While this year’s Atlantic hurricane season may be winding down (the official end date is Nov. 30, 2014), it’s never too late to prepare for natural disasters. The unpredictable nature of these types of weather emergencies means that having a plan in place is important to help lessen the effects.
Know the Difference
The first step in preparation is knowing the difference between a hurricane watch, warning and the different developmental stages of the storm.
- A hurricane watch indicates the possibility of hurricane conditions within 36 hours.
- A hurricane warning indicates hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours.
- An oceanic tropical disturbance over time can progress from a tropical depression (first stage) to a tropical storm (second stage) to its most intense stage as a hurricane (third stage) by attaining a specified sustained wind speed of 74-95 mph.
- Wind speed increases account for the different hurricane categories (one through five).
Know the Risk
While most people living on a sea coast realize that hurricane wind strength and other factors are major threats, they don’t consider the risk of storm surges, despite the fact that more than half of all hurricane-related deaths are caused by storm surges, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Knowing the risk beforehand may help save your life.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Keep an emergency kit on hand, complete with first aid supplies, blanket, flashlight and radio (battery-powered or hand crank in the event of power loss), extra batteries, a three-day supply of non-perishable food and one gallon of water per person per day, enough to last for at least three days.
Have an Evacuation Plan
While it’s best to stay indoors during inclement weather, you may be directed by authorities to evacuate the area. An evacuation plan includes knowing where you’re going to go, and what you’re going to take with you. If you have pets or the elderly in your family, take a little extra time now to determine what you’re going to do with them during an evacuation. Follow designated evacuation routes, and expect heavy traffic.
Crawford helps manage the effects of hurricanes through its Catastrophe Services (CAT), the insurance industry’s leading independent adjusting resource for claims management in response to natural and man-made disasters, and also through its Global Technical Services business (GTS®), which focuses on large, complex losses. Learn more here.