Back-to-School News Distributed 07/11/08
The start of school is not the end of the hurricane season. Another three months remain for the season to end on November 30.
“You might be caught up in school preparations, but it’s still important to be prepared for a storm with a plan,” advises LSU AgCenter family economist Dr. Gloria Nye. “A plan will help you cope during a storm and help you recover more easily after a storm.”
She recommends making sure you are adequately insured as a homeowner.
“Review your homeowners insurance to be sure your coverage limits match any increases in property values,” she says, adding, “Insurance coverage is available for the contents of your home and for the cost of living elsewhere while you make repairs if your home is damaged.”
Also, Nye says to be aware that flood insurance does not take effect until 30 days after you purchase it. Don’t forget insurance for personal property also is available for renters, and have an up-to-date inventory of your property (with video or pictures) to make it easier to make damage claims.
You’ll need some supplies to survive in an emergency. Budget for added expenses, identify and gather what you’ll need and keep it all in a central location. If you have important papers and documents, photo albums and other irreplaceable items stored in low cabinets or on the floor in closets, “Move them higher now,” Nye says.
When choosing a place for flood-safe storage, Nye advises not putting things in or on wood furniture, cabinets or counters. This furniture often floats and overturns in a flood. And particleboard may dissolve.
Prepare a “grab and go” box (preferably waterproof) for your family’s important documents. Place papers in sealed waterproof plastic bags inside a durable sealed box, in a secure and easily accessible location.
This box should contain things like emergency phone numbers, copies of prescriptions, immunization records, health insurance cards or numbers, copies of insurance policies, deeds, wills, keys, checks and account or identification numbers for the bank, credit cards, driver’s licenses, investments, Social Security and loan or debt obligations.
“Be sure you have an I.D. with you showing your address because re-entry to a disaster area is often restricted to residents,” Nye said.
Depending on where you go in an evacuation, you may or may not be able to take your family’s pet. Find out if your emergency shelter allows pets. If you have to leave your pet at home, how will it be protected from flood water and how will it be fed? Take a picture of you and your pet together for future identification. Keep the picture with your other important papers.
“When deciding whether to evacuate your family or ride it out, remember this: No piece of property is worth risking your family’s life. Plan to evacuate early,” Nye said.
The LSU AgCenter’s free, online publication, “A South Louisiana Guide to Living With Hurricanes,” can help you understand the risk, prepare your property to minimize damage, know when to evacuate and plan for where to go and what to take with you. Look for it from the LSU AgCenter home page, www.lsuagcenter.com. Also from that site, find the “Grab and Go Box” publication by Dr. Jeanette Tucker.