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Recent Events Reinforce The Importance of Emergency Preparedness: Hurricanes, Wildfires, and Tornadoes


Last month was National Preparedness Month in the U.S. While we can hope that we won’t get caught up in weather-related disasters, it’s much better to be ready than caught off-guard. And with unprecedented weather happening across the United States this autumn, there’s no better time to prepare for circumstances that we hope will never occur. But with different weather comes different preparation needs.

Hurricanes

Do you live in an evacuation area? From storm surges to catastrophic winds to flooding, there are many reasons authorities will evacuate you. Take time to learn about hurricane-related weather that affects your area. Then, sign up for alerts and warnings provided by the National Weather Service. According to the CDC there are two different types of alerts related to hurricanes that you should know:

Hurricane Watch: There isn’t a hurricane yet, but weather conditions could cause one. Watches are often issued about 48 hours prior to dangerous winds starting.

Hurricane Warning: A hurricane has started or will start shortly.

If a watch or warning is issued, fall back on your emergency preparedness plan. Discuss next steps with every member of your family. Make sure that your car has plenty of gas in the event of an evacuation. And keep an emergency kit in your car with food, water, and clothes in the event you decide to make a quick exit. Heed warnings from officials by listening to the television or radio and paying attention to sirens or other warning signals. If you choose to stay in your home during a hurricane, make sure that your yard has been cleared of loose items like lawn furniture. Cover all windows and doors, and be sure to store as much clean drinking water as possible. Finally, be sure that the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector are fresh in the event of a carbon monoxide leak.

Be sure to speak with your insurance agency bi-annually to discuss your policy if you’re in a hurricane-prone area. Riders related to flooding or other hurricane-related weather may be necessary to protect your property.

Wildfires

Drier seasons are more prone to wildfires, but any home or business near prairies, brush, or heavily wooded areas could be affected by a wildfire. And most aren’t caused by bad weather—they’re caused by human error. The National Weather Service issues three levels of warnings in the event of wildfires. According to FEMA, they are:

Fire watch: Issued when potentially dangerous fire weather conditions are possible over the next 12 to 72 hours.

Fire weather warning or red flag: Issued when fire danger exists and weather patterns that support wildfires are either occurring or expected to occur within 24 hours.

These alerts don’t always happen in order. So it’s important to sign up for alerts through the National Weather Service and pay close attention to authorities. In the event of a wildfire, it’s important to have multiple evacuation routes as some roads could become blocked. And keep emergency supplies in your car, especially during more wildfire-prone times of the year. Identify family, friends, or shelters that would be able to accommodate your family and drive slowly in areas of reduced visibility.

Contact your insurance agency to discuss your wildfire policy if you live in an area prone to them. Many policies cover homes in the event of a fire, but your policy could have limitations related to wildfires.

Tornadoes

Unlike some other types of severe weather, tornadoes can strike without warning. They tend to occur in higher volume over the spring and summer. And recently, multiple tornado watches have occurred due to the unusual hurricane activity seen along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. But it’s still possible to prepare for tornadoes, even when they’re unpredictable. It starts when you sign up for warnings from your National Weather Service. Two types of alerts will be issued for tornadoes:

Tornado Watch: Be near a sturdy place of shelter. Weather is nearby that could result in a tornado being formed.

Tornado Warning: Take shelter immediately. A tornado has been spotted near your area.

There are several ways to prepare for tornadoes. First, find a room or shelter space in or near your home or business with no windows. This could be a stairwell, a bathroom, or a basement. Store a NOAA radio there along with extra batteries. Keep supplies including bottled water and canned non-perishable goods, on hand in the event you’ll need to leave your area after the storm has passed. In the event you’re away from your home or office when a tornado occurs, get into the nearest building. Never try to outrun or follow a tornado in your vehicle as they can quickly change paths.

If you live in a tornado-prone area, be sure that your insurance policy covers you. An insurance agent should be able to talk to you about what your policy covers and what could require a rider.

Different types of severe weather require different types of preparedness. Making the effort to prepare ahead of time will often help save you headaches later. And Paul Davis franchise professionals are available 24/7 to clean up and repair damage to residential and commercial property so disasters can be quickly and professionally restored.

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