There's a lot to take into account ahead of a hurricane. To make life a little easier and less stressful for you, we've compiled a list of what you need to do before, during and after a hurricane.
BEFORE THE STORM:
Know your flood insurance policy.
Although it's not required to know everything regarding your insurance policy prior to the storm, it wouldn't hurt to ask essential questions in case your home gets damaged during the storm.
Asking yourself whether you have flood insurance, knowing your storm deductible, finding out if there's any incentives for strengthening your home would be helpful to know in advance.
Get your home prepared.
A great time to get your home prepared before a storm is when you're making other improvements or additions to it. Protecting areas where storm winds can enter is one of the biggest precautions to take before a hurricane strikes your area. These critical areas include your home's roof, straps, shutters, doors and garage doors.
Make an emergency plan.
Create an emergency plan for your family in case you might have to evacuate from your home. If you know that there's a chance of separation at some point during the storm, devise an emergency communication plan. Figure out how and who to contact one another in case of separation.
Planning your emergency route, making advance arrangements for pets and locating nearby shelters and knowing your evacuation zones and routes are other things to consider for your family's emergency plan.
INTERACTIVE: Track the storm with our Hurricane Tracker
Signing up for alerts from local and state emergency management agencies would be beneficial. Some of these agencies include emergency.louisiana.gov and the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
The governor's office has an app that helps you create a game plan based.
In addition, Ready.gov provides hurricane preparedness resources on their website.
To make sure you're prepared for a hurricane, read through our hurricane preparedness checklist.
DURING THE STORM:
If you decided to stay home, here are some suggestions on how to be safe during the storm.
Stay inside, and away from windows.
Make sure your windows are protected and your home is secured. This could include putting up hurricane shutters.
Find a safe area in the home such as a closet or bathroom on the first floor of your house.
If the eye of the hurricane passes through your area, there will be a brief calm period followed by rapid wind speed shift, according to hurricanescience.org.
Turn off electricity if flooding threatens your home.
In addition, turn off major appliances such as the air conditioner and water heater to reduce damage if you lose power.
INTERACTIVE: Most destructive hurricanes in US history
AFTER THE STORM:
Despite all of your precautions, the forces of nature may still damage your home and other property. Here's are a few suggestions on what to do after the storm:
Wait until it's safe before traveling.
Determine whether it's safe for you to travel by checking in with local emergency management departments. You can call their offices or check in for weather updates on the ALERT FM app.
Check your utilities.
Especially your gas line. If you hear a hissing sound or smell gas, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside valve and call your gas company.
Report any damage ASAP.