Be prepared for potential hurricanes

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As the region continues to recover from Hurricane Harvey and recent floods, early and thorough hurricane preparation is more important than ever. 

Hurricane season began June 1 and good preparation is critical. Here is a list with vital information to help you be ready for this hurricane season:

1. Know the difference between hurricane and tropical storm “watches” and “warnings.” A hurricane or storm watch is a notification for residents to be on alert of a potential storm. Areas that are reported to have a hurricane or storm warning are required to take immediate actions to safeguard life.

2. Keep emergency contact information handy. Phone numbers for local emergency management officers, local law enforcement, hospitals, utility service providers and insurance information are recommended to be kept nearby during storms.

3. Pack emergency kits ahead of time. Packing essential items such as bottled water, snacks and canned foods are useful and at times, life-saving after storms frequently cause homes to lose gas and electricity. Items such as batteries for hand radios and flashlights are also helpful and difficult to find following hurricanes and floods. 

4. Prepare an emergency evacuation plan. Create a plan regarding where you can stay and temporary housing locations for your animals prior to a storm warning. In the event of an evacuation, follow FEMA’s evacuation guidelines.

5. Review your insurance policies to make sure you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property. That includes flood insurance, which is offered by the National Flood Insurance Program. 

6. Stay alert in case of other natural disasters. The passing of the hurricane eye is not the end of a storm. NOAA warns that tornadoes, high winds and the possibility of a hurricane changing its course makes it important to remain alert following a storm.

7. Maintain your property by clearing debris from gutters, downspouts, drainage ditches and storm drains. Secure loose items like outdoor furniture and shingles.

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