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The 2020 hurricane preparedness checklist

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Hurricane season has arrived. In fact, it came early this year with our first named storm passing by the East Coast in mid-May. So it's no surprise that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warns that this year could be "extremely active," with a 60% chance of an above-normal hurricane season.

That means you can expect power outages, storm surges, and other perilous problems, now through November 30. An unprepared homeowner can be left with thousands of dollars in damage from a strong hurricane, so here at vipHomeLink, we want to help you get prepared.

Stay safe and prevent storm damage to your home with our 2020 hurricane preparedness checklist! 

Item #1 – Stay informed​  

Sign up for alerts.

​Sign up for local alerts with apps such as Nixle or the FEMA app. These apps will alert you to any warnings in your area. Also, consider buying a solar charger for your cell phone, just in the case the power goes out, and invest in a battery-operated radio. This way, you can still have an ear to official announcements if a nearby cell tower loses power.

Item #2 – Know the difference in hurricane alerts  

Know all the warnings.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you understand the severity of the storm headed your way. This will help you make an informed decision concerning your safety. The National Weather Service will give you one of these alerts:

Hurricane watch: A hurricane or tropical storm (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) is possible in the next 48 hours. Monitor alerts, check supplies, and gather anything you might need in case of a power outage.

Hurricane warning: Experts expect a hurricane or tropical storm to hit the area in the next 36 hours. Listen for calls for evacuation and heed those warnings.

There are similar watches and warnings for tropical storms as well as storm surges, so be prepared to respond accordingly. 

Item #3 – Plan for all options 

"Better safe than sorry," is a favorite phrase for these emergency situations. In fact, if you've ever wondered, "What is the important part of hurricane prep?" – this is it. Make plans with your family for all situations – if you're staying for the duration of the storm or you need to leave.

Ready to light bag in case of evacuation.

Follow these emergency preparedness steps:

  • Ready an emergency kit for your home (more on that below).
  • Prepare for a power outage.
  • Keep your gas tank full.
  • Create an evacuation plan and know the approved evacuation routes.
  • Designate an out-of-state emergency contact. This will be the person everyone contacts if you're not together during the storm.
  • Select a place where you all can go in case you need to evacuate and ensure that everyone knows how to get there. This can be a nearby shelter, set up by FEMA.
  • Put together a "bug-out" bag that you can grab if you need to evacuate. It should be light and portable.
  • If you have pets, make sure to include them in your plans, with pet-friendly hotels or a family member's house as a safe place. 
Make sure to pack these items.

COVID-19 Tips: The CDC offers additional tips to prepare for hurricane season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These include giving yourself more time to gather necessary supplies (and medications) and using home delivery to receive supplies. You should also add to your bug-out bag at least two cloth facing covers per person (except children under the age of two) and hand sanitizer or liquid soap and water. Also, practice social distancing, and in the event that you need to use a public shelter, follow these steps.

Item #4 – Secure emergency supplies

Make sure to have the necessary supplies.

Whether riding out the storm (if evacuation isn't mandatory) or leaving the area, have the following essential items:

  • Cell phones.
  • Solar chargers.
  • Batteries.
  • Medicines (know how to store them safely, especially if they need refrigeration).
  • Flashlights.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Money.
  • Important documents (passports, birth certificates, etc.).
  • Non-perishable food and water (enough for at least three days, a gallon of water per person per day).
  • Toiletries and personal hygiene supplies.
  • Protective gear.
  • Blankets.
  • Waterproof boots.
  • Warm clothes.
  • Irreplaceable items (your child's favorite stuffed animals or wedding photo - only essential items).

Consider buying an emergency kit that includes many of the items above. 

#Item 5 – Prepare your home 

High wind can damage your home.

Preventing costly home damage begins by taking the necessary precautions before the hurricane arrives. To stop your patio umbrella from making a new hole in your neighbor's sliding glass door, complete the following steps:

  • Check for loose shutters or screens. Tighten them as needed.
  • Trim back wayward trees.
  • Secure loose wires and cables.
  • Remove debris from downspouts and gutters.
  • Inspect your roof, and repair loose shingles.
  • Use caulk to seal off doors and windows.
  • Test sump pumps and clear exterior drains of debris.
  • Test generators and make sure you have fuel available.
  • Store lightweight items such as toys and patio furniture. Secure any objects remaining outside as they can become projectiles in high winds.
  • If you live in a flood area, consider placing sandbags around your home's perimeter. (Also, make sure you have the necessary homeowners insurance. If you're not sure, contact your agent.)
  • Protect windows and doors by covering them with plywood or hurricane shutters. Leave one or two smaller windows exposed for light and air circulation.

Be prepared all year round with vipHomeLink 

Be prepared for every season.

Through polar vortexes, hurricanes, tornados, and even murder hornets – vipHomeLink is here to help. Our tailored recommendations for home improvements and personalized reminders for home maintenance will help you stay safe every season. Subscribe now with the first three months on us!


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