Organizing Tips for Hurricane Season
You can probably feel it: storm season is upon us! With the official start to Hurricane Season starting on June 1, now is the time to start preparing your home for safety. Here are some helpful tips on how to get organized BEFORE the storms start brewing. Be sure to also download and print our Hurricane Preparedness Checklist & “Go Bag” Checklist!
1. Put together a go bag in case of required evacuation.
Should conditions worsen and officials are requiring evacuations, have your bags ready to go. Make sure to include necessities like: disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your essential documents if you need to evacuate. Store the go bags with your other disaster provisions and make sure there is a bag for each family member.
2. Organize your important paperwork.
If a hurricane is coming, you’ll want essential documents at hand. These documents include copies of driver’s license, original passports, birth certificates, social security card and citizenship or naturalization papers. Store these items in a lightweight, water resistant folder that can be stored in your home with your go bag.
A filing system with important documents comes in handy when dealing with the aftermath of a disaster. This includes recent income tax returns, trust records, home ownership information like titles, vehicle titles, and appraisals for rare or expensive items like art and jewelry. Protect these documents by storing them in a safe deposit box. Keep an extra key to the box with your go bag.
Other documents to keep in a safe deposit box include wills, original power of attorney authorizations, and marriage certificates. Any documents that would be hard to replace should be included.
3. Make a household inventory.
If your property is destroyed, you’ll need proof of what you own so it can be replaced. Keep in mind that the less stuff in your home, the less you have to protect, inventory, insure and replace. In other words, declutter now to avoid stress later!
There are two steps to a home inventory. The first step is photographing items in your home. Next, make a written inventory that documents the name of each item, a brief description with brand name, serial or model number if available, date and location purchased, and estimated value.
4. Organize memorabilia and photographs for a quick exit.
Memorabilia may not have a monetary value but it’s definitely irreplaceable. Gather all memorabilia from the various areas of your home. Organize memorabilia in protective, waterproof containers. Consider going digital with old photographs. There are services that will scan large amounts of photos or an organizer can help with this process.
5. Don’t wait for a storm to stock up on supplies.
Start stocking up now with necessities including water and food for 72 hours. The rule of thumb is to have one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation. You should also have enough non-perishable foods (don’t forget the manual can opener!) to last for 3 to 7 days. It’s always a good idea to stock up on fuel to cook outdoors in case the power goes out.
Sanitation and personal hygiene products are often overlooked. Poor hygiene and sanitation can spread disease, especially in a natural disaster. Next time you go to the grocery store or see a sale, pick up an extra box of hand sanitizing wipes and other personal needs to keep your family safe.
Organize your supplies in a centrally located area in your home so that it is easy to find things, even in the dark without power. Decluttering a less used closet that is easily accessible. Clear out enough space to store go bags, water and other supplies. Put items in clear, stackable bins and be sure to label the bins as Emergency Supplies.
6. Prepare your home.
Beyond securing hurricane shutters on your home, be sure to survey your property for any loose materials like tree limbs, branches, garden decorations, patio furniture, and outside toys that could become mobile during hurricane force winds and damage your property. Now is the time to remove clutter from your yard so it doesn’t become a hazard to you or your neighbors.
7. Stay informed and have a communication plan.
Sign up for our community’s warning system, AlertPBC via www.readypbc.com. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
Make a family emergency communication plan. In most cases, power is lost during hurricanes including cell phone towers. Be sure to devise a plan on paper with your family so that everyone knows what to do and where to go in case of an emergency.
For more helpful information, we’ve put together a “Hurricane Preparedness Checklist” and “Go Bag Checklist” found below.