Hurricane preparedness checklist

AAA is urging people to check their emergency kits as hurricane season begins, restocking supplies depleted during the COVID-19 pandemic and making sure insurance and other necessities are in good shape.

With the arrival of hurricane season, AAA is reminding area residents to restock their storm supply kits, as well as include COVID-19 protection, including masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. The past few months of the pandemic depleted store shelves and prompted more time at home, a combination that may have had some families turning to their storm kit for needed supplies, they said.

If that sounds familiar, now is the time to take stock of that storm kit and ensure all the items needed are there, as well as additional items for COVID-19 protection.

“Don’t wait until the next storm makes the local news to prepare,” said Ken Grant, manager of Public & Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “As we saw during the pandemic, products can sell out quickly. Now is the time to collect emergency items for your hurricane supply kit, including personal protection equipment to protect you from COVID-19.”

“We continue to work with all of our partners to prepare for the 2020 hurricane season,” stated MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA Region 3 regional administrator. “As past hurricane seasons have shown us, it only takes one major hurricane to impact a community or state and cause widespread damage. Take time to prepare yourself — consider purchasing flood insurance to protect your property, know your community’s plans for hurricanes, and plan for what you’ll do if a hurricane is forecast.”

With the need to include COVID-19 protection supplies, the CDC has revised its guidelines for 2020 hurricane preparedness.

Recommended hurricane preparedness items:

• Water (one gallon per person, per day, for at least three days)

• Three-day supply of non-perishable food

• Flashlight and extra batteries

• First-aid kit

• Adequate supplies of paper towels, toilet paper and sanitizing wipes

• Face masks, gloves, soap and hand sanitizer

• Cell phone, power bank and charger

• Pet food and extra water

• Prescription medications

• A container so you can easily take your items along if you have to evacuate to a shelter or other location.

Only a few weeks into the hurricane season, the Atlantic basin has already seen three named storms come ashore. Two of those arrived on the East Coast before the official start of the season.

Along with an upgraded hurricane supply kit, AAA advised people ensure they have an emergency plan and that they have communicated it to family members. According to a 2015 FEMA study, 60 percent of Americans do not practice what to do in the event of a natural disaster.

AAA offered these tips on preparing for hurricane season:

• Make a plan — Develop a family emergency plan to include ways to contact each other, alternative meeting locations, and an out-of-town contact. Identify a safe room or safest areas in your home. Research your evacuation route. Be sure to include plans for your pets.

• Secure your home — While you may have used your time in quarantine to do work around the house, it may not have included storm preparedness projects. Inspect your home for minor repairs needed to the roof, windows, downspouts, etc. Trim trees or bushes that could cause damage to your home in the event of high winds.

• Take inventory — Update your home inventory by walking through your home with a video camera or smart phone. Keep a record of large purchases, including the cost of the item, date purchased, and model and serial numbers if available.

• Check your vehicle — Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas, properly inflated tires and wiper blades that are in good condition. Have your vehicle inspected by a certified mechanic to determine if the brakes, fluid levels, air conditioning and belts are in good working condition, especially if your vehicle was idle for long periods of time during quarantine.

• Protect your property — Review your homeowner’s insurance coverage with your agent to determine if you have adequate protection. Discuss your deductibles. Be aware that flood insurance is not typically covered under your homeowner’s policy. Flooding to your vehicle, however, is available under physical damage coverage.

Flood insurance takes 30 days to become effective — don’t wait until the last minute!

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