No matter where you live, seasonal threats are present. With summer thunderstorms dropping unprecedented amounts of water, hurricane threats along the coast and wildfires out west, we’re here to provide meaningful tips to help.
We’ve posted a lot about water over the last few years as we’ve seen significant rainstorms that have caused damage to neighborhoods and homes and it is not just in high risk flood zone areas.
Before a Flood 1
- Know the terms. Know the difference between a Flood Watch, meaning flooding is possible, and a Flood Warning, which means flooding is occurring or will occur soon. This will help you take necessary steps.
- Maintain an emergency supply kit that will sustain you and your family for a 72-hour period. This kit should include flashlights, a portable radio, extra batteries, non-perishable food, bottled water, cash, blankets, clothing and toiletries.
- Keep all important papers such as legal papers, birth certificates, marriage license, financial papers, and insurance policy information in a safety deposit box, or fireproof and waterproof box on an upper floor inside the home.
- Have an evacuation plan. Flash flooding can occur quickly. Know where you and your family will go. If you have pets, plan for their evacuation as well.
- Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
Check out some of our Insights archives for additional resources surrounding flood damage prevention and insurance options to protect your home and valuables.
Hurricane season starts every year on June 1st. It’s important to have an action plan in place in case your home is in its path. With heightened concerns because of COVID-19, additional items should be taken into consideration.
Before a storm 2
- Check your roof and siding for any leaks or loose shingles.
- Clean your gutters to make sure they are clean and working properly.
- If you have a basement or lower-level sump pump or French drain, perform a semi-annual operational test.
- If equipped, check the storm shutter bolts to ensure they are not broken or inoperable.
- Check around your home for evidence of improper drainage. Ensure grading or ground around your home is pitched appropriately so that surface water drains away from your home or other structures.
- Remove or prune dead or dying trees and branches. This may require the engagement of a local arborist or tree company.
- Consider the purchase of hurricane supplies for your home and autos, including flood barrier panels, flood bags and custom vehicle bags.
- Have a plan for storing outdoor furniture and other yard décor.
- Prepare an overall disaster plan. Below are some considerations:
- Outline an evacuation plan in case you cannot shelter-in-place. Due to pandemic-related concerns, local authorities may have revised their evacuation measures from previous years; thus, check with them first on what to potentially expect this year. And if you need to go to a shelter, try to call ahead to check on availability.
- If you decide to shelter at an available hotel, ask the hotel questions on what it is doing to minimize risk of the continued spread of COVID-19. For example, what precautions are the hotel taking to protect its employees and guests, such as cleaning and social distancing protocols?
- If evacuating, think ahead about your travel and identify urgent care or hospitals on your route, if you or a family member becomes ill. Also, pack food and water, in the case the area to which you are traveling has limited stores available.
- As soon as possible, create a first-aid/wellness kit with adequate prescription medications and over-the-counter pain/flu medicines, a thermometer, latex gloves and other supplies. Be sure to add extra masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning products. Likewise, create a to-go bag. Be sure to include a flood lamp flashlight and weather radio. Also, bring an extra cell phone charger and ensure that your contact list is up-to-date.
- If you are unable to evacuate, identify a “shelter” room in your home. This enclosed area should also be on the first floor, in the central part of the house and with no windows. When the storm gets bad, go there.
- Experts warn of the possibility of extended power outages due to COVID-19. Consider purchasing a whole-home, stand-alone generator installed by a licensed contractor. For existing generators, now is the time to do a performance test-run and/or service your generator, if needed. Keep in mind that you may be eligible for a policy premium credit for the purchase of a back-up generator.
- At least annually, consult your independent agent or broker to ensure adequate insurance coverage.
Wildfires used to have a season but they have been more frequent with higher severity in the last few years. To better protect you and your family, consider the following proactive actions.
Before a wildfire 3
- Make sure your address is visible from the street in all directions.
- Treat, clear, and cut back vegetation, remove fallen debris, and any combustible fuels, creating a defensible space perimeter and firebreak around your home and adjacent structures.
- Plant vegetation that slows fire, such as rockrose, ice plant, and aloe, or fire-resistant shrubs such as hedging roses, bush honeysuckles, currant, cotoneaster, sumac, or shrub apples.
- Replace wood mulch with rock or gravel.
- Remove dead leaves and pine needles from roofs, decks, and patios.
- Install a safe to help protect jewelry and other valuables from fire damage.
- Remove lint and other buildup from air conditioner screens.
- Install fire-resistant vents so burning embers can’t enter your home.
- Consider purchasing a portable gasoline-powered water pump, which allows fire engines to draw water from nearby swimming pools.
If you need assistance or have questions, please reach out to your dedicated Account Manager and we can review what makes the most sense for you and your family.
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Take care and be well,
Your Private Client Services team