It is that time of year again; the 2020 Hurricane Season began June 1st and will be in effect until November 30, 2020. While most Houstonians know what to expect in the wake of recent storms, there are likely to be changes to standard preparation considering the current pandemic situation. More than ever, we need to prepare wisely as it may take some additional time to gather supplies.
With high winds and torrential rain, hurricanes can cause major damage to homes and families. Experts are projecting a higher than average hurricane season, meaning it is important we take the necessary steps to keep our home and properties, our families, and our pets safe. Be sure to top off your gas tank in your car, refill prescriptions, and prepare a “go bag” in case you need to evacuate.
According to the Texas General Land Office, here are some additional tips on how to be ready for natural disasters.
Know Your Risk - Sign up for your community's emergency warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
Gather Supplies - Keep in mind each person's dietary and medical needs. Stock up on items such as food and water, non-perishable foods, first-aid kits, prescriptions, pet supplies, flashlights, and extra batteries. Do not forget to charge electronics you may need. Food and water supplies should cover 7 days for each person (one gallon of water per day) and be cycled out every 6 months. Other supplies include:
- Battery-powered radio
- Medications and special items (pain relievers, diapers, etc.)
- Tools and supplies
- Sanitation (toilet paper, personal hygiene items, etc.)
- Change of clothes and bedding
- Important family documents (birth certificates, insurance/ bank account information, etc.)
- Food, water, and medicine for your pets
- Kennels or crates for pets
Secure Documents - Remember to secure copies of important personal documents. Filing for government assistance requires documentation. Be sure to keep documents in a secure location and take them with you if you need to evacuate. As an extra precaution, scan copies onto a thumb drive just in case the originals get damaged or lost.
Make Your Evacuation Plan - Be familiar with the route and shelter locations. Discuss and practice drills for your evacuation plan with your family each year.
Protect Your Property - Shutter your home as needed, review your flood insurance policy (or sign up for one), and declutter drains and gutters. Most homeowner and renter insurance policies do not cover flood damage. A flood insurance policy generally does not take effect until 30 days after purchase, so be sure to maintain your policy.
Due to COVID-19, you may want to consider ordering your hurricane preparedness supplies online or ordering locally and having it delivered to your door. Also consider your evacuation plans and where you may relocate in that event. If you end up staying with someone, make sure they have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 and minimize risk of exposure along your route and at your destination. Make sure you follow all CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy during an emergency.