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In Touch With 21st - September 2015

Hurricane and Storm Safety Tips


Hurricane and Storm Safety

As hurricane season in the United States begins to heat up, so should your preparedness. With a little foresight and readiness, you can help to reduce the impact of a hurricane or storm for your family. Whether you are located on the east, west or gulf coasts, or even in the nation’s interior, if a storm is approaching the following measures should be taken.

Before the storm

To start, it’s important to know the differences between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning

• Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions - sustained winds above 73 mph - are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans. Get ready to act if a warning is issued, and stay informed.

• Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. These warnings are usually issued 36 hours before an expected storm because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.

Hurricane

All family members need to be ready for the unexpected when a hurricane is approaching. Make sure everyone is clear on how you will reach each other or what to do in case you have to evacuate. The National Hurricane Center has a great list of tips available here to help you stay prepared.

Flooding

Floods are the most common and widespread of all weather-related natural disasters. Floods can happen during heavy rains, when ocean waves come on shore, or when dams or levees break. They can occur quickly or over a long period and may last days, weeks, or longer. Flooding occurs in every U.S. state and territory, and is a threat experienced anywhere that receives rain. Tips on what to do before, during and after a flood are available here.

After the storm

According to the American Red Cross, once a storm has passed, there are a number of steps to take. First, listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local news for the latest updates. You’ll want to be aware of any potential flooding, even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended. If you became separated from your family, there are some options: utilize your family communication plan, contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS/1-800-733-2767 or visit the American Red Cross Safe and Well site. The American Red Cross also maintains a database to help people find family members. Note: contact the local American Red Cross chapter where you are staying for information, not the chapter in the disaster area.

If you had to evacuate due to a storm, return home only when officials say it is safe.If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs, text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345). For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing.

Inspect the outside of your home, being careful as you do so. Take pictures (both of the structure and its contents) for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.

Stay alert to stay prepared

You should always be prepared when a storm is approaching: listen to the news and protect yourself and your home as advised by local authorities. The safest idea is to assume the storm will potentially be dangerous, and to plan accordingly.

Please note: This information is of a general nature for educational purposes only. It must not be taken as advice and does not signify an endorsement. 21st Century Insurance is not responsible for any injuries or loss incurred.

Sources: fema.gov; www.ready.gov/hurricanes; www.nhc.noaa.gov

Insurance terms and explanations are intended for informational purposes only and do not refer to any specific contract of insurance or modify any definitions expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. Terms may vary by state, and exclusions may apply.

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