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Hurricane season 2013 is expected to be very severe. Here’s what you need to do to hurricane-proof your home and protect your family.

Get ready — it could be a wild year for hurricanes. Saturday, June 1, is the official start of the 2013 hurricane season, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says could be extremely active.

NOAA predicts seven to 11 hurricanes; a typical year has six.

Nobody wants to see another destructive Hurricane Sandy, but it makes sense to be as prepared as possible to protect your family and home. Here’s an overview and links to in-depth information to get you started.

Create a Home Emergency Preparedness Kit

You should always have a home emergency kit in case you lose power and have to hunker down in your home for awhile. Items in a home emergency kit include:

  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • First aid supplies
  • Water and food
  • Sanitation and hygiene supplies
  • Radio
  • Cash

Get more details about what to put in your emergency kit here.

Pack a Grab-and-Go Bag

In case you have to evacuate quickly, having a pack-and-go bag will save you time and headaches. Include essentials such as:

  • Prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
  • A change of clothes for each family member.
  • A back-up drive from your computer.
  • A copy of your home inventory.
  • A flash drive with copies of important documents such as insurance papers, birth certificates, deeds, tax returns, passports, and drivers’ licenses.
  • An inventory your home’s possessions.

Here’s a complete list of what to include in an emergency grab-and-go kit.

Make (or Update) a Home Inventory

If the worst should happen and your home is destroyed or severely damaged, you’ll have problems filing your claim if you don’t have a home inventory.

Having a checklist of items with serial numbers, brands, quantities, and estimated values will make the claim process much easier. You can get started by downloading a home inventory checklist here.

To be doubly sure, take pictures and/or videos of your possessions. Those photos will serve as proof to your insurance adjuster that you did possess those items.

Be sure to create duplicates of your checklist, photos, and videos to store online or in a safety deposit box — and as part of your grab-and-go bag.

More tips on creating a home inventory here.

Check Your Insurance for Adequate Coverage

Does your policy have any restrictions on wind and water damage? Many policies do. And almost all policies exclude damage resulting from floodwaters. If your home is in a high-risk area, you should probably consider flood insurance and check the price and availability of coverage for hurricanes, too.

We explain what’s covered, what isn’t — as well as pricing and eligibility — in these two articles:

Reinforce Your Garage Doors

Did you know that during a storm, garage doors are your home’s weakest spot? Because they are often flimsy and cover a large area, they are vulnerable to wind damage, which can result in water flooding your home.

There are two main options to hurricane-proof your garage doors:

  • Buy new hurricane-proof doors.
  • Install a door bracing kit.

Reinforce Your Windows 

Like garage doors, your windows are vulnerable. During a hurricane, winds coming in through broken windows can create dangerous pressure inside, causing walls and roofs to collapse.

There are several options for reinforcing your windows:

  • Putting up plywood.
  • Adding storm shutters.
  • Installing impact-resistant (hurricane-proof) windows.
  • Applying hurricane window film.

You can learn more about each of these options in this article: How to Hurricane-Proof Your Windows.

Reinforce Your Roof

Hurricane winds inflict an uplift effect on your roof that can pull off shingles, tiles, and even the roof sheathing. You can use roofing cement to strengthen your roofing shingles, or even hire a contractor to install hurricane clips or straps to secure your roof to your walls.

Learn how to hurricane-proof your roof here.

And Don’t Forget:

  • Check to see if your sump pump is working. Replace it if it isn’t.

Email me with your questions or comments – Regina@ReginaWallace.com

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