As we learned from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, it is never too soon to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season. Various sources have predicted a near normal” to “above normal” season but let’s face it, it will be what it will be so the prudent thing to do is gather what you need as if one were coming our way. Hurricane season began on June 1 and ends November 30! We have an advantage over tornadoes or earthquakes...we are given time to prepare and we know when one could come.Below are 12 things you can do NOW to be prepared…

1.Make a plan.

There’s nothing like knowing a hurricane is coming to instill panic in those who have failed to prepare. Remember the lines of cars at all of the gas stations before Hurricane Irma called on us. Cars stretched down the block in front of gas stations. Make a written list and know what your options are. If you are new to the area, know where your evacuation routes are. 

2.Check your Insurance Coverage.

Call now and know exactly what is covered should a hurricane come. If you do not yet have coverage, it’s important to know that once we are under a hurricane watch or warning, you will not be able to obtain or change coverage. If you are scheduled to close on a house, check with your Real Estate agent and your insurance company to see what needs to be done.

3.Storm shutters

Check your shutters to make sure that you have all of the pieces and that you know how to install them. If you will need assistance, make arrangements now for someone to put them up for you.

4.House generators

If you have a generator of any size, make sure you know how to use it! When a hurricane is bearing down on you is not the time to look for the manual. If you have a house generator, find out what your propane supplier is prepared to do if there is a prolonged outage. Note: If you recently had the house generator installed, make sure you know what lights and appliances it will work.

5.Gather supplies.

You probably have non-perishables in your pantry but it’s a good time to take stock of these. Anything that will not need refrigeration or need a microwave or oven is good to have.  If you have camping gear that includes something like a Coleman stove or your own outdoor grill, there are some foods that can be cooked on them should you lose power.

Start stocking up on water now. You will need one gallon of water a day per person at the least. Check your flashlights, batteries and any other emergency equipment you might need. If you’ve stored batteries in a flashlight and haven’t checked it, you might find that they’ve corroded. Note: invest in a headlamp for hands-free lighting!

6.Know where the shelters are

Should you have to evacuate, know where they are. If you have pets, you’ll need to find a shelter that accepts pets. You’ll need papers for them including vaccination information. You may need to make a reservation prior to the hurricane, so be sure to check.

7.Check your “To Go” bags.

Everyone needs a bag that you can grab at a moment’s notice. Prepare one for each member.

8.Take photos and videos.

We see our home every day but could you list everything you have in each room? Take photos and videos. It’s not a bad idea to store in a safe deposit box. 

9.Know your numbers.

So much of what we have is stored in the clouds these days but if power and the internet are out, you will need to be able to access those numbers the old-fashioned way...on a piece of paper! Make sure that you have those all-important numbers written down and stored in a safe place. Again, a safe deposit is a good idea. Depending on the size, it would only cost less than $100 a year.

10.Prepare your car

Prepare your car as if you will have to evacuate. Take care of deferred maintenance, especially your tires and battery. You should have some emergency items in your car at all times anyway (like a flashlight and first aid kit) but get a road atlas as well. This can show your alternate routes so much better than your GPS on your device.