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Hurricane season officially began on June 1st. While our area usually sees storms later in the season, the time to prepare is now. We've included some helpful tips below and also recommend checking your homeowners insurance policy for your deductibles. Some carriers now have wind deductible and named storm deductibles that can be a percentage of your dwelling value. If you aren't aware of this it may come as a shock at claim time. If you have any questions or would like a complimentary review please call our office at 804-559-1200.

Long-range hurricane planning
  • Make sure family members know what to do. Designate an emergency meeting spot and have a plan for your pets.
  • Show adult and teen family members where electrical, gas and water shut-offs are located and how to turn them off. Make sure the proper tools are nearby.
  • Have a well-stocked first aid kit, flashlights and plenty of batteries.
  • Install impact-resistant windows.
  • Make certain your doors have at least three hinges and a deadbolt lock with a bolt at least 1 inch long.
  • Install permanent wood or metal stiffeners on your garage door. Or contact the door manufacturer about temporary supports you can easily attach and remove.
  • Make sure your roof covering and sheathing beneath it can resist high winds.
  • Consider replacing gravel and rock landscaping with mulch or shredded bark, which can be less deadly in high winds.
  • Trim trees and shrubbery. Pay particular attention to weak or dead branches that could fall on your home or your neighbor's home.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure.
  • Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected from a storm surge or tidal flooding.
  • Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
  • Learn hurricane evacuation routes. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
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    What to do just before or during a hurricane

    If conditions are right for a hurricane in your area:

    • Monitor local radio and television broadcasts for safety announcements and instructions.
    • Turn off all utilities, including propane tanks.
    • Cover all of your home’s windows with storm shutters or 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape doesn’t prevent windows from breaking.
    • If it’s safe, move outdoor furniture and grills inside. They can be deadly flying debris.
    • If emergency officials haven’t directed you to a public shelter, get your family to the basement, a closet, a small room or a hallway away from windows. The more walls between you and the outside, the better.
    • Lean a mattress against the wall of the room you're in.
    • Don't open your windows. Keep the wind and rain outside.
    • Stay away from window that can break from high winds, water and flying debris.
    • Hand out flashlights. The hurricane probably will have disrupted electrical service.
    • Continue to monitor radio broadcasts. A portable battery-operated or hand-crank radio is a good investment.

     

    What to do after a hurricane

    If you and your family are forced to leave your home – or if it has been severely damaged from the hurricane - wait for the all-clear to re-enter. Then:

    • Look for flooding after the hurricane passes. Rising water can produce dangerous conditions hours, or even days, later.
    • Check for structural damage before going inside your home.
    • If dark, use a flashlight – not matches, a candle or a lighter. An open flame can ignite leaking gas.
    • Listen for reports to see when the drinking water is safe.
    • If there is water damage, consider hiring a professional water damage cleaning service.
    • Otherwise, begin your cleanup as soon as possible – washing and disinfecting items that have been touched by floodwater or disposing of belongings that cannot be saved.
    • Wear a mask, gloves and coveralls when cleaning up your property to reduce exposure to hazardous material.
    • Use your cell phone or camera to take pictures of the damage that can be used to document your insurance claim.
    • Once you’ve gathered documentation about your damage and your insurance coverage, contact your insurance company or agent.
    Posted 12:17 PM  View Comments

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