Plan ahead: Hurricane prep can minimize property damage, save lives

Plan ahead: Hurricane prep can minimize property damage, save lives

severe thunderstorm
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When a hurricane is predicted to hit land near you, it’s wise to take precautionary measures – preparing for the expected as well as the unexpected.

You may gather basic supplies like batteries, food and water, but you also should consider additional items, just in case.

“Hurricanes usually don’t sneak up on you, so you have time to take action,” said Laurie Gannon, vice president of claims for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. “Weather forecasters start talking about hurricanes sometimes as much as two weeks in advance, so it’s best to heed the warnings and not wait to prepare. Mother Nature is unpredictable.”

The key is to plan ahead.

“Any time you’re prepared for a hurricane, it can minimize property damage and save the lives of your family,” said Gannon. “The more prepared, the better.”

The Atlantic hurricane season typically runs from June through November, and the storms are most active mid-August through mid-October, so now is the time to prepare.

Farm Bureau’s Virginia Hurricane Preparedness Central guide provides tips on what to do before a storm, like assessing your risk and making a family safety plan. Located on the Farm Bureau website, the guide encourages homeowners to make an emergency bag with items like a first aid kit, flashlights and batteries, and food and water. Gannon also emphasized the need to have cash in case of a power outage, which often goes hand in hand with hurricanes.

Additionally, the guide provides information on how to best secure your home or business prior to a storm. Objects in the backyard often wreak some of the worst havoc.

“Unsecured outdoor property can become like missiles in the event of high wind gusts,” she said. “For instance, we see a lot of claims related to trampolines that have damaged cars or houses.”

One misconception people have about hurricanes is that they are strictly a coastal problem, but anyone can be affected.

“In my tenure here, a lot of damage I’ve seen has been inland,” Gannon said in a news release.

Hurricane Isabel in 2003 had been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reached Virginia, but it came in with great force right through the middle of the state. And Hurricane Hugo in 1989 did extensive damage in the southwestern part of the state, Gannon recalled.

She recommended talking with an insurance agent before a storm occurs to find out what your policy will cover and what you may need to add.

“Otherwise, do what you have to do to protect your life and your family’s life.”



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