In the day and age of real-time breaking news stories, it can be difficult to gauge the appropriate response to a storm that has morphed from a tropical storm, to a hurricane, to a perfect storm, to "Frankenstorm" and into "Stormageddon". The labels have grown creative, but should not distract us from the importance of disaster preparedness for this, or any natural disaster in New Hampshire.
According to WMUR on how Hurricane Sandy will impact NH, it is still yet to be determined the exact path of the hurricane. Regardless, in New Hampshire we are in for rain and wind. As we have a few days warning, take the time to lessen the possible damage and stress by having a plan and putting together an emergency kit for both your home and business. This information was partially pulled from the FEMA web site.
Emergency Kit for NH Homeowners
- Water- one gallon of water per person/per day for at least three days (for both drinking and sanitation)
- Food - a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a manual can opener
- Radio - battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- Batteries for radios and flashlights
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Local maps
- Cell phones with chargers, inverter or solar charger
We would also suggest that you test the snow blower and generator to ensure in working order and ready to go. You should also ensure you have fuel for such equipment (stored properly and in a safe place), as well as ice scrapers, shovels and salt available. They are not predicting snow for this storm, but remember last year?
Given the possible winds associated with a hurricane, it is also suggested that you do the following:
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Have your insurance company information available including company name, policy number and 24-hour claim number written down
- Write down the contact information for a restoration company in case needed
- Ensure sufficient fuel in your car or truck
- Ensure you have sufficient cash
Disaster Preparedness for NH Businesses
This information is not as clear cut given the diversity of businesses out there, but given the possibility of power failure, we would recommend that you take your business back to a day before computers. Have a notebook that includes all critical information including:
- employee contact information
- key client information
- landlord information if appropriate
- insurance company, policy numbers and 24-hour claim phone numbers
- contact information for a restoration company in case needed
- system support contact information
Insurance Basics for Hurricane Sandy
Because of the sheer number of policies and insurance companies available, we are in no way interrupting coverage for everyone in every situation. However, we can provide you the following tips and info based on our experience at Holt Proctor McBriarty Insurance Agency.
- Flood is not covered unless you have a flood policy.
- Companies will stop writing/adding coverage to policies up to a few days prior to big storm. If you are considering adding coverage to your policy, do it sooner rather than later as you may not get the coverage you want when you want it if you wait.
- Inform the insurance company of a loss "as soon as practical."
- Protect your property to avoid further damage.
- Take photos of damage if possible.
Maybe Hurricane Sandy will be labeled the Perfect Hype, but maybe not. In the very least you can use this opportunity to ready your home and business for the next big storm.... or hype. Stay safe.