Preparations for Hurricane Irma

September 05, 2017

At Robinson and Stith Insurance, hurricane season is a very busy time for us.  As you may or may not know, Hurricane Irma is in the Atlantic Ocean and has some potential to impact Eastern NC.  This is a very serious hurricane and can cause catastrophic damage.  Here is a good list for hurricane preparations. 

In the event of a storm, our agency will be open as soon as we are able to do so in a safe manner.  Remember, our employees have their own safety to observe.  But our office does run on a generator if need be, and regardless of conditions, we plan to be here to help you with any homeowners insurance, auto insurance or flood insurance claims.

First and foremost, take whatever precautions are necessary to protect yourself and your family. While property preparations are important, they’re not worth risking life or health. If you need to evacuate, do so, as long as you have time to reach a place of safety. Don’t be caught on the roads in your car or attempt to drive through water-covered streets. Once the storm reaches your area, stay inside, away from windows and possible flying debris.

If you have sufficient time, here are some simple things you can do to prepare your home or business:

PROPERTY

Clean out your gutters. Remove leaves and other debris, first by hand to get rid of the large particles and then with a scraping tool and water hose. This helps to prevent overflows that could cause interior damage.

Make sure downspouts and window drains properly guide the water away from the structure. Direct downspouts at least 6 feet from the foundation. Clear any obstructions.

Clear your yard of potential flying debris. Store lawn furniture, potted plants, bicycles, trash cans or other loose items.

Protect your windows and glass doors. If you have functional shutters, secure them.

Move business and construction vehicles to higher ground. Keeping vehicles and other movable property out of harm’s way can shorten the downtime faced by your organization and get you back in business sooner after the storm has passed.

EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES

Test your generator or battery backup. Be prepared for an extended power outage, especially if you have electrically powered medical equipment. Store extra fuel safely and only in approved containers. Don’t operate portable gas generators indoors or in enclosed spaces where it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Charge your cell phone and any extra batteries. Adjust settings to eliminate non-essential apps and preserve battery life. Store emergency phone numbers in your contacts, including family members, your doctor, your insurance agent and your insurance company’s claims phone number. Keep a paper copy in case you lose power.

Stock up on flashlights, spare batteries, food and water. Keep your emergency kit supplied with provisions for each family member. Don’t forget your pets. Keep extra diapers on hand for little ones.

Check your first aid kit. Keep it stocked with the basics to treat minor scrapes or injuries; in the case of a disaster, emergency medical services may be limited to life-threatening cases. Keep several days’ supply of prescription medications on hand.

Know where your emergency shutoff valves are located. In the event of damage, you may need to cut off electricity, water or gas.

GENERAL PREPARATIONS

Understand the coverage provided in your insurance policy. No one should be surprised that things like “flood” and “earth movement” may be limited or excluded under some insurance policies. If something isn’t clear to you, contact your agent and get an explanation of exactly what your policy will provide for you.

Store a copy of your insurance policy. It’s best to keep a copy offsite, in a safe deposit box or digitally in a location you can access from anywhere. If you must evacuate, take copies of key papers with you, including birth certificates, marriage records, property deeds, bank accounts, etc.

Identify the safe places in your home. Know where to go away from windows, skylights and glass doors in case the storm spawns a tornado.

Keep a home inventory. If a storm is imminent, it may be too late to thoroughly document your belongings, but even taking cellphone photos of each room can help if you need to file an insurance claim later.

 

As well, here are some websites that may be of use:

https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hurricane/plan.shtml

 

Thank you for your business.  If you are not already a customer, please call us at 252.633.1174 to receive more information about our agency and our services. 

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