Hurricane season is about to kick into high gear along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. When a hurricane hits, it can wreak havoc on a community and your home. As with any natural disaster, it's best to be prepared rather than find yourself wishing you had taken time to get ready. Get your home and family hurricane ready with these steps.

Make an Emergency Checklist
The Federal Emergency Management Agency , better known as FEMA, advises all families but particularly those in hurricane zones to create family emergency plans. This plan should be created well before a hurricane occurs and reviewed regularly as a family. Your family emergency plan should include:

  • An evacuation plan and routes to leave town;
  • How to contact each other in case you're not together when a hurricane strikes;
  • Utility shut off and safety instructions;
  • And basic safety precautions like knowing where the fire extinguisher is located and how to use it.
Protect Your Home from a Hurricane Even if you decide to evacuate, you can't take your home with you. It will have to stay behind to weather the storm. The first step any homeowner in a hurricane zone should take is to buy flood insurance as most home policies do not automatically include this protection. Secondly, when a hurricane is approaching, protect your home by:
  • Covering windows with plywood or hurricane shutters;
  • Bringing any outdoor items not tied down inside including patio furniture and garbage cans;
  • Keeping trees and shrubs trimmed to increase their wind resistance;
  • Turning off propane tanks;
  • Preparing an emergency supply of water for sanitary purposes by filling bathtubs and other large containers;
  • And reinforcing the garage door.

Homeowners should also consider purchasing a generator. Utilities often shut down during hurricanes and it can take days or weeks for utility companies to restore power.

Emergency Kit
All homes should maintain basic first aid kits for every day situations. Those living in hurricane areas should also prepare an emergency "to go" bag to grab quickly in case of evacuation or to leave in your car. Your kit should include the basic first aid supplies along with clean water, food, a battery or hand crank powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries. You may also want to include copies of important documents and cash in a water tight container as well.

Hurricanes leave a path of destruction in their wake. Take appropriate measures to prepare your home to minimize damage to your family and property.

Click here for more information on Storm Safety.