Hurricane season for the Atlantic and Caribbean is June 1 to November 30, with peak season mid-August to late October. Regardless of the calendar, now is a great time to determine what you can do to be better prepared if a storm heads your way.
Even if you've been through a hurricane before, it is easy to forget some of the steps you can take to protect your family and property. Taking the right precautions before a storm has the potential to save lives, time and money.
Are you ready? Review these questions to see if you are ready for a hurricane. It's time to take action if you answer "No" or "I don't know" to any of these questions.
Have you planned multiple evacuation routes and destinations?
Do you have an emergency communication plan for staying in touch or getting messages to family and friends?
Is your homeowner's and flood insurance up-to-date and sufficient to replace your home and belongings if they are damaged or destroyed?
Do you have copies of your insurance policies, household inventory and other important papers, as well as other valuables, in a safe place -- one that's waterproof and fireproof? Which papers to keep in your safe.
Do you know how to turn off your utilities (electricity, gas and water)?
Do you have a plan and supplies on hand to protect and secure your home and outdoor items (and your boat and pool, if you have them)?
Do you have disaster supplies such as batteries, a battery-operated radio, flashlights, lanterns, fuel, nonperishable food for three days, water/water jugs, manual can opener, medicines, traveler's checks or cash, and other necessary items on hand?
Do you have an emergency supply kit for your car? If the weather has turned cold, you will need additional items.
Do you have a plan of how to take care of family members with special needs (those with disabilities, infants or the elderly) in the event of a disaster?
Have you decided what you will do with your animals if you must evacuate?
Have you budgeted for the added expenses to protect your home, buy supplies, evacuate, clean up and recover?
Have you discussed your emergency plans, duties and rules with your family?