This year, experts are predicting a stronger than average hurricane season with as many as 19 possible storms over the next several months. We’re likely to see the peak of the season from August through September, making now the perfect time to prepare for a potential storm. Even though we typically do not experience the eye of the hurricane up here in New England, there is a possibility for any storm named in the Bahamas to travel up the coast, bringing the danger of extreme wind and rain. It only takes one strong storm to cause severe damage and devastating flooding to an area, so it’s important to make an emergency plan, assemble an emergency kit, and stay informed.
To help keep yourself, your family, and your home safe this hurricane season, here are a few things you can do long before a storm hits.
Know your surroundings
It’s not just coastal towns and cities that experience the effects of tropical storms and hurricanes. In Massachusetts and surrounding states, there are designated hurricane evacuation zones depending on your risk for storm surge flooding. In the event of a hurricane, it’s important to know which zone you’re located in so you have plenty of time to seek safety ahead of the storm. You can learn more about Zone A, B, and C here.
In addition to where you’re located geographically, you should also be aware of the elevation level of your property and whether or not it is flood-prone.
No matter how prepared you and your home are, you should still stay up to date with the news. Having advanced warning of a storm is crucial when it comes to staying safe. Update yourself and your family on the difference between a hurricane watch, which is when hurricane conditions are possible in your area within 36 hours, and a hurricane warning, which is when hurricane conditions are expected in your area within 24 hours. You should also learn the different types of emergency alert resources available in the event you lose power.
Create a plan
Having an emergency plan in place for natural disasters can be life-saving. If you don’t already have one, here are a few steps to get started:
- Keep a digital and physical list of emergency contact information and store it in a safe place, such as in your emergency kit.
- Identify your local evacuation route and higher ground areas.
- Establish a safe meeting spot in the event you and your family get separated.
- Assign a task to each member of your family — for example, one member collects the pets, one member ensures doors and windows are secure, and another gathers all emergency supplies.
- Practice your plan for shelter-in-place and evacuation situations.
- Get CPR certified in the event of a medical emergency during a storm.
Assemble an emergency kit
An emergency kit isn’t only helpful in the event of a tropical storm or a hurricane, but can also be used in power outages, snowstorms, tornadoes, and any other emergency situations throughout the year. Having one readily available before you really need it can help you reduce some of the panic that can arise when the unexpected happens. Here are a few things to include when assembling your emergency kit:
- Bottled water (one gallon per day/per person for at least three days)
- A three day supply of non-perishable food
- Tools and supplies: radio, cell phone charger, extra batteries, flashlights, can opener, pliers, scissors, etc.
- Personal items: prescription medication, medical supplies, change of clothes, extra socks and shoes, and glasses
- Emergency documents: insurance policy, bank account information, ID cards, medical information and records
- Pet supplies: food, collar, leash, water, and a current photo of your pet in the event they get lost
You can find an extended list of items to include in your emergency kit here.
We hope these precautions help you and your family stay safe in the event of a storm. For information on how our team at Quincy Mutual can help you in times of need or to file a claim, please visit our website.