At the writing of this on October 7, 2020, Hurricane Delta is emerging from Mexico's Yucatan peninsula into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and meteorologists' forecasts presently put the storm on a path into Louisiana's Acadiana region, then northeast. Regardless of its exact entry point and even its "category" at landfall and beyond, Delta has the capacity to do serious damage. If you have any questions on what to do after the storm, please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, have a plan for what you will do beforehand.
Reactions to impending natural disasters, like hurricanes, vary among individuals. Some of us take a "bury head in sand" approach. This mode assumes fortune smiles brightly on us, as sometimes happens. This represents an "I'll figure out what to do if and when it happens" approach. Not the stuff to build a life of success on. Still others may prefer to "run for the hills." I tend to think of this approach as most relevant in horrific cases of sudden tidal waves in the South Seas. However, one's life is of paramount value and, if survival depends on getting to "the hills," then do whatever you can to get out of harm's way.
Finally, there are the "preppers." That rare breed of humanity literally "ready for anything". They are that neighbor at the 4th of July picnic who has the first aid kit ready with the iodine and hydrogen peroxide that you ran out of months ago. They possess that well ordered mind and diligence that most of us (writer included) lack. They are the preparedness paradigm that impending storms reveal as All Stars. The vast majority of people are not in their league. Take heart, however, there are some sensible and not so difficult things we can all do to be more prepared. Here are 5 things to do:
1.) Plan an evacuation route -- Especially for those of us living close to beaches, coastal bays, and swamps, observe the projected storm path and the possibility of having to evacuate our homes. Keep in mind that the western side of these storms is the gentler side. You don't want to evacuate into the trajectory and fury of the storm, by all means. Take into consideration the care of your pets; they are in need of evacuation as much as you. Pull together copies of important papers, such as insurance policy papers, and put them into a "to go" box.
2.) Non-perishables -- Batteries, matches, candles or fuel lamps (and the fuel!), tools and repair materials, at least 3 days of drinking water, food not requiring refrigeration or cooking, first aid supplies, prescriptions, a portable radio, a couple of flashlights... and a deck of playing cards, of course.
3.) Home inventory -- In less than 20 minutes you can photograph the furnishings of your home using a smart phone. You might even use that portable device to write out descriptions and approximate values of the things you may have to leave behind. Don't forget the things in your storage units or sheds or garage. They too are the possessions you might need in the future. It does not have to be technological or fancy, however; your inventory can be done with pencil on paper. Just make a record and keep it with you in your important documents.
4.) Refresh your memory of your insurance papers -- Is your homeowners policy's replacement value (Coverage A) resilient enough to repair or replace your home, as needed? What is the "named storm deductible" amount or percentage? Having done that home inventory, is the "Personal Possessions" coverage (Coverage B) up to the task of replacing possessions should those be lost? Note also, there may be some items that are small but of relatively greater value that your present insurance policy could not replace. These small, valuable items may need to be on your "pack out" list. In the days just before a Hurricane landfall, there are not many options for upgrading homeowners coverage or initiating a flood insurance, unfortunately. But take measures now to know your insurance carrier, the policy limits and your carrier's policy claims phone number. After the storm passes and, God willing, you resume life with loved ones, home and possessions intact, you may want to confer with your agent about the updating of your policies.
5.) Take steps to prepare your home -- There are a few necessary but neglected tasks that will protect your home and your neighbors' homes from damage. Clear your gutters of leaves and your roof lines of tree branches. If you can safely take out dead wood from overhanging trees, do so. Hire a licensed arborist for any tree work outside your scope of comfort or safety. Put away patio furniture or secure it and any other yard items that might become airborne. Don't forget about securing your boat or your trailer, either on site or off-site. If you have storm shutters, now is the time to start closing them. Exposed windows can be vulnerable; some consideration may be given to securing plywood sheets over windows that are exposed to the counter-clockwise winds.
Finally, be not afraid. But be sensible, heed public advisories and do the small things you can do now either to ride it out safely or to leave your home as ready as you can make it. The rest is in God's hands. This too will pass, and when it does, count on Coastal Louisiana Insurance to be ready to help with your protection needs.