Hurricane Preparedness in the United States
Don’t Let a Hurricane Catch You Unaware—Prepare in Advance
The thought of a hurricane hitting your home or business is terrifying. Always plan for the worst-case scenario when it comes to natural disasters. After all, hurricanes cost billions of dollars in damages every year. If you live or work in a hurricane-prone region, it’s essential to prepare for a hurricane before a warning is even issued. If you’re uncertain where to start in the preparation process, DKI is here to help. We serve communities across the United States, helping residents prepare for and recover after a variety of natural disasters. We have years of experience with water damage, fire damage, and catastrophe response, so you can trust our expert knowledge and services.
Learn About Hurricane Categories
First, let’s cover the basics about hurricanes. You’ve probably heard storms referred to by a category. The National Hurricane Center uses five categories to indicate the severity of a storm. Here’s a basic overview of what to expect from each category:
- Category 1: Category 1 hurricanes have wind speeds between 74 and 95mph and are known to cause significant damage. Roof and siding damage are common, as are fallen tree branches and power outages.
- Category 2: These hurricanes’ wind speeds range from 96 to 110mph. During a category 2 hurricane, you can expect more significant damage, including major roof damage and uprooted trees.
- Category 3: Wind speeds of 111 to 129mph can cause major roof damage, and even roof removal. Roads may be blocked by numerous fallen trees, and power outages are expected to last for several days.
- Category 4: Category 4 hurricanes are characterized by wind speeds of 130 to 156mph. Communities affected by these storms are left with catastrophic damage, such as severe structural damage to buildings, downed power poles, and power outages lasting months.
- Category 5: A Category 5 hurricane denotes a storm capable of complete destruction. With wind speeds exceeding 157mph, these hurricanes can leave an area uninhabitable for months after the storm initially hits.
When to Expect a Hurricane
Hurricane season occurs from the beginning of June through the end of November. Peak activity usually occurs during August and September. These storms can hit nearly any coastal area in the United States, although they’re most common in the southeastern region. Be sure to follow your local weather station for updates on hurricanes or tropical storms that may affect your area. The states most commonly affected by such storms include, but aren’t limited to:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
The First Steps to Prepare for a Hurricane
Everyone should take steps to prepare for a natural disaster, whether it’s a hurricane, tornado or flood. The first thing to do is to stockpile important information and emergency supplies in a safe location. This should include emergency contact information for family and friends, insurance policies, photos of your property, a list of evacuation/storm shelters in your area, as well as a disaster kit. Once you have gathered these materials, make a plan with everyone in your household. Communicate how and where to evacuate if a warning is issued – including where to meet if you are at work/school/daycare.
Other preparedness tips to consider include:
- Backing up information stored on your computers
- Documenting an inventory of your personal belongings
- Calling your insurance company to learn what damages are covered
What to Include in Your Disaster Kit
Along with important documents and information, you should also create family disaster kits to keep at home and in your vehicle. This kit will need to include enough supplies for every member of your household to last for several days in case of a power outage or if you must evacuate. Remember to include any kids and pets. Make sure to stock your disaster kit with all of the following:
- Nonperishable food and water (enough for each person to last at least 3 days)
- Prescription medications
- First-aid supplies (bandages, salve, etc.)
- Portable radio and generator
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Portable phone charger
How to Protect Your Home from a Hurricane
While the most important thing is to ensure your family’s safety, you may also want to take precautions to protect your property during a hurricane. While nothing can guarantee your home makes it through the storm unscathed, there are steps you can take to minimize damage as much as possible. Strengthen your home against an oncoming storm with these options:
- Board Up: The most cost-effective method to secure your windows is to use plywood that is thick enough to withstand the high wind speeds of hurricane. Though inexpensive, this option must be done manually which takes time, and the plywood cannot be re-used for future storms.
- Storm Shutters: If you want something more permanent, you can invest a little more and opt for storm shutters. These can be permanently installed or are easy to remove and store away. Storm shutters fit over your existing windows and provide an added layer of protection against the storm elements.
- Storm Windows: Another option should you choose is to install new windows, built specifically to resist hurricanes. Talk to window supply stores to learn about their storm-resistant selection.
- Hurricane Film: This simple, hassle-free product is a great way to protect your home against a hurricane. Hurricane film can be left on your windows the entire year, and it can minimize the chances of injury should a window break.
What to Do During a Hurricane
You may have taken all the proper precautions before a hurricane hits, but what do you do once the storm actually makes landfall? Your first priority should always be getting your family to safety. Follow evacuation orders, especially if you live in a mobile home or an apartment. It’s also critical to monitor storm updates on your local weather channel, or keep a backup radio for when the power goes out. If you choose to shelter in your home, follow these guidelines for staying as safe as possible:
- Turn off electricity at the first sign of flooding
- Shelter in an area away from windows and exterior doors
- Keep your disaster kit close
- Don’t use landlines or equipment that needs to be plugged into an outlet
- Use flashlights instead of candles for light
- Stay inside until you are 100% certain the storm has stopped. Be aware, the winds may stop for a while when you’re in the eye of the storm.
Get Help Recovering from a Hurricane
Picking up the pieces after a hurricane can be overwhelming and stressful. Even if you make it through with minimal property damages, you’re likely to feel shaken up. If you need help restoring your property and peace of mind after a hurricane, do not hesitate to contact DKI. We are experts for storm damage restoration, having worked with home and business owners across the country for over 45 years. A member of our team will meet with you within two hours of your call to assess the damage to your property and provide you with a reasonable, reliable cost estimate. We understand the emotional toll a natural disaster can take on you and your family, but it’s our job to alleviate some of that stress. Let us know if we can help you recover from a hurricane.
Contact DKI for More Information
Don’t try to navigate the aftermath of a hurricane alone. The professionals at DKI are here to help. We’ve helped people across the country get back on their feet after a large and costly natural disaster. Beyond our work with storm and water damage, we’re also trusted for mold remediation, tree removal, and personal property restoration. Get in touch with DKI today to find out what we can do for you.