|With Hurricane season officially underway, here are some tips and reminders from Ware County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and GEMA about hurricane preparation. For brevity, these are only pertinent excerpts from the full newsletter.
THE HURRICANE WATCH
A weekly e-newsletter from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA).
June 19, 2008
Is Your Insurance Coverage Adequate? Review, Update NOW
Hurricane season is barely three weeks old. Many of us have reviewed our agency's emergency/disaster plans. Some have even taken a look at their family disaster plan and supplies kit. But, have you taken a close look at your homeowners and flood insurance policies as well? If you need a new insurance policy or any additional coverage, please contact your insurer today. If you live on or near the coast, your homeowners coverage may have changed. Both commercial and personal insurance policies exclude flood coverage. A separate policy is necessary to properly insure your property for flooding. If you don't have flood insurance or if you have flood coverage but need higher limits of coverage, remember there is a 30-day waiting period when increasing flood limits or purchasing a new policy. Another important point to remember is that when a tropical storm or hurricane approaches within certain coordinates, insurers (including the National Flood Insurance Program) are prohibited from increasing coverage, adding new coverage, or building new policies. The bottom line is you can run out and buy an insurance policy or increase insurance coverage anytime, but you will not be covered for at least a month. It takes at least a month (after purchase) for your coverage to be valid.
Hurricane Survival: How To Prepare
Hurricane hazards come in many forms: storm surge, high winds, tornadoes and flooding. The key to hurricane protection in all of these areas is preparation. By taking sensible measures before, during and after a hurricane, many lives can be saved, more injuries can be avoided, and property damage can be averted or reduced. Preparing in advance is the key to surviving a hurricane. To be ready and to stay ready, you must always have certain "essentials"-- a family disaster plan, emergency supplies kit, first-aid items, water storage, pet safety items, etc.
Getting prepared should begin well before the hurricane season starts. Find out if your home meets current building code requirements for high winds. Experts agree that structures built to meet or exceed current building code high-wind provisions have a much better chance of surviving violent windstorms. If you do not live in an evacuation zone or a mobile home, designate an interior room with no windows or external doors as the family's meeting place.
Be aware of streams, drainage channels, and areas known to flood so you can plan an evacuation route.
Stock up on nonperishable foods, water, medicines, first-aid supplies, hygiene items, gasoline, emergency supplies, and cash. At a minimum, assembly a three-day supply of all basic items your family will need. Optimally, a two-week supply of nonperishable food is recommended. Although it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supply for that long, such a stockpile can relieve a great deal of inconvenience and uncertainty until services are restored. You should have been saving your empty water bottles, and this is the time to wash them out, rinse them thoroughly, and fill them with clean tap water (which can be stored for up to a year).
Prepare an emergency kit for your home and a second for your vehicle, even if you plan to ride out the storm at home. Store all of these items in unbreakable, waterproof containers. At least one family member should take a first-aid and CPR class, but it would be even better if everyone that is old enough does so. Post emergency telephone numbers by the telephones, and teach your children how and when to call 9-1-1 for help.
Preparing your home and yard is also important. Some important preparations you can make include keeping trees and shrubbery trimmed to prevent breakage and to keep loose limbs from becoming airborne in a storm, and remove limbs that could damage your house or utility lines if blown loose. Purchasing window shutters, door shutters, storm shutters, plywood, shovels, sandbags, hammer and nails, and plastic sheeting in advance is good planning and should be less expensive than during the approach of a tropical storm or hurricane. Plastic garbage bags, work boots, and gloves will come in handy also. Call your local emergency management agency (EMA) to learn how to construct proper protective measures around your home. Find out how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches.
For more information on how to prepare, visit www.ready.ga.gov.
Words To The Wise: Watch Your Fuel Levels
This year, fill your vehicles fuel tanks immediately and keep them as full as possible when tropical storms develop in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean (I'll add the Caribbean Sea, as well, for good measure). Why? Many gas stations are not keeping as much supply on hand now because of the high cost to retailers. The retailers aren't buying as much fuel because their customers aren't buying as much as before due to high prices. Add to that the fact that tropical storms and hurricanes in the Gulf reduce oil and gas production nationwide and you could have a situation where the fuel supply will be low when a storm first begins to brew. If a major evacuation becomes necessary, people will be stranded on the roads because there won't be enough fuel.
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