Hurricane Damage Prevention: What You Should Know

By: Flora Richards-Gustafson

Loss of life, pets, property, and business are just a few of the tragedies that hurricanes leave in their wake. The following tips will help you prepare for hurricane season.

Have a plan:
Know what to expect. Sit down and develop a plan with your family and/or employees. Consider these questions in your plan:

1. What are the hazards in your community? Could nearby bodies of water flood? Are there trees that could fall?
2. What is the safest area of your building in the event of a hurricane? Also consider evacuating to another location if the home or office is not the safest option. Be informed about which areas will likely serve as hurricane shelters in your community.
3. Are you covered? Set up a time to review your building or home's insurance policy with your agent to see if it covers hurricane damage.
4. What escape routes will be used? Take into consideration any road closures that may take effect due to hurricane damage.
5. Have a friend or family member that lives outside of your region serve as the primary contact before and during an emergency event. With your main point of contact fielding calls, you'll be able to focus on your safety during the storm.
6. Plan for your pets. Will they stay with you or be placed into a kennel when hurricane notices are aired?
7. Post important phone numbers in a memorable, high-visibility area. Include the numbers for your insurance claims office, family members, business contacts, and hurricane damage restoration specialist.
8. Prepare an emergency disaster kit with first aid supplies, important information, maps, medications, water, weather radio, flashlights, batteries, and non-perishable foods.

Protect your property:
Preparation can help prevent the anxiety of restoration. Materials may be purchased in advance and stored in a garage or storage room, eliminating the need to rush to a home improvement store. Making a to-do list can help make sure you've covered your bases:

1. Protect any areas of the home or building that have glass with hurricane shutters. Don't have shutters? Board up these areas with plywood instead.
2. Secure outdoor gas tanks and furniture so they do not float or blow away or become damaged. Take special care to secure boats and trailers.
3. Park vehicles inside a garage or appropriate storage facility. Make sure any cars that may be driven have full tanks of gas.
4. Move valuable items away from the windows. If the building has more than one level, move items to the upper level to prevent water damage.
5. Fill the bathtub or extra sinks with water. If your home or building no longer has water service, you will have a little something extra.

Plan to Recover:
After the storm, call your insurance claims office as soon as possible, so that a hurricane damage assessment may be completed. After the claims adjuster has visited, contact a restoration specialist.

Restoration specialists can dry documents, photos, and property to prevent mold damage. They can also eliminate lingering harmful molds. Hiring damage restoration specialists ensures a safer building, faster business continuity, and the chance to focus on getting your life back to normal.

A hurricane does not have to be a disaster if you are prepared.

~Flora Richards-Gustafson, 2009

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The importance of preparing for 2009 hurricane season is quite apparent to those living in the Southeastern part of the United States. Rapid Refile is available to help anyone in the U.S. with their water damaged document recovery needs.

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