Hurricane Season Preparedness Checklists

Stay organized and ready for whatever may come your way with TGS Insurance’s comprehensive hurricane checklists.

Summer often brings a variety of fun activities, especially for coastal cities; however, for Americans living on the coasts, particularly the East Coast and the Gulf Coast regions, summer also means we must prepare for storms. From minor tropical storms to major category 5 hurricanes, all storms bearing aggressive wind patterns and flood events should be taken seriously, and preparing ahead of time will help you minimize damages and survive should a storm strike your home.

There are also less traditional things you can do to stay prepared for flooding and windstorms, for more information click here. Feel free to download one of our many available PDFs that take a closer look at things to consider when preparing for a storm and keep you organized throughout and if you require flood insurance, don’t wait before it’s too late. Most policies require a 30-day waiting period, so enrolling early can help you gain better protection before it’s too late. To learn more, be sure to contact one of our agents today:

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Checklist for Evacuating:

Deciding to leave one’s home with an impending storm looming is never an easy one, but risking you or your loved ones’ lives is never a good idea. Pay attention to local and national sources and when it is time to evacuate, be sure to act early, have a plan to follow, and execute it to ensure everyone’s safety. Check out these helpful checklists to keep you organized in case of a tropical emergency.

*In addition to hurricane survival items, please remember to include things to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic such as:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Sanitizer
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • A face covering or mask
  • Protective gloves
  • A thermometer

Vehicle Checklist:

  • Make sure your tank is full of gas ahead of time
  • Remember to have cash on hand as some places may not accept credit or debit
  • Your license and/or I.D
  • Check your critical levels needed for your vehicle to operate:
    • Oil level
    • Tire pressure, including your spare
    • Coolant level
    • Power steering fluid level
    • Wiper fluid level
  • Assess your roadside assistance bag to ensure it has the following items:
  • Pliers
  • Electrical tape
  • Wrenches
  • Screwdrivers
  • Safety ties
  • Allen wrenches
  • A pocket knife or Swiss army knife
  • Lug nut wrench
  • A car jack
  • Roadside flares or reflective equipment
  • A reflective vest
  • A flashlight with working batteries
  • A handheld radio with working batteries
  • A first aid kit
  • Water
  • An extra quart of oil
  • Road maps (in the event you cannot access your smartphone)
  • Phone chargers that work in your car and outside of it
  • A camera
  • Food (non-perishable)
  • Healthcare products including:
    • Medication
    • Dentalcare (toothbrush, toothpaste, retainers, etc.)
    • Eyewear
  • Bedding
  • Umbrellas
  • Clothing for the rain
  • An extra pair of clothes
  • Pet food
  • Pet medication
  • Leashes and carriers
  • Toiletries
  • Disposable garbage bags
  • Sanitizer, soap, PPE, and hygiene products
  • Protect and store important documents including:
    • Legal documents such as wills and titles
    • Prescriptions
    • Medical records
    • Financial information and documentation
    • Additional IDs that may be of use
    • Digital backup storage devices
    • Any documentation of ownership
    • Receipts and tax information
    • Bills, backup keys, and mortgage information
  • Secure any weaponry from potential damage or looting

Be sure to follow any guidelines and stay informed to your local media outlets to any adjustments in your state’s evacuation plans and updates regarding the storm. Always stay aware of your surroundings and map out your evacuation plan before leaving your home. Remember to avoid flooded areas and to turn around if an area appears to be unsafe.

Home Checklist:

  • Board up your home’s windows in a secure manner.
  • Secure anything that may become loose during a storm and cause damage (grills, playsets, trampolines, etc.)
  • Freeze a cup of water and place a penny on top to tell if your freezer has defrosted while you were evacuated.
  • Move important and expensive things that will remain behind above the ground level.
  • Document as much of your home and possessions as possible in its current state before leaving.
  • Clear pathways for water to exit such as ditches and gutters.
  • Test and replace any faulty batteries in carbon monoxide, smoke detectors, and security systems.
  • Remove valuables from rooms with excessive windows, that are at risk of flooding, or becoming a victim to a falling tree.

Ensuring your home is secure before you go is a critical part of any evacuation plan. Without taking the proper steps to secure your home, you risk causing further damage to you or your neighbors and slowing the progress needed to reenter your home when you return. As always, defer to local and national trusted experts and remember to follow their guidelines when it comes to sheltering in place or evacuating during a hurricane or tropical storm event.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Checklist for Staying in Your Home:

Sheltering in place can be an option for many Americans when it is not advised against by local or national weather experts; however, residents will still need to take into consideration what they need to prepare for should a storm approach. Even if a flood never enters your home, you could be stuck within your neighborhood due to street flooding, without power due to unusable power infrastructure, and dealing with excessive damage. Use our checklist to help keep you prepared before a storm approaches your home.

*In addition to hurricane survival items, please remember to include things to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic such as:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Sanitizer
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • A face covering or mask
  • Protective gloves
  • A thermometer

Vehicle Checklist:

  • Make sure your tank is full of gas ahead of time.
  • Check your critical levels needed for your vehicle to operate:
    • Oil level
    • Tire pressure, including your spare
    • Coolant level
    • Power steering fluid level
    • Wiper fluid level
  • Assess your roadside assistance bag to ensure it has the following items:
  • Pliers
  • Electrical tape
  • Wrenches
  • Screwdrivers
  • Safety ties
  • Allen wrenches
  • A pocket knife or Swiss army knife
  • Lug nut wrench
  • A car jack
  • Roadside flares or reflective equipment
  • A reflective vest
  • A flashlight with working batteries
  • A handheld radio with working batteries
  • A first aid kit
  • Water
  • An extra quart of oil
  • Road maps (in the event you cannot access your smartphone)
  • Phone chargers that work in your car and outside of it
  • A camera
  • Umbrellas
  • Clothing for the rain
  • An extra pair of clothes
  • Disposable garbage bags
  • Sanitizer, soap, and PPE

Home Checklist:

  • Board up your home’s windows in a secure manner.
  • Secure anything that may become loose during a storm and cause damage (grills, playsets, trampolines, etc.)
  • Freeze a cup of water and place a penny on top to tell if your freezer has defrosted while you were evacuated.
  • Move important and expensive things that will remain behind above the ground level.
  • Document as much of your home and possessions as possible in its current state before leaving.
  • Clear pathways for water to exit such as ditches and gutters.
  • Test and replace any faulty batteries in carbon monoxide, smoke detectors, and security systems.
  • Remove valuables from rooms with excessive windows, that are at risk of flooding, or becoming a victim to a falling tree.
  • Place sensitive documents in something waterproof and portable.
  • Cell phone chargers that work both through an electrical socket and secondary device.
  • A portable cell phone charger.
  • Note an emergency route through and out of your home should an evacuation become necessary.
  • Purchase a generator and ensure it is in working condition including:
    • Usable oil
    • A full tank of fuel
    • Additional fuel
    • A safe, well-ventilated, outdoor area protected from the storm
      • Water (at least a week’s supply)
      • Non-perishable food
  • Fully stocked freezers should you have alternative cooking methods
  • A propane or charcoal grill
  • Gas stove
  • Propane for cooking and boiling water
  • Lighter fluid
  • Healthcare products including:
    • Medication
    • Dentalcare (toothbrush, toothpaste, retainers, etc.)
    • Eyewear
  • Bedding
  • Umbrellas
  • Clothing for the rain
  • An extra pair of clothes
  • Pet food
  • Pet medication
  • Leashes and carriers
  • Toiletries
  • Disposable garbage bags
  • Sanitizer, soap, PPE, and hygiene products
  • Sanitation wipes, cleaning supplies, and bleach
  • Matches and lighters
  • A reflective vest
  • A flashlight with working batteries
  • A handheld radio with working batteries
  • A first aid kit
  • Ropes, zip ties, and electrical tape
  • Lifejackets
  • Wrenches
  • A small knife of Swiss army knife
  • A hammer
  • A crowbar
  • Screwdrivers
  • Duct tape
  • A tape measure
  • Emergency handheld flares
  • An ax in your attic should you become trapped from flooding
  • If you are able, keep dry ice or large blocks of ice to help save perishable foods should your home lose electricity.

Plans to Consider When Preparing for a Hurricane:

If you live on the coast long enough, you’re going to experience some sort of weather event of the tropical storm or hurricane variety. You may know that you need to seek shelter, have a stockpile of water and non-perishables, etc., etc., but are you prepared when it is time to call an audible?

Take a look at some of the considerations you and your family should plan for when you are preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm:

  • Ensure that your evacuation route is clear from your home to the evacuation point.
  • Discuss and develop alternative routes to help your party reach its evacuation point safely should your original plan become disrupted.
  • Develop a rationing system to last at least 1 to 2 weeks as services may take an extended period of time to return depending on the damage.
  • Have an additional ration plan for anything involving energy including fuel sources and the batteries used by your communication devices.
  • If water begins to fill your home, know where to evacuate to and have a plan and supplies to maintain there for the duration of the storm.
  • Have a method to safely secure and/or move potentially hazardous items such as fuel, electrical components, trees, compromised structures, generators, and more during and after a storm.
  • Coordinate with neighbors for updating and communicating valuable information during the storm. Devise a plan to fill and deploy sandbags, clear drainage ditches, and remove debris if it is safe to do so under your present weather conditions.
  • Plan space to put valuable and important items away from rooms with large amounts of windows and higher than the ground level in the event of flooding.
  • Create a plan should you become separated from your family and have clear steps to follow within local guidelines to contact and reunite with your family.
  • Prepare an evacuation strategy for anyone within your home with mobility issues or special needs.
  • Know how to evacuate your pets and keep them safe throughout the event.
  • Have a communications plan to protect yourself and your family from dangerous situations including perilous conditions, becoming trapped, and home invasion.
  • In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, develop a plan for social distancing when evacuating or sheltering, how to evacuate someone who is infected, securing the proper cleaning supplies and PPE, and pay attention to local and global guidelines as they become available.

As always, defer to local and national experts when making decisions to evacuate or shelter-in-place. Remember to follow local ordinances and to stay up to date with changing news from trusted sources.

Check out our downloadable PDF of all of the checklists here.

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