Plan NOW for Uninvited Guests!

Will you be ready when Bill, Claudette, or Danny pays you a visit? How about Mindy, Nicholas or Odette?

With any luck, these uninvited “guests” won’t show up in your neighborhood, but it pays to be prepared. June marks the beginning of the 2009 Hurricane Season. And these are some of the names selected by the World Meteorological Organization for this year’s potential storms. Right now, you probably aren’t too concerned about one of them dropping in…

But if you live in a hurricane-prone area, it’s smart to have a plan:

1. Develop a Family Plan – Long before hurricane season officially kicks off, learn what you need to do to protect yourself and your family members. Learn what evacuation route to use, if that becomes necessary. Identify shelters in your area, including ones that take pets.

2. Create a Disaster Supply Kit – Stockpile supplies for you, your family, and your pets. Include non-perishable food, water, essential medicines, a battery-operated radio with extra batteries, a non-electric can opener, cash and credit cards, a first aid kit.

3. Secure Your Home – Permanent shutters are the best protection. Or put up plywood panels. Use 1/2 inch plywood cut to fit each window. Trim back dead or weak branches from trees. And secure loose items in your yard, like outdoor furniture, boats, planters, etc., that could potentially become air-borne during a storm.

4. Have a Communication Plan – Develop a plan for getting all family members back together. This is especially important if a hurricane occurs when during the day when adults are at work and children are at school. Establish an out-of-area friend or relative as your primary contact and make sure everyone knows how to contact them.