by Michael Hosto, Founder, 1-800-BOARDUP
I wrote this email to our staff today and wanted to share more broadly as Hurricane Dorian approaches Florida.
Here is a practical list on how to prepare for potential hurricane.
- CASH IS KING after a storm.
- If you need supplies, food, emergency services such as tree removal, roof tarp, water extraction, etc. you will need to pay in cash. It might require thousands of dollars. They might not take checks or credit cards. There are no ATM’s and credit cards terminals do not work after a hurricane (sometimes for days or weeks).
- Insurance: Call your agent and ask them to email your policy to you before the storm. You need to verify coverage for wind and flood. TWO Different Policies. It may be very difficult to reach your insurance agent / claims dept. to get a copy of policy after storm if you need it. If you have a business do you have business interruption coverage, payroll, costs to move your business to a new location, etc.
- After the storm, document your loss.
- Your insurance policy requires you to prove your financial loss. Take extensive and careful video (not photographs!) of each room, interior and exterior, all contents in house (closets, pantries, attic, freezers, etc.). In a claim settlement, you will be required provide a detailed inventory of every single item you want to be paid for. There is significant value lost to claimants who don’t account for 100% of their contents. Do not expect your insurance company to arrive after the storm with a check like you see in commercials. It doesn’t really work that way in real life.
- Do not put tape on your windows – It doesn’t accomplish anything if the window breaks and it’s TOUGH to get off days later if the window doesn’t break.
- During storm – Close all interior doors to reduce pressure on structure.
- Charge any device that provides light. Laptops, tablets, cameras, video cameras, and old phones. Old cell phones can still used for dialing 911. Charge external battery back ups.
- Wash all trash cans, big and small, and fill with water for flushing toilets. Line outdoor trash cans with trash bags, fill with water and store in the garage. Add bleach to sterilize.
- Fill every tub and sink with water. Cover sinks with Saran-Wrap to keep it from collecting dust. Fill washing machine and leave lid up to store water.
- Buy bleach for sterilizing water.
- Fill old empty water bottles and other containers with water and keep near sinks for washing hands.
- Fill every Tupperware with water and store in freezer. These will help keep food cold longer and serve as a back up water supply.
- Be well hydrated before the storm hits.
- Wash all dirty clothes and bed sheets. Anything dirty will smell without the A/C, you may need the items, and with no A/C, you’ll be sweating a lot. You’re going to want clean sheets.
- Toss out any expiring food, clean cat litter boxes, empty all trash cans in the house, including bathrooms. Remove anything that will cause an odor when the A/C is off. If you don’t have a trash day pickup before the storm, find a dumpster.
- Bring in any yard decor, secure anything that will fly around, secure gates, bring in hoses, potted plants, etc. Bring in patio furniture and grills.
- If you have a generator make sure you have extension cords and splitters.
- Buy a small AC unit.
- Place everything you own that is important and necessary in a backpack or small file box that is easy to grab. Include your wallet with ID, phone, hand sanitizer, snacks, etc. Get plastic sleeves for important documents.
- 1-week pet food supply.
- Refill any medications. Most insurance companies allow an emergency refill.
- Fill your propane tanks. You can heat soup cans, boil water, make coffee, and other stuff besides just grilling meat. Get an extra, if possible.
- Drop your A/C in advance and lower temperatures in your fridges.
- Gather all candles, flashlights, lighters, matches, batteries, and other items and keep them accessible.
- Clean all counters in advance. Start with a clean surface. Buy Clorox Wipes for cleaning when there is no power. Mop your floors and vacuum. If power is out for 10 days, you’ll have to live in the mess you started with.
- Be Smart!