Can You Answer the Top Three Hurricane Preparedness Questions?

The following includes information regarding damage control immediately following Hurricane Sandy. Erik Braunitzer is a writer for Douglas Elliman, brokers for NYC, Long Island and Westchester Real Estate.

Sometimes, a warning isn’t enough to get people to evacuate. Many homeowners refuse to accept the possibility that their homes are not going to protect them in a terrible storm. Hurricanes are one of the most devastating, extreme storms. The damage to property and personal life can be catastrophic, as shown by recent storms Sandy, awakening memories of the Katrina disaster in 2005. Without being properly prepared, people cause greater harm to their homes and themselves, but it actually takes just a bit of effort to prevent the worst from happening. If you can answer these questions, you’re on the right track.

1. Is My Home Hurricane-Proof?
After you have evacuated your apartment, be careful. You shouldn’t return to your space until you are given permission. Find out as much information about the safety of your building as possible before you head home. You should note any tangible damage after the storm. Is there a leak that must be addressed? Did some structure break or did a piece of your property get damaged? If you find damage, you should take pictures and get in touch with the building’s superintendent. If you have a renter’s insurance policy, do not hesitate to file a claim as quickly as possible. After the storm is the perfect time to prepare for the next round. No one can predict everything in a hurricane. However, there are some ways to help your home and prevent unnecessary damage. People often think that taping your windows is necessary. While it can help in some instances of broken glass, it’s actually better to invest in impact-resistant windows. In addition, you should think about other areas of your home that are vulnerable, such as the garage. If you keep a lot of valuables or your care in the garage, it’s worth investing in impact resistant garage doors or simply reinforcing the door with plywood or steel before a hurricane. In addition, think about what is outside of your home. If you have furniture, trash cans, potted plants, flimsy sheds or fences, secure what you can inside the home and make sure that other things are reinforced that must stay outside, such as the shed. You really don’t want debris flying into your home. Last but not least, look at the trees around your home. If you see some potential hazards, cut down heavy tree limbs or remove trees that are too close to home.

2. What Will You Take?
In some cases, evacuation may not be necessary. Hurricanes can be lightly destructive, causing power outages and fallen trees, but not necessarily extreme enough to warrant evacuation. The things you most certainly need in a preparedness kit include bottled water, clothing, medical supplies, non-perishable food items and battery-operated devices, like radios. Whether you are staying or leaving, these things can save you from starvation, dehydration, health complications and missing important news updates. If you are evacuating, think only of bringing what you can carry with you. Important documents are often left behind, so be sure to take your birth certificate, house title, insurance documents and other things that will be difficult to replace or show proof of if lost in the storm.

3. Where Will You Go?
The time is now. The evening news states evacuation may be necessary, even mandatory, for your area. However, there are no police or firemen at your door yet, waiting to escort you to a bus. By this time, you should already have a plan together and know the evacuation plans for your city, including which roads to leave on and what shelters are open during an evacuation. Some people choose to evacuate to a family or friend’s home far away, others simply pick a hotel in a safe location to weather out the storm. You should have a clear path that takes you from your door to a safe place. Knowing this evacuation plan actually helps people cope with the stress of the event and makes things more organized.