaid phone. They have a lower frequency that is prioritized over devices such as smartphones.
  5. Do not store your valuables in your dishwasher. It is a MYTH that dishwashers are waterproof. Take your valuables with you.
  6. Know about the elevation level of your property and whether or not the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
  7. If you live in a highrise apartment building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
  8. Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
  9. It’s important to know your surroundings and understand everything your community has to offer during severe weather. Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
  10. Cover all of your home’s windows. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  11. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  12. Practice going to a safe shelter for high winds, such as a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room in a sturdy building on the lowest level that is not subject to flooding.
  13. If you have NFIP flood insurance, your policy may cover up to $1000 in loss avoidance measures, like sandbags and water pumps, to protect your insured property. You should keep copies of all receipts and a record of the time spent performing the work. They should be submitted to your insurance adjuster when you file a claim to be reimbursed. Visit www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/137860 to learn more.

As you prepare the next few days before the hurricane hits, take time to find online resources and map out a plan with your family. Make sure you know where to go, what to do, and what you need. Do not leave your pets behind. They need help just as much as you and your children do.

This is the time to stay calm, stay focused, and protect your family. You can plan the next steps after the hurricane once it’s over. Your safety and the safety of your family is the most important. Prepare to get through the hurricane, once you know you’re safe you can take the next steps in what to do after the hurricane.

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