MILWAUKEE (February 14, 2013)-From the eastern Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, hurricanes affect many of the coastal and nearby inland areas in the United States. Hurricane hazards can come in many forms, according to the National Weather Service, including heavy rains, flooding, damaging wind, storm surge, tornados, and rip currents. A GE home generator, when used safely, can help protect your property and family during a natural disaster like a hurricane. Practice good emergency preparedness tactics to minimize your vulnerability and diminish the loss from a hurricane disaster.
Prepare for Hurricanes by Gathering Information
Do you know the elevation level of your property? Assess the risks to your home and know your vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind by talking to your property insurance agent and consulting FEMA. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond.
As explained in our Power Outages Causes and Information article, develop an emergency communication plan with your family, friends, and neighbors. Additionally, create a list of contact information for your local law enforcement agencies, hospitals, municipal utility facilities, and insurance company. If your area offers weather and crime alerts, subscribe to these via a reliable mode of communication.
- Learn if you live in a hurricane evacuation area.
- Find out community hurricane and emergency evacuation routes and how to get to higher ground.
Secure Your Property for Emergency Preparedness
Protect your home’s interior from damaging water and winds with permanent storm shutters. Windows can also be boarded up with pre-cut plywood, available at your local home improvement center.
Clear clogged rain gutters to help ensure proper drainage.
To prevent structural damage, reinforce garage doors and securely fasten your roof to the frame of your house by using straps or clips.
Install a standby generator to keep important appliances like sump pumps working, even in instances of power loss. A backup generator like those offered by GE can protect your home against flooding and other damage. Learn how a generator works when your home no longer receives electricity from your utility company due to a weather-related power outage.
Build a 72 Hour Emergency Kit
FEMA’s Ready.gov recommends putting together a disaster supplies kit of items that your household may need in an emergency. This kit should contain food, water, any necessary medications, lighting, and back-up battery supplies under the assumption that basic utilities like electricity, gas, water, sewage, and phone service may be unavailable. Find out how to put together a basic emergency preparedness kit from Ready.gov.
After a Hurricane Has Struck
- Notify out-of-area friends and family as to your location and well-being. Utilize your family communication plan or contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS/1-800-733-2767.
- Continue listening to local news and the National Weather Service for the latest hurricane updates.
- Do not return home if you have been evacuated until officials say it is safe to do so.
- You should never run any generator indoors or in other partially-enclosed spaces. Standby generators should be installed outdoors far away from windows, doors and vents, to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide gas from accumulating and potentially being drawn towards occupied spaces. Generators emit carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that could kill you in minutes. You cannot smell it, see it, or taste it. Even if you do not smell exhaust fumes, you could still be exposed to carbon monoxide gas. Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors/alarms near bedrooms and sleeping areas.
- Document all damage to your household with photographs and wear protective clothing during clean-up efforts.
Contact FEMA if your home is untenable and you have immediate housing needs. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area.
Maintain your emergency preparedness checklist to stay safe through any emergency weather situation that hits.