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You Can’t Stop Storms but You Can Minimize Damage

After a hurricane, there’s nothing worse than homeowners’ sentences that start, “I should have …” An hour preparing now can minimize bigger troubles later.

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. – The 2021 hurricane season is here. Preparation means more than just creating a disaster kit and reviewing your family’s disaster plan, although these are critical first steps.

There’s much more you can do to protect your home and family before a hurricane hits. You can minimize potential damage from flooding and high winds by being prepared.

Plan ahead

  • Document items and contents in your home in photos.
  • Put together your disaster kit. This includes, but is not limited to: shelf stable foods, water, flashlights, battery-powered radios, batteries, medical, accessibility and pet supplies, cash, and first-aid supplies. If you wait until the last minute, you may encounter diminished or depleted supplies, crowds, and increased traffic on our roads.
  • Buy a National Flood Insurance Policy from your insurance company. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage. See msc.fema.gov/portal to know the flood risk in your area and see floodsmart.gov for information about risk and rates.
  • Download the FEMA app at fema.gov/mobile-app. The app provides disaster resources, safety tips, maps of open shelters, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. Go to Ready.gov for more details.

There are many ways to strengthen your home against wind and wind-driven rain. FEMA’s Wind Retrofit Guide for Residential Buildings is a good resource. Consider elevating appliances, such as water heaters, air-conditioning units and electrical equipment.

Trees with trunks larger than six inches in diameter should be far enough away from your house that they cannot fall on it. Remove branches that hang over utility wires. Professional regular pruning done can create a sturdy, well-spaced framework of tree branches with an open canopy that allows wind to flow freely through.

During a hurricane watch

  • Stay tuned to your phone alerts and TV or radio for weather updates, emergency instructions and evacuation orders. Severe weather information is also available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at www.noaa.gov.
  • Activate your disaster plan. Check your disaster kit. Important items include food/water, flashlights, battery-powered radios, batteries, medical, accessibility and pet supplies, cash and first-aid supplies.
  • Place important papers and documents such as driver’s licenses, social security cards, passports, birth certificates, vehicle registration cards and insurance policies in a waterproof, portable container.
  • Know what you and your family will do if there is an evacuation order.

During a hurricane warning

  • Stayed tuned to phone alerts and TV or radio for weather updates.
  • Fill vehicles with gas.
  • Keep mobile devices fully charged.
  • Bring any loose items like trash cans, yard furniture – including items on your dock – barbecue grills and tools inside; store in a garage or sturdy building.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances.
  • If you evacuate, turn off gas and electricity at the main switch or valve.

For additional information on hurricanes, visit ready.gov/hurricanes; for details on floods, visit ready.gov/floods.

For more information on recovery, visit FEMA.gov, or follow @FEMARegion4 on Twitter and FEMA’s Facebook page.

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