HOUSTON – Hurricane kits are incredibly important when it comes to staying safe during and after a storm.
There is a lot more information out there about safety. Below are some tips that will help keep you and your property safe during a storm.
Double check your insurance coverage. Make sure you have homeowners or renters insurance that will cover water issues if it comes through a broken window or leak. You'll need flood insurance to recover from rising water that may end up in your home. That policy takes 30 days to kick in once you pay for it, so get it now. Renters can even get flood insurance. And you may want to check into windstorm and hail insurance as well. Take inventory of your belongings. Make a video or take photos, or keep a written log.
Be sure to take leashes, harnesses and carriers. Make sure you have food, water, bowls, a can opener, toys and bedding if you can manage. If you have a cat, grab cat litter. Double check that their collars have up-to-date information. It's also a good idea to attach the phone number and location of your temporary address to you're pet's ID tag in case they get lost.
How long can you keep the food in your fridge and freezer after you lose power? According to the USDA, a refrigerator will keep food safely cooled for about four hours if unopened. A full freezer will maintain the temperature for about 48 hours; 24 hours if the freezer is half full. But what if you're not at home, how do you know when the power is out and how long? Freeze a small bowl of water, and put a penny on top. If the penny is at the bottom of the bowl, or inside of the ice. You've lost power.
Where to go in your home
Hurricanes can pack strong winds and even tornadoes. So you need to know the best place to go inside you're home to stay safe. Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors, even if they are covered. Stay on the first floor if possible, and inside a small interior room without windows. This is oftentimes a bathroom or closet. Be sure to grab blankets and pillows to keep everyone comfortable and use them to cover your head if needed. It's also a good idea to take flashlights and a weather radio.
Your cell phone can quickly become your lifeline, and possibly your only form of getting information if you lose power. But you need to keep it charged up. Keep it plugged in during the storm to keep the phone charged as long as possible until you lose power. If you do lose power, switch your phone to battery saving mode. It's also a good idea to have a portable battery charger, and keep it charged and ready to go. You can also buy some lanterns that come with USB ports that will also charge your devices.
Many of us have generators, but there are a few things we want you to know before the season starts. If you have a portable generator, set up it outside the home away from windows and doors and have it serviced. It's a good idea to do a test run now to make sure it's operational and continue those tests once a month throughout the season. Make sure your generator has plenty of fuel and that you have additional fuel stored in a safe location. Finally, know your generator's capabilities and know which items in your home it can safely power.