When you think of a hurricane, what is the first thing that comes to mind? It’s time to throw a party? Or you could be in danger? The more serious thought is what should come to mind. It’s not about the parties, it’s about the RISKS. Hurricanes are no game. Not only do they have strong winds, heavy rain and tornados, but serious flooding as well. Preparing for these risks is critical for your family’s protection. You want to ensure their safety as well as protect your most important asset, your home.

For 2016, The Weather Channel  says a total of 12 named storms will occur, with six actual hurricanes and three major hurricanes for this season. Below are just a few ways to better prepare for this active hurricane season.

Check your coverage.  Before the storm comes bursting through your windows, call your Bankers agent to make sure you have the proper Homeowner’s insurance to repair any damages that may occur. If you’re a renter, make sure you also have adequate coverage. Remember, Flood Insurance is NOT included in your Homeowners policy. You will need a separate policy provided by your agent. Be sure to act NOW because a flood policy takes 30 days to take effect.

Develop an evacuation plan. If you live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone or feel you live in an unsafe home, you should have an evacuation plan. The plan should consist of a safe place to go, what irreplaceable items you want to bring, a place that accommodates your pets if you have them, and a communication plan for family and friends. Having this plan in place will allow you to evacuate immediately when local officials say to do so.

Gather emergency/disaster supplies. Yes, everyone will be running to the stores like it’s the end of the world, but you’ll want to join them. Having these supplies is critical when a dangerous storm is about to hit. Electricity and water could be out for days, so you will want to make sure you have enough non perishable food and water to feed you and your family. Not only will you want to make sure you have food, but you’ll also want to have extra batteries for flashlights and radios, portable chargers, and cash.

Prepare your home. Make sure to keep your trees trimmed before any storm to help prevent damage from broken branches. Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Bring loose outdoor items inside so they do not blow around and cause damage to the home. Finally, make sure to secure all doors and windows on your property. The garage door is the most vulnerable, so be sure it is locked and secured. You don’t want looters coming in and stealing your household items.

Identify trusted sources of hurricane information. NOAA’s National Hurricane Center  and the National Weather Service are great resources for hurricane forecasts and the issuance of hurricane watches and warnings. To receive storm warnings, go to mobile.weather.gov to subscribe for the wireless emergency alerts. Also, identify a good local news station that you can watch while you have power. Finding a trusted resource to provide important information will keep you informed and safe.

Take the necessary steps to prepare your home and your family for this upcoming storm season. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, leaving you with a place to celebrate after hurricane season.

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