Shea Homes® wants everyone to get the best out of their homes, and while the Houston area is a great place to live, hurricanes are a fact of life here. Following these tips may be valuable to you in case of a storm.
Consider getting flood insurance, even if you are not required to have it. Many homeowners’ insurance plans do not cover losses due to flooding. Certain lenders require flood insurance, but even if your home is not located in a high-risk area, it may still be susceptible to flooding.
If you do not have flood insurance, talk to your preferred insurance provider about purchasing the right policy for you. If you do have flood insurance, take a moment to review your current policy.
Stock up on essentials. Add these items to your grocery list now so that you can beat potential supply shortages when a storm is approaching.
- Drinking water – You will need one gallon per person per day.
- Non-perishable foods – Nuts, crackers, powdered drink mixes, cereal, jerky, and other dried or canned goods can last for months without refrigeration.
- Medications – Ask your pharmacist about providing a larger supply of your prescriptions. Keep a good supply of over-the-counter medications, such as supplements and painkillers. Purchase or refill a First-Aid Kit.
- Pet supplies – Keep extra amounts of food, medication, and other essentials on-hand for your non-human housemate. Make sure you have a carrier or crate as well.
- Electronics – These include flashlights, lanterns, batteries, battery-powered radio, and portable phone chargers.
- Paper goods – As we saw at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, toilet paper and paper towels are quick to disappear from store shelves in the face of emergency. Also remember you may not be able to wash dishes as usual, so consider stocking up on disposable dishware like plates, bowls, cups, cutlery, napkins, and trash bags.
- Other items – Acquire watertight bags and containers for precious items. Make sure you have plenty of soap. Purchase and safely fill gasoline canisters for your automobile or generator. If you have a natural-burning fireplace or firepit, purchase firewood and matches and store them in a dry place. Remember to closely supervise all open flames and not to burn fires or run engines in enclosed spaces.
Take inventory of your belongings. Make a list of significant items within your home, such as furniture, appliances, and electronics, as well as valuable smaller items like clothing, jewelry, and décor. Take pictures of these items. This record may help you with any future insurance claims.
Consider a fireproof, waterproof safe for important items. Pre-pack a go-bag with medications, snacks, a portable charger, a change of clothes, a set of keys, important documents, and any other essentials.
Talk with everyone in your household about what to do in the event of an emergency. Include escape routes, how to switch off utilities, and locations of supplies in the conversation. Don’t forget your pets, if you have any. Share a list of contacts, including household members, family and friends, workplaces, schools, neighbors, and emergency services.
Fortify your home. Stock up on plywood, nails, hammers, and sandbags. Reinforce or cover your windows. Patch any holes or weak points in your roof. Stack sandbags outside exterior doors to mitigate potential water intake.
Bring inside anything you can carry, such as patio furniture, swings, toys, tools, flags, grills, and potted plants. Make sure you secure anything that cannot be brought inside. If you have rocks or pebbles in your landscaping, cover them with a tarp and stakes. Consider cutting down diseased or dead trees in your yard, as these may collapse from hurricane-force winds and cause damage to your home.
Inside, fill a bathtub, bucket, or other watertight container with water, which you can use to flush your toilet.
Create an evacuation plan. The best time to evacuate is before the storm arrives. In the days leading up to landfall, carefully consider the risks of evacuating versus sheltering in place. Determine routes to one or more destinations outside of the hurricane’s projected area of effect.
Regardless of whether you plan to leave town, ensure your vehicle is in working condition and has a full tank of gas or full EV battery. Familiarize yourself with the nearest evacuation routes. Know that certain roadways may become unfavorable due to traffic, flooding, or other hazards. Consider acquiring a printed road map. Remember not to drive through water – turn around, don’t drown.
Stay informed. In a crisis, it is important for your information to be both timely and correct. You can find further resources and sign up for alerts through your county’s office of emergency management.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also offers updated information and preparedness guides.
Information in this blog post was obtained from resources available through FEMA and the Harris County Office of Emergency Management.