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    Your Preparedness Guide to Hurricane Florence and This Year’s Hurricane Season

    If you keep an eye on the weather, you might have noticed some buzz about the possibility of Hurricane Florence hitting the East Coast. Meteorologists predict that this storm could slow slightly after hitting Bermuda then gain intensity on its trajectory toward the East Coast.

    We’re no strangers to storms here in the Jersey Shore. We’ve weathered some pretty rough ones in the past and proven we can come back stronger. Since there are more than 2 months left to this year’s hurricane season, it’s a great idea to brush up on some basic safety and weatherproofing tips, no matter how long you’ve lived here. These tips help protect your property from costly damage. And, most importantly, these tips help to save lives.

    Personal Preparation and Safety

    Yours and your family’s safety is priority number one in a hurricane. Use these tips as guide to plan your family for a potentially serious weather event.

    •    Make a plan ahead of time- Ensure that each member of the family is debriefed on the emergency plan. Know evacuation routes and backup routes. Get in touch with out-of-town contacts to secure a place to stay. This will help you execute the plan quickly and without delay.
    •    Make a list to pack a bag- Create a master list of packing essentials for when you plan to evacuate. This will ensure nothing gets forgotten.
    •    Protect important documents- Keep your important government documents, ID’s, passports, pertinent medical records, and homeownership information (including your insurance policy documents) in a central location. Place these items in waterproof containers to protect from water damage and remember to take them if you evacuate.
    •    Make an emergency kit- If you are somehow unable to evacuate, it’s important to have a good supply of nonperishable foods, water bottles, candles, lighters, flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies, medicines, and blankets. This is an essential kit to have in every home at all times. You can also keep a crank or solar powered radio on hand to hear updates from local authorities. A few external phone chargers are another great way to keep yourself connected if cell service is available.
    •  Turn around, don’t drown- One of the most unsafe things you can do is drive or walk through flooded areas. When a hurricane hits, it can bring widespread flooding. A large puddle that appears to be straightforward can prove deadly. Flooded areas may hide washed out roads or large openings that appear harmless from the naked eye. Make the safest choice and avoid high water in any form when the storm makes landfall.
    •   Watch for downed power lines- Just because there’s no power in your home, it doesn’t mean a power line isn’t live. Treat every downed power line as though it’s live and dangerous. Stay away and alert the local power company immediately.
    •   Backup important electronics- We keep our lives on our devices. Make sure they’re backed up to the cloud or an external hard drive regularly. In preparing for the storm, it’s never a bad idea to double check the state of your electronic identity.

    Preparing Your Home

    Whether you live at the Shore full-time or part-time, you will want to do everything to ensure your home is protected.

    •   Check your coverage- Your insurance policy may not protect you from flooding. It’s important to ensure your coverage includes these essential protections. There’s no question that it’s worth the money. Before a storm hits, check with your insurance provider.
    •    Inspect your home before the storm- Loose shingles along with damaged or rotting wood can cause much larger problems in strong winds. Make sure these are in good order before storm season each year.
    •     Bring in outside furniture- Your grill, umbrellas, patio furniture, hammocks, and small decorative items can be destroyed in high winds. But more importantly, these items can cause serious damage if carried by wind toward structures and windows. Secure anything too large to remove, and place items in a garage or shed if you can.
    •   Cover windows and doors- If you have moveable shutters, this is the time to use them. Before a crisis hits, purchase plywood sheets to keep on hand. Use these to cover windows and doors. This will protect windows from potential breaks and keeps doors closed in intense winds.
    •     Don’t forget the garage- Your garage is only protected by a thin metal door. Reinforce it with a metal reinforcement kit before disaster strikes.

    For more up-to-the-minute information about Hurricane Florence and other tropical storms and hurricanes, check out the National Hurricane Center. Their website has great information, tips, and much more. It’s a great resource you should bookmark during hurricane season each year.

    Although we all hope the effects of Florence will be minimal, it’s never a bad idea to prepare yourself and your home. Many of these tips are helpful during hurricane season and any other type of natural disaster. Preparedness isn’t exactly glamorous or fun, but it’s an important potentially lifesaving thing we should all do.

    From all of us at the Ferzoco Group, stay safe and stay prepared this hurricane season.

    Photo by Suparerg Suksai on Pexels

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