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We Need to Evacuate – Now What?

hurricane preparation and evacuation tips
Reading Time: 3 minutes

I know it’s a little early in the year to be saying the word hurricane, however, an evacuation plan is always a good thing to have ready and to be prepared to act upon. There are other things that can happen that you may result in the need to leave your home in a hurry such as a fire or lightning strike. So, what’s your plan?

I spoke with a couple of friends who are in the insurance and public adjuster industries and one of the biggest things an insurance company is going to want to see in the event of a home disaster is a detailed inventory of everything in the home. They suggest first making a list of the larger ticket items complete with model and serial numbers. Next up, open every drawer, every closet and every cabinet and take a detailed video inventory with narration. I recommend that you include counts of multiple items like purses or expensive shoes and keep two copies of the video. This type of video inventory is helpful not only if you need to evacuate, but heaven forbid there is a burst pipe or some accident on a random Tuesday that causes property damage.

Let’s talk identification. If you haven’t, I suggest photocopying social security cards, passports, driver’s licenses and any other important identification cards such as an insurance cards and keeping them in either a home safe or a safe deposit box in the bank, maybe even both places. In the event of an evacuation, take all originals with you and you might want to bring a set of photocopies with you just in case.

How about the house itself? First, if you are evacuating due to a hurricane you are going to want to make sure that any outdoor objects that can fly are secured on the interior of the home or the garage. For items in the home or garage that may be susceptible to water damage you may want to consider elevating them if you think flooding is possible. We have secured all our belongings and it’s time to check the outside of the home. If you are using shutters make sure all the nuts and bolts are tight. If you have hurricane windows do an inspection to make sure the caulking around the windows hasn’t separated allowing air to pass thru. Even the smallest of cracks can allow high winds to enter the domicile and possibly cause the home to depressurize. A depressurized structure is much more susceptible to losing a roof or even total collapse.

The last thing we are going to do before we grab our go bag is to make our way to the circuit breaker panel and turn off all the circuit breakers. If you are evacuating it is likely you are going to be without electricity upon your return. By turning off the breakers you are preventing possible damage to electronics in your home from power spikes and surges as the electricity returns. Now let’s shut the water down as well. In the typical single-family home, you should, on the side of the house, find a valve that cuts the water supply to the house. Maybe a tree falls on the home snapping a water pipe and by turning off the water we are hopefully minimizing potential damages.

Wait… what is a go bag you ask? Very simple. I have a bag that has a two weeks supply of all the medications myself and my family need, the aforementioned photocopies of all identification, a few hundred-dollars in cash, water and an assortment of snacks and food that we can survive on for three to four days. No, I’m not one of those survivalists that are prepared for the end of the world, however, I’ve seen too many events where even people who have evacuated have had to wait days for help. In the immortal words of my mother-in-law, “It is far better to have and not need than to need and not have.” I don’t know if she is the original author of that quote, I do know, however, those are wise words indeed. Last tip on the go bag… change out the food and medications at least every sixty to ninety days and consider adding some basic first aid supplies.

Until your eyes and brain land back here again my friends, I tripped across a picture of a prune wearing sunglasses on the internet the other day and thought that’s sad, it’s a blind date.

House Whisperer out!!


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