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Palm trees blowing as a hurricane approaches

If you live in Alabama along the Gulf Coast, you know that unexpected hurricane damage can be nothing short of horrific. Far too many people fail to take the potential of hurricane damage seriously until it’s too late. While you can’t control natural disasters, you can control how prepared you are for potential damage.

While a qualified hurricane property damage attorney can be an important ally if you need to recover from your losses after a hurricane, it’s better not to suffer losses in the first place. Keep reading to learn what you should do before a hurricane, steps to prepare for the storm, and how a hurricane damage claims attorney can support you after the storm passes.

What You Should Do Before a Hurricane Hits

 An evacuation route sign on the highway.When you hear a major storm is coming, take it seriously from the beginning. Be sure to obey all of the issued safety orders, and follow these important steps to protect your home and property from harm. Here are 10 essential safety steps:

  1. Have a plan of action
  2. Keep a well-stocked emergency kit
  3. Make sure you’ve got power
  4. Protect your appliances
  5. Secure your house
  6. Protect your windows and doors
  7. Secure interior decor
  8. Protect your vehicle
  9. Protect vital documents and information
  10. Know where to go for shelter

Have a Plan of Action

Plan exactly what you’re going to do in a variety of situations, whether it’s sheltering in place or evacuating entirely. We recommend practicing your plan and knowing it backward and forward so you can implement it at a moment’s notice without thinking. Keep all important contact numbers handy so you can notify loved ones that you’re safe or call for help if you need it.

Keep a Well-Stocked Emergency Kit

Every home should have an emergency kit that’s stocked with batteries, flashlights, a radio, bottled water, nonperishable food, extra cash, clothing, blankets, toiletries, and other necessities. If you don’t already have a portable power generator, you may consider investing in one. However, it is important to remember to never run a generator in your house. Keep your kit stocked and add to it over time. You can’t be over-prepared for a disaster emergency.

Make Sure You’ve Got Power

Full gas cans in preparation for a hurricane.Since hurricanes are so unpredictable, you want to make sure you won’t be running low on any of your essentials for whatever duration of time. Be sure your car has a full tank of gas throughout hurricane season, especially if you hear that a storm is predicted in your area. Keep all of your mobile devices charged, including smartphones, tablets, computers, or any other devices you and your family may need to communicate. Be sure to also have plenty of fuel for your backup power generator to keep you going for a while.

Protect Your Appliances

When a storm is approaching, unplug all of your appliances from the wall and move them away from windows and doors. Ideally, you should place them in cabinets or closets to avoid damage to them and protect them from blowing around or becoming a projectile safety concern if the windows break.

Secure Your Home’s Exterior

Keep large trees and shrubs away from your house. Secure bikes, outdoor toys, patio furniture, potted plants, outdoor sculptures, and other items that could become projectiles if a hurricane strikes. Tie down any large outdoor objects that may be damaged or become a safety hazard if they can’t be moved.

Protect Windows and Doors

A homeowner boarding up the windows on his home.Be ready to board up your windows and doors. If possible, you should install storm shutters long before any storm arises so you can simply close them when the time comes. You should also make sure your windows and skylights are made of impact-resistant glass to minimize potential damage.

Secure Interior Decor

Make sure that anything hanging on your walls is secure. If you have valuable art, keep it cataloged and take steps to protect it from falling, blowing, or being struck by foreign objects. Take any steps needed to secure and protect your valuable items and various decor pieces.

Protect Your Vehicle

Too many people neglect to protect their vehicles during a hurricane. The best way to protect your car or SUV is to leave it in the garage if you can. If that isn’t an option, move it out of harm’s way as best possible. Don’t park your vehicle under trees, near power lines or poles, or in flood-prone areas.

Protect Vital Documents and Information

Be sure that your insurance information, birth certificates, legal documents, marriage licenses, financial information, and the like are secured along with your valuables. It may even be a good idea to keep these things off-site in a safe deposit box at the bank or in a bolted interior safe that’s fire-rated.

Know Where To Go for Shelter

Whether it’s a storm cellar in your house or an emergency shelter in town, plan where you can go to take safe refuge from the storm. If you can’t leave the house, familiarize yourself with the safest place in the house to go. In most houses, the safest spot is centered on the first floor and in a room where no windows and nothing could potentially cause injury. Avoid any dangerous areas such as exposed windows or doors until after the storm is over.

Other Things You Should Consider Before a Hurricane

There are other considerations you should keep in mind to be properly prepared for a hurricane depending on your living situation. Do you live with anyone who has a disability, and have you considered their needs in your evacuation and preparatory plans? Do you or a family member have an illness that requires medicine or treatment that you need to stock in your emergency kit? Do you have a neighborhood plan of action for a natural disaster?

Working with your neighborhood to establish a community-wide plan can make a massive difference in the aftermath of a storm. Your efforts might help seniors and others who need extra help.

Above all, stay informed, keep your eyes out for alerts, know the dangers in your area, and focus on personal safety every step of the way.

After the Storm: Call for Help

If you have property damage after a storm passes, dealing with the insurance company can be stressful at best. Don’t seek your settlement alone. If you need help getting your compensation, contact the Disaster Insurance Claims team at Long & Long for a free policy review. We’ve collected over $500 million for policyholders and we’re here to fight for you. Get prepared and contact us today!