Our nation experienced one of the most catastrophic hurricane seasons on record in 2017. The Coast Guard surged nearly 3,000 first responders and more than 200 rescue boats and aircraft and saved nearly 12,000 lives. And while we were busy saving lives, our men and women were also personally affected by the storms: 700 Coast Guard families lost their homes and had to be relocated.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30. No matter the hurricane category, the storms most often affect coastal areas and cause flooding.
Determine Your Risk
Find out what types of winds and water hazards could happen where you live, and then start preparing for how to handle them. Remember, hurricane impacts can be felt hundreds of miles inland.
Make sure you have a hurricane evacuation plan. Figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. Identify someone – perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in an evacuation zone or unsafe home – and coordinate with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them. Put the plan in writing for you and those you care about.
Assemble Disaster Supplies
If a hurricane strikes, you’re going to need supplies to get through the storm and for the potentially lengthy recovery period.
Get an Insurance Checkup
Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance checkup to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. Don’t forget coverage for your car or boat.
Strengthen your home
If you plan to ride out a hurricane in your home, make sure your home is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications. Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand high winds. However, heed the advice of authorities if you are told to evacuate.
Help your neighbor
Many people rely on the assistance of neighbors before and after hurricanes. Help your neighbors collect the supplies they’ll need before the storm. Assist them with evacuation if ordered to do so or check on them after it’s safe for you to head outside.
Complete your written plan
Prepare for a hurricane before the season begins – be a hurricane survivor, not a victim.
Know where to go for trusted sources of information. The National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center are your official sources for hurricane forecasts, watches and warnings. Check with your service provider to ensure your mobile device is Wireless Emergency Alert enabled.
Boaters and coastal residents can get storm and hurricane information from VHF marine radios, commercial radio, television stations and newspapers. Do not ignore the warnings; even a Category 1 hurricane can inflict great damage.
Take action now to be prepared for hurricane season.