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SOURCE National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
INDIANAPOLIS, May 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Even though federal forecasters are expecting a slower-than-usual hurricane season that begins on June 1, the country's largest property/casualty insurance trade association says residents of coastal regions should nonetheless be prepared.
"Many times warnings go out and homeowners work intensely to board up their homes, pack, and move to a safe location only for the storm to change course," says Charles M. Chamness, president and CEO of NAMIC. "But it is better to be safe than sorry. While most hurricane seasons may be uneventful, there is no way to accurately predict the course or strength of a storm until it is too late. 'It won't happen to me' is often a thought that ends in tragedy."
NAMIC has outlined safety tips for citizens who could be in the path of a storm. Before the storm hits, NAMIC recommends individuals:
- Have an evacuation plan; make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas before the storm arrives.
- Check your homeowners' and auto insurance policies; be sure to check with your insurance agent about what is and isn't covered in your policy. Remember, insurance companies do not cover water damage. This coverage is provided through the National Flood Insurance Program; talk with your agent about coverage.
- Prepare a first aid kit.
- Prepare your home for high winds; remove patio furniture and other items that could become airborne and cover windows with storm shutters or plywood.
- Compile an inventory of home belongings; taking video or detailed still photographs of each room showing all possessions is a good idea.
- Listen to local news or The Weather Channel and heed the advice; do not try to wait out the storm.
Once the warning to evacuate is issued:
- Listen to the radio or TV for information.
- Secure your home.
- Turn off utilities if instructed to do so.
- Shut off propane tanks.
- Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
- Moor your boat, if time permits.
- Be sure you have a supply of water for cleaning and flushing toilets; fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
Have the following ready to go:
- Cell phones and chargers; a car charger will be useful during an extended power outage;
- Computer (hard drive, laptop, tablet);
- Important papers such as insurance policies, birth certificates, social security cards, driver's licenses, deeds, stocks, bonds, etc.
If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one:
- Stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors.
- Close all interior doors and secure/brace external doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed.
- Go to a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
- Lie under a table or another sturdy object.
After the storm:
- Wait for an "all clear" from the police or local emergency management before re-entering your home or leaving the reinforced room.
- Boil tap water before drinking or cooking, or use bottled water.
- Keep circuit breakers turned off until the power is back on, then check for frayed wires or burning smells; turn off the electricity if you detect these or other problems.
- Stay away from power lines.
- Be alert for gas leaks. If you suspect there is a leak, leave the house immediately and notify the gas company at once from a safe location.
- Check your house for any wildlife that may have entered with the floodwater.
- Any medicines and/or food (even canned goods) touched by floodwater must be thrown out.
- Let your car dry out before trying to start it.
- Document any damaged property or possessions. Do not throw away any items without first getting approval from your insurance claims adjuster.
Public Affairs Director, State & Policy Affairs
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