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Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane Preparedness: How to Ready Your Home for Mother Nature’s Worst

One of the most frightening and unpredictable parts of home leasing or ownership is when Mother Nature decides to strike. Unfortunately, in Houston we are no strangers to some of Mother Nature’s worst—hurricanes. After the destruction caused by Ike and Harvey, it is important to know how to prepare your home for a hurricane, and what to do if your house begins to flood.

Flood and Renters Insurance

Whether you rent or own your home, it is vital to know what your insurance will cover for you in the event that your home becomes flooded or destroyed by a hurricane. Many renters insurance policies will tell you what they provide if you are displaced from your home due to weather, and how much in equity of your belongings they can replace.

The flood section of your homeowner’s insurance (usually has to be purchased separately) can also let you in on what your insurance will cover (rebuilding/remodeling) if your home floods due to a hurricane. Knowing what your insurance can do for you during a major storm can give you peace of mind while you wait out the weather, and can also tell you which gaps in your coverage should be filled.

Additionally, it is also good to know the process for making a claim with your insurance agency should you need to. This can help you expedite your claim during a stressful situation and get you the compensation you need to move forward.

Renters must also be aware of how and when to contact their landlord or Houston property management company in case of flooding, so they can get instructions for next steps as soon as possible.

Disaster Kit

Sometimes it isn’t easy to predict when and how hard a storm will hit. This is why it is extremely important to have a disaster kit already together before a storm begins. This kit can help you deal with the physical problems associated with a hurricane (such as flooding and lack of stock in stores) and give you peace of mind during the storm.

You should always have these things stocked in a safe place so that you’re prepared for disaster:

– Enough bottled water to last a few days (an average person needs one gallon per day, dogs need 1.75L and cats need much less)
– Can Opener
– Canned and non-perishable foods that can be made and consumed with minimal water or without water
– First Aid Kit
– Light Sources (battery powered flashlights/lanterns, candles and lighters/matches—be sure to check your lease about this, as some places do not allow you to keep candles lit as a light source during a power outage)
– Hygiene products
– Cans of gas
– Jumper Cables
– Flares
– Physical Map
– Bucket to flush the toilet
– Extra batteries
– Medicines and Prescriptions
– Pet supplies as needed such as pet food, treats, toys, litter and potty pads

– Any other individual need not listedIt is also imperative that you check your disaster kit often, to ensure it is fully stocked and ready for immediate use.

Prepare Your Refrigerator and Freezer

Always assume you will lose power during any major storm, so that you are prepared if the lights go out. It is always best to eat your perishable items first. You should also fill your refrigerator and freezer with bottled water and sealed non-perishable items. The fuller your refrigerator and freezer are, the more items can retain the cold and keep the temperature down. You can additionally place all of your ice into plastic bags and fill any empty space with them.

Prepare Your Bathtub/Hot Water Heater

If you are not evacuating, fill your bathtub(s) with water. An average bathtub can hold enough water for three days, and can allow you to flush your toilet using a bucket. Additionally, if you need water in a pinch, you can find it in your hot water heater. They typically have enough water to keep a single adult alive for a month.

Fortify Your Home

As the storm is approaching, secure all of your doors and windows. Ensure they are locked, and hurricane shutters closed. If you don’t have hurricane shutters, you can board your windows with plywood. You may also want to reinforce your garage door this way too, to ensure your items are protected.

Learn how to shut off your home’s gas and power source and make sure all tools necessary to do so are accessible to you. If you don’t know where these sources are located or how to turn them off, call your property management company or utility company and they can help.

You may also want to cut down trees and branches that may fall on your car or house, and remove any dead brush as well.

One other important step is to designate a safe room in your home—that does not have any windows or exterior doors—where you can stay to wait out the more severe moments of the storm.

Purchase a Generator

Figure out your generator needs and purchase one that can handle the wattage you require. For example, if you or a member of your family has medical needs that require air conditioning, find a generator that can provide the wattage to power it. If you cannot purchase a generator, you can always purchase a DC to AC converter for your car, and use your car as a portable electric generator. Just be sure to refrain from running your car or gasoline generator in your closed garage, as carbon monoxide poisoning is fatal.

During a hurricane, it is important to be renting or leasing from a Houston property management company you can trust. Trust Precision Realty and Management with your home, and have peace of mind during Hurricane Season.