Richmond, VA, May 21, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- Hurricane season in the Atlantic officially begins June 1 and runs to November 30. Major activity ramps up during the summer, peaking in August and early September. However, it’s never too early to begin educating yourself about the perils of hurricanes and preparing your home. When you consider the immense damage to property—Ernesto hit Virginia in 2006 and caused nearly $120 million in damage, and it was technically only a tropical storm—early preparedness is a key to limiting your risks.
“We always counsel people about the importance of preparation for any disaster or threat, but it’s never more important than preparing yourself and your home for a hurricane,” says Jimmy Maass, safety coordinator at Virginia Farm Bureau. “Above understanding warning signals, evacuation routes and local emergency plans, people need to take the time to identify and remove potential hazards around their home, such as unstable trees and outdoor equipment. High winds can wreak havoc on seemingly innocent objects.”
Maass cites important tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Red Cross to help you prepare in advance of a hurricane watch or warning:
• Prepare an emergency kit that includes a 3-5 day supply of non-perishable food and water, a first aid kit, batteries and flashlights, a battery-powered radio, and extra blankets and clothes.
• Keep a good fire extinguisher handy and make sure your family knows where to find it and how to use it.
• Locate and secure your important papers, such as insurance policies, wills, licenses, stocks, etc.
• Post emergency phone numbers at every phone.
• Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through. Remove or trim any large trees that overhang or are in close proximity to the home.
• Bring inside any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants, and anything else outside your house that can be picked up by the wind.
• Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose more than one place.
• Fill sinks and bathtubs with water as an extra supply for washing.
• If you are in a hurricane zone, consider hurricane shutters or purchase precut 1/2" outdoor plywood boards for each window of your home. Install anchors for the plywood and pre-drill holes in the plywood so that you can put it up quickly.
• Cover windows and doors with plywood or boards or place large strips of masking tape or adhesive tape on the windows to reduce the risk of breakage and flying glass.
• Stay away from all windows and exterior doors. Seeking shelter in the center of the home in a bathroom or basement will help reduce your risk of injury. Many injuries during a hurricane are caused by flying glass or other debris.
“Every part of the Commonwealth is at risk with these storms,” says Maass. “Storm surges threaten the western shores of the Chesapeake Bay, but just as damaging are the winds that down trees and power lines. Having a plan that addresses all possible impacts of a hurricane is critical.”
About Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Services
Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Services is committed to providing products that best meet the insurance needs of Virginia’s families and small businesses. An organization with more than 148,000 members, served by more than 100 county offices throughout the Commonwealth, Farm Bureau Insurance also offers a wide range of financial planning products and services. Visit Virginia Farm Bureau at vfbinsurance.com.