Are You and Your ‘Home’ Prepared for the Unknown?
Are you prepared? What would you do if…..? All of us who live on the Gulf Coast know what to do when a tropical storm or hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico. We know what the Rules of Preparedness are! We know how slow moving a storm can be, but once it enters into the Gulf of Mexico we need to be prepared. These storms can be heading in one direction but can change its path given the right winds, currents and temperatures. One minute we think we have dodged a bullet and the next minute we are scrambling to get prepared.
As we enter the height of hurricane season (usually lasting from June 1 through November 30 in the United States) these last few months can be a nerve-racking time for everyone. Hurricanes are not only a concern for those whose homes are in the path of one, but for relatives and friends who may worry about those people. Preparedness is not just essential for dealing with the physical challenges of hurricane season, but having a plan will help you and your loved ones keep their peace of mind during this stressful time.
Remember that many hurricanes are slow travelers. Once you hear about it, chances are you have several days to finalize your plans. Always have a plan just in case. Did you know that once a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico, your homeowner’s insurance policy can’t be changed?
Be sure to gather food and water, because a hurricane (and the aftermath) may last for a while. Stock up on canned foods, batteries and water in anticipation of the power going out. Make sure you have enough pet food as well. Eat perishables first in anticipation of the power going out. Make sure you have propane gas or enough charcoal for your outdoor grill to cook on in case your power is out for a lengthy time. If you take prescription drugs, make sure you have an ample supply. Have an evacuation plan and discuss this with your family. A friend always says “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” Proper planning is the key to survival in any circumstance regarding weather or other disasters.
But are you prepared for any other disasters? What about a tornado? Tornados happen very quickly and many times without much warning. They tend to cut a path of destruction over an area but are not as widespread as a hurricane. Many do not have time to evacuate. Take precautions if possible and hunker down in a closet or bathroom in the center of the house if possible. Tornadoes tend to move very quickly over an area; unlike a hurricane which can stall out and cause more damage over a longer period of time. Often times, a tornado can spin off from a hurricane. During Hurricane Ivan, our neighborhood had a small twister come through between my house and my neighbor’s house. All the trees were knocked down between our two houses and they were all lying on the ground in the same direction.
Are you prepared for a fire in your home or business? We all hope that this would never happen to us, but a lightning strike, a spark from a bonfire or fire pit, bad electrical wiring, a pot on the stove-all of these could cause a fire. Do you and your family have an exit plan in case of fire? What would you grab if you had time? Recently, one of our local Realtors lost her family home on Dauphin Island due to a fire that consumed four houses in a row in the middle of the night. Luckily, no one at her home was hurt in the fire. Her family and guests had time to grab car keys and shoes before escaping. But they were not able to save a thing from their beloved vacation home. The Cummings Company, along with all the other real estate companies in Mobile County, extends condolences to all the families who lost their homes and to the owners of the local bar-b-que business on Dauphin Island. No one is ever prepared for a loss of this or any kind. Houses and businesses can be rebuilt. Lives go on. But memories will never fade. And we are grateful for the family and friends that all of us have who help sustain us in times of disaster. Stay safe. Be prepared!