As we enter August and summer turns into fall, the absolute height of hurricane season becomes an issue. Historical data has shown that the conditions for hurricane development always reach a peak around August and September.

Living in the Valley, hurricane preparedness is something that comes natural for many residents. Have you covered all of your bases? Before the storm hits, there are plenty of things you can do to curb damage and keep your family safe. Preparing means not panicking.

Plan Ahead

Fortunately, hurricane paths can be tracked relatively well, giving plenty of time to plan before landfall. First and foremost, determine the risks to your home. Do you live in a flood zone? Do objects need to be moved?

The biggest property damage risks are flooding and strong winds. Secure your property and bring in objects that could be carried by wind. Install storm shutters or use plywood to board up windows, and trim trees to make them more wind resistant.

Make sure your family has a proper emergency kit. This includes enough food, water and supplies to last at least 72 hours. You will also need flashlights, batteries, lanterns and a radio. Keep in mind that services like electricity, gas and water will most likely be interrupted during a storm, so focus on having items that are non-perishable and have an internal power source.

Keep in Touch

Have a family communication plan to keep in touch in case of emergencies. There’s no guarantee that you will be together when disaster strikes, so form a plan to get in touch quickly. Keep contact information handy, especially for children. Make sure everyone knows your family’s emergency contact info and let them know you’re safe.

Use text messages if calls can’t go through (messages can usually get around network disruptions) and subscribe to alert services that send the latest weather reports, road closings and local emergencies right to your phone.

Know When to Leave

Sometimes the best course of action is to simply evacuate the area. Familiarize yourself with local evacuation routes and always be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. Be sure to trust your gut when making the decision to leave as sooner is always better than later, meaning you don’t get caught in major traffic.

Planning can make the difference when it comes to the welfare of your family and property during a hurricane. In any emergency, avoiding panic is the best course of action. With some work, you can know exactly what to do and focus on safety rather than panic.