Wednesday, June 23, 2021 / by Sonya Reiselt
Is your Lowcountry Home Protected for Hurricane Season?
Hurricane season officially started at the beginning of June and, as always, is expected to impact the Lowcountry area through the end of November. While the season has already begun, it will be strongest from August – September and it’s critical that you have taken the necessary precautions to protect and prepare your home for the inclement weather. Following these simple steps will reduce any stress and ensure you've done everything you can to protect your most valuable asset.
1. Make sure your insurance policy is the best fit for your home and location.
While it might be safe to assume that your insurance covers any potential wind damage that is caused by a hurricane, it’s important to keep in mind that there are other factors you should make sure are also included. For starters, flood damage is often left out of standard hurricane protection plans, even though the floods that come after the storm are typically a direct result of the hurricane itself. So, make sure you read through your policy thoroughly to know exactly what is and isn’t, covered! Even though potential flooding might come after the storm itself, it can, and does, cause just as much damage to your home as the extreme winds. It’s also just as important to make sure you are covered for the right amount of money. While many policies cover your home for the amount it was last appraised at, it might be significantly less than what it would really cost if you had to rebuild. Even if you can’t change the amount that your policy covers, it’s important to know what it is in case you have to start planning repairs or a rebuild.
2. Stock up on all of the supplies you need in case you’re without power or water.
First of all, don’t wait to stock up on the supplies you’ll need in a worst-case scenario! If you find yourself in the midst of a serious hurricane, which residents in the Lowcountry often do, you face the likelihood of being without power and/or water for an extended period of time. In order to get through this time, there are essentials you’ll want to make sure you are stocked up on:
- · Batteries of all sizes
- · An abundance of filtered water
- · Flashlights (preferably one per family member in the household)
- · First Aid kit
- · Plenty of blankets
- · Matches
- · Enough nonperishable foods to feed your family for a couple of days (minimum)
- · Miscellaneous personal hygiene products such as hand sanitizer and dry shampoo
- · Any necessary medications
- · Napkins/Paper towels/Toilet paper
- · Plenty of disposable dinnerware (to last your family a week or so)
- · A designated water bucket for flushing toilets
- · Portable phone chargers (either fully charged or battery operated)
It’s important to note that you should begin collecting these items now, if you haven’t already done so! Once the threat of a serious storm is issued, these essential items will quickly fly off of the shelves.
3. Have an ample amount of plywood on hand.
It’s very important to make sure you have all of your windows, shutters, and doors with glass boarded up when a serious hurricane hits. While this isn't necessarily something you want on your home all summer, it’s important to have the supplies ready and waiting for when the threat is issued. While this measure of protection is both fairly simple, as well as affordable, it could be an issue if not purchased ahead of time due to extreme demand as the hurricane season progresses.
4. Make sure all of your windows and doors are properly sealed.
When the winds pick up, so does the horizontal rain. In order to further prevent flooding inside of your home, make sure all of the doors and windows throughout the house are properly sealed. If not sealed correctly, you are at serious risk for indoor water damage that can occur entirely too fast to remedy. To be extra cautious, hire a professional in order to give you the peace of mind that it’s done right. Not only is this a step that should be done in a timely manner but it’s also significantly easier if inspected and remedied before you bored your windows up.
5. Install proper surge protection around the house.
In the blink of an eye, your power could go out during a storm. If the culprit is a strong gust of wind or a lightning strike, you’re at risk of a power surge. When this occurs, all of the items plugged into your electricity are at risk of getting destroyed, from your lights to your tv and appliances! In order to protect your possessions, it’s important to put surge protections in place. All it takes is plugging surge protectors into any outlet that is utilized by an appliance or electronic. Instead of plugging them directly into the wall, plug them into the surge protectors.
While hurricane season is inevitable throughout the Lowcountry, this year being no exception due to the high, muggy, temperatures, it’s much easier to get through knowing you have done everything you can to protect your home. While all precautions might not be necessary until the official warnings have been made, by taking these steps, along with simple tasks such as cleaning your yard of all loose debris, they are necessary to keep both yourself and your home, safe!
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