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Lessons from Hurricane Harvey – Major Storm Precautions

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Hurricane Harvey, one of the most destructive storms in U.S. history, hit southeast Texas on August 25. In light of the aftermath of this terrifying storm, Lanier Upshaw wants to make sure you are fully prepared in the event a hurricane or major storm should threaten your area. Don’t wait until a storm is headed your way, properly prepare for a hurricane by taking these precautions:

Advance planning

Plan ahead. Know the location of local shelters and how you’ll evacuate if you don’t have a working vehicle. If you have family members with special medical needs, ask local officials if there’s a registry so they can help in the event of power outages.

Make sure you know how to shut off the electricity, gas and water in case you’re instructed to do so.

Pick a place for family members to meet in case you become separate, and designate an out-of-town friend as the person everyone calls to report they’re safe.

Flood insurance

Get flood insurance if you don’t already have it. If you don’t have it, get it right away as the standard waiting period is 30 days.

Emergency supplies

Have the following supplies on hand at the start of hurricane season.

  • 3-day supply of water that provides one gallon per person per day
  • 3-day supply of non-perishable food that doesn’t require cooking
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio that can receive broadcasts from NOAA
  • First aid kit, and
  • 7-day supply of medications

Battened-down hatches

If a hurricane warning is issued – meaning one is expected within the next 36 hours – bring in anything that can be tossed around by the wind.

  • Close and board up all windows and doors with 5/8 inch plywood, unless you have hurricane shelters
  • Clear rain gutters and downspouts
  • Trim trees and shrubs
  • Put your refrigerator and freezer on the coldest setting
  • Fill your car’s gas tank in case you’re ordered to evacuate

High-rise residents need to take extra precautions

If you live on the first or second floor of a high rise, make plans to take refuge with neighbors between floors 3 and 10 when the storm begins. Residents who live above the 10th floor should evacuate, as should mobile home dwellers and anyone living on a floodplain, near a river or on an inland waterway.

Precautions to take

Shortly before the storm is expected to start, fill your bathtub with water so you will have an extra supply on hand. Unplug small appliances and sensitive electronics, and turn off propane tanks.

When the storm starts

When the storm starts, go to your home’s lowest level and stay in an interior room, closet or hallway. Bring a mattress or pillow to protect your head. Monitor weather conditions on your radio and don’t leave your safe place until officials say it’s OK to do so.

During the storm

If you lose electricity, keep circuit breakers turned off until power is restored, then check for frayed wires. If you see any, call the power company. If you smell gas, leave the house immediately.

After the storm

Exercise caution if you are returning home. Here are a few cautions to remember:

  • Don’t enter your house if floodwaters remain around the building,
  • Don’t go in your house if you see loose power lines or structural damage
  • Don’t enter if you smell a gas leak.

If you have any safety concerns at all, stay elsewhere until your home is checked by a building inspector or engineer.

Did you know that, between 1981 and 2011, two thirds of the hurricanes that hit land in the U.S. struck the Gulf Coast? The other third hit the Atlantic Coast. If you’d like to donate to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort, click here. If you’d like to help make sure you and your loved ones are safe and prepared for a hurricane or other major storm, call Lanier Upshaw at (863) 686-2113 or contact us here.