The Atlantic hurricane season typically extends from the beginning of June until the end of November, with peak activity occurring in mid-September. With about three major hurricanes and almost twenty smaller hurricanes and tropical storms hitting the East Coast in an average year, residents should be aware of the steps to take to protect themselves and their property before and during a hurricane or major tropical storm, and what to do for hurricane damage clean up.
Preparing Ahead of the Storm
Hurricanes are different from other natural disasters since residents know the storm is coming up to a week ahead of landfall. There are two goals in hurricane preparation. The first and most important is to keep you and your family safe, and the second is to minimize the need for property restoration after the storm.
Steps to Protect Your Family:
- Build an emergency kit and make a family communication plan to stay in touch.
- Make sure that you have enough cash for a few days’ needs in case communications are lost, shutting down credit and debit cards.
- Consider leaving the area ahead of landfall if the storm is expected to be very severe.
- Remember emergency response services are hindered by hurricanes.
Steps to Protect Your Property:
- Check downspouts and low-lying areas around your property to make sure water is directed away from your home or building.
- Secure and reinforce external doors, including the garage, and windows with storm shutters and/or marine plywood.
- Strap your roof to the frame of your home to reduce damage.
What to Do During the Storm
Lightening, flooding, extremely high winds, and flying debris all pose hazards during a hurricane. Unless there is a fire or other immediate danger, you and your family should stay inside in an interior room until the storm has passed. Be sure the storm has passed by listening or watching weather reports.
What to Do After the Storm
The first thing you should do after a hurricane is check your property for hazards and determine if an emergency response call to your local authorities or utilities is needed:
- Look for down or unstable power lines. NEVER approach these power lines, even if there are no sparks!
- Check for downed trees posing a hazard to the property or utility lines.
The next thing to do after ensuring the immediate area is safe is to check your property for damage and evaluate the need for emergency restoration services after a hurricane. Water damage after a hurricane is frequent, as are mold problems and even fire damage. If any water has come into the home, either through the roof or through the basement, you will need water damage restoration by a competent professional. If water damage is not remediated, mold can quickly become a secondary and expensive problem.
Call a property restoration specialist as soon as possible to restore your property, and be careful about accepting the services of any contractors driving around your neighborhood after a disaster. Look instead for certified, established professionals like National Restoration, and for more tips on how to handle hurricanes, check out Ready.gov.