A colleague once shared with me that she felt ill-prepared for an approaching hurricane, and sought some advice. Offering such advice can be problematic, as I never know quite where to start. For example, I sure don’t want to be that guy who reminds others to have the obvious items —- bottled water, batteries, flashlights, etc. Everyone knows this, right?! Well, as it turned out my friend was not even sure she had any flashlights in her house. I told her she might want to get one or two, and reminded her most require batteries.
This column provides less obvious but important risk management lessons I have learned from hardened hurricane survivors in FL who have shared the valuable lessons they learned having endured numerous hurricanes. For example:
- Wind will enter a home through the most vulnerable area, and that area is often the large exterior door of an attached garage. Once winds enter a garage, they cause an “uplift” on the ceiling, creating pressure that removes the roof of the garage that often enable winds to enter the interior of the home.
- Since it is hard to know whether the door is inherently strong enough to resist hurricane force winds, steps should be taken to fortify it.
- Consider parking the cars inside the garage so that the rear bumper abuts the garage door. Many in FL fortify their garage door with ply wood, 2 x 4 reinforcements, etc. to prevent the door from collapsing and wind from entering.
- If you do not already own one, it may be a bit late to buy a generator locally. Meanwhile, it may not be too late: all who use Amazon should be aware that the best way to assure fastest delivery is to select Amazon as the seller, and not one of the other resellers who market on their site. Many generators can be purchased from Amazon with a one day delivery option.
- For those with generators, it’s a good idea to test it to ensure it is operational, and to make sure there is ample fuel.
- A comedian once observed that the danger in hurricanes is not THAT the wind is blowing, rather the danger arises from WHAT the wind is blowing. Please be sure to bring inside all that is outside that can be hurled through your windows!Do not forget easily overlooked items like gas grills, portable propane tanks, and picnic tables.
- Expect power surges before an outage, and unplug vulnerable electronic equipment.
- For a much more complete list of suggestions, your tax dollars are hard at work providing this information: https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1409003345844-0e142725ea3984938c8c6748dd1598cb/How_To_Prepare_Guide_Hurricane.pdf
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Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone is asking residents to take an online survey to help local and county officials re-examine their plans for dealing with natural disasters. The intent is to work with other nearby communities and Suffolk County to develop strategies to reduce losses caused by natural disasters.
I’ve taken the 21-question survey, and was generally impressed by how well it was constructed. The survey is designed to gauge how well informed county residents are about the natural hazards we face living on Eastern Long Island. It also asks for input on perceived areas of vulnerability. Petrone says survey results will help officials better determine what measures to take. Even reviewing the questions asked can be eye-opening.
To take the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/V3RLXZ5
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As an insurance advisor who strives to help consumers make well informed decisions to intelligently manage their many risks, properly framing such risks is a real challenge. I avoid the tone of scare-monger, while also reminding others that just because a risk has not personally impacted them does not mean it might not in the future. While the axiom “stuff happens” is proven correct daily, bad stuff usually happens to others. Usually.
Buying insurance to indemnify us from a possible future loss is just one strategy to consider in managing the risks we face. Employing other risk management strategies to minimize our vulnerabilities to certain risks is another approach worth considering. Meanwhile, there is one common de-facto “strategy” that consumers should NOT embrace. In alarming numbers, many consumers kid themselves that a wide range of risks simply will not occur, and have no real plan in place for a wide range of unlikely yet still possible disasters. After every natural disaster, we see the plight of the large numbers who have embraced this “can’t happen to me” belief. Choosing to NOT be prepared can be a terrible decision.
For any you know who could benefit from a dose of reality to better understand the risks of living near the coast – specifically Eastern Long Island – I highly recommend this eye opening article by noted journalist T. J. Clemente: http://easthampton.patch.com/groups/tj-clementes-blog/p/will-town-save-montauk-from-the-next-hurricane?a_dgi=aolshare_email
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The Atlantic hurricane season’s peak months — August through October – have begun. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate forecasters say the season is “shaping up to be above normal with the possibility that it could be very active”. I know, you’ve read this before. What still surprises me: that so many homeowners in our area wait until a hurricane is a day or two away before they take any real action.
Why not get prepared now, just in case? If you do not have flood insurance, buy some. If you do not have a generator, get one. If you are not aware how your insurance will respond to a hurricane, find out. No emergency supplies? Get them now. No plans to protect window openings? Call me for ideas and solutions. Do you have trees that are vulnerable to damage? I can direct you to an arborist to assist. Need to arrange for someone to check on your property after a storm? I can even assist with this. The key is to take action NOW, before the next hurricane arrives. Let me know if you or someone you know needd assistance developing a hurricane preparedness plan.
For a complete report on the peak hurricane season, check this eye opening report in Newsweek: http://www.newsday.com/long-island/hurricane-season-still-tracking-as-very-active-1.5856598?firstfree=yes
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Posted in Property Risks and Solutions, tagged home insurance, hurricane long island, hurricane preparation, hurricane season, hurricanes, hurricanes advisor, insurance information institute, natural disasters, nature, personal risk management, prevention, weather on May 23, 2008|
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This year marks the 70th anniversary of the unnamed hurricane that devastated Eastern Long Island and much of New England. While the NY Metropolitan area has been impacted by hurricanes since, it has also been awhile. Given this reprieve, there is a real complacency among homeowners to become better prepared. Ask yourself: if a hurricane was a day away, would you make any changes to prepare for it? A suggestion: if you answered yes, take the time and do so now. This video from the Insurance Information Institute offers some basic but overlooked tips to prepare homes to better sustain the winds and rain that will arrive — one day.
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