Hurricane season is coming soon: Are you prepared?
Atlantic Hurricane season officially begins on June 1 but health officials in New Jersey are urging residents to take precautions now, during National Hurricane Preparedness Week.
Remnants of 2012's Superstorm Sandy are still visible in coastal communities, but Ocean County Health Department spokesperson Leslie Terjesen pointed out even areas away from the coastline can be threatened by dangerous flooding and winds.
"This is the best time to prepare for any type of Tropical Storm or Hurricane," Terjesen said.
Several steps residents can take include determining the storm risk in the areas where they live, developing and finalizing evacuation plans, making sure they have proper insurance coverage, assembling disaster supplies and emergency kits, and identifying trusted sources of information for hurricane events.
Terjesen reminds us that Sandy taught us the importance of planning for an evacuation and making sure the entire family has a specific destination mapped out, as well as phone contact information.
"Know where your family is, know where you're going to meet, know how you're going to get in touch with each other, know where you're going, and everyone shares those phone numbers," Terjesen said.
A number of people found out after Sandy that their insurance coverage fell short of the damages they suffered. Terjesen advises taking the time this week to contact your insurance company or agent before disaster strikes.
"You want to look at your property insurance, your car insurance, your homeowners insurance, your boaters insurance, to make sure that everything is up to date," Terjesen said.
When assembling disaster supplies, Terjesen pointed out another lesson from Sandy —that having two days’ worth may not be enough. She suggested including items for children and pets, non-perishable food, water, batteries and necessary medications.
A complete list of what to include in an emergency supply kit can be found at Ready.gov.
Homes should be repaired to withstand a hurricane-strength storm.
"A lot of people thought that they could stay with Sandy and they found out that they couldn't, and then people had to risk their lives to get them out of harm’s way," Terjesen said. "Make sure you home is in good enough condition to ride out the storm."
Residents can contact their local municipalities to find out build code specifications.
A final key precaution people can take is signing up for Nixle or other emergency alert networks used by their communities. Terjesen also advised having a solar powered battery charger for your smart phone.
Hurricane season lasts until Nov. 30.