Cyclones can leave behind a trail of destruction, shattering lives and causing damage to property. However, early preparations can help you mitigate the costly impact of the storm. And the best time to start preparing is before the cyclone strikes.
Be smart and don’t wait until a cyclone watch is in place to start talking precautions because that may be too late. Minimise property damage and sail through a cyclone emergency stress free by preparing prior to the season.
Here’s How To Plan Or Prepare
1. Plan Your Evacuation Route Well Ahead Of Time
If you reside along the coast or in a mobile home, you might be forced to evacuate in case of an impending severe storm.
While the local government will provide instructions, it’s worthwhile to have your evacuation plan handy before a catastrophe strikes. With this, you will know beforetime the shelters available nearby. Be sure to include your pets in your evacuation plan, and carry important documents along. Try making a trial run to ensure you’re familiar with the plan and routes.
2. Keep Non-perishable Emergency Supplies On Hand
When a cyclone warning is in place, people hurry to the stores to buy necessities. As much as you can, run ahead of the rest and get the following:
- A flashlight
- Candles or lamps plus fuel
- Matches (ensure they are dry)
- Extra batteries
- Prescription drugs
- First aid kit fully equipped
- Materials or tools for emergency home repairs like plywood, hammer, heavy plastic sheeting etc.
- A supply of clean drinking water to last for at least three days
- Food that doesn’t require cooking or refrigeration
- A portable NOAA weather radio
- Basic tools including a wrench
When evacuating, bring along these supplies. Check expiration dates of food, batteries, drugs etc. and use them before expiry or replenish them as soon as possible.
3. Take Stock Of Your Personal Property
Having a list of your home inventory will help you to know the insurance cover needed to replace your personal belongings in case of loss or damage. It can also accelerate the claims process; validate income tax purposes besides coming in handy whenever you need to seek for disaster aid. In case you need to evacuate, include your home inventory among the other valuable documents you will bring along.
4. Review Your Insurance Your Insurance Policies
Reading through the latest cyclone season insurance checklists or talking to your insurer can help you understand your insurance policy and whether it’s enough to renovate or rebuild your home just in case the worst happens as well as replacing your valuable possessions.
Always remember that your homeowner insurance policy covers the cost of making minor repairs for cyclone caused damage and additional living expenses (ALE) considered reasonably over and above your normal living expenses in the event that you have to evacuate (this includes additional expenses for getting to work or school in case your temporary shelter is in a different location).
However, keep in mind that a homeowner policy does not include flood damage hence you may consider taking a flood insurance cover. If you reside along the coastal areas, you may have to take a separate insurance cover for protecting you against wind and or wind-blown water damage.
In case you have questions regarding what your current policy actually covers or want to increase your existing coverage, be sure to contact your insurance company.
5. Take Measures To Safeguard Your Home
Cyclone force winds are strong enough to turn outdoor materials into missiles to shatter windows and doors, and most of the property damage related to cyclones in the aftermath of the windstorm when rain water gets into structures through broken doors, windows, skylights and any other opening on the rooftop.
While retrofitting your home to safeguard against these possible events is an expensive affair, you can actually do it in phases.
- Replace gravel or rocks used as landscaping materials with shredded bark which is considered lighter and causes little harm if any
- Trim weaker branches and cut trees that might fall onto your house and ensure your shrubs are well-trimmed
- Install storm shutters to safeguard your windows against breakage.
- You can also fit plywood panels which can be affixed to window frames before a storm hits.
- Ensure exterior doors are cyclone proof and feature at least three hinges and a sturdy dead bolt lock which is at least one-inch long.
- Sliding glass doors or windows should be made of tempered glass and should be covered with shutters or plywood during a storm. These kinds of doors are more susceptible to wind damage than other doors.
- Seal all exterior wall openings including vents, garden hose bibs, outdoor electrical outlets, and any area where pipes and or cables go through the wall. Use high quality urethane-based caulk to prevent water from penetrating the inside.
- If you reside in a mobile home, ensure you understand how to protect it against strong and high winds and remember to carefully review your mobile home insurance cover.
- If your trailer has a boat, learn how to safely anchor the trailer to the house or ground and carefully review your boat insurance cover.
6. Take Measures To Safeguard Your Business
Cyclones can take a huge toll on your business and so it’s wise to prepare in advance.
- Invest in an emergency business response and continuity plan. This will help your business to quickly recover in case of costly cyclone damage.
- Update contact information for employees, customers, suppliers and vendors so as to constantly check on their wellbeing as well as pass important communication regarding resumption of normal business operations after a cyclone event.
- Check your business insurance policies to understand more clearly what it covers and doesn’t cover.
For more tips and handy checklists and evacuation planning advice for different disasters, visit our blog here.
The information contained in this article is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs, objectives or circumstances into consideration, and is not financial advice, legal advice or otherwise a recommendation to purchase any financial product or insurance policy. You should seek your own independent financial advice from a qualified financial and insurance adviser before making any financial decisions, and seek your own independent legal advice from a qualified solicitor before making any decisions of a legal nature.