Don’t be caught off-guard if you’re instructed to evacuate. Create a plan with your family so everyone knows what to pack, where to go and how to get your home ready for any upcoming storms.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (July 1, 2021) – The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was record-breaking, producing 30 named storms, of which 14 became hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts another “above-normal” year, with a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes, including three to five major hurricanes. Mercury Insurance (NYSE: MCY) urges residents along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico to take precautions and prepare themselves, their families and property for the duration of the 2021 Atlantic season, which ends November 30.
“It’s critical to make preparations for severe weather,” says Christopher O’Rourke, Vice President of Property Claims at Mercury Insurance. “Don’t be caught off-guard if you’re instructed to evacuate. Create a plan with your family so everyone knows what to pack, where to go and how to get your home ready for any upcoming storms.”
Four named storms – Tropical Storms Ana, Bill, Claudette and Danny – already formed in June, the first month of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center will be monitoring a strong tropical wave, which may develop into Tropical Storm Elsa over the holiday weekend.
O’Rourke advises homeowners to take the following steps to prepare their homes for a hurricane:
- Regularly maintain your property. Make sure trees and shrubs on your property are well-trimmed to make them more wind-resistant. Clear gutters and downspouts of debris so they don’t get clogged and direct water into your home.
- Reinforce your home. Close shutters or use plywood to board up windows and doors. Secure outdoor furniture, potted plants and other items that could become projectiles during the storm.
- Acquire a generator. Power outages are common during a hurricane so, if you’re unable to evacuate, this might come in handy. Be sure to consult the owner’s manual and safety instructions.
- Be aware of flood zones in your area. Hurricanes can cause high winds, flying debris and flash flooding. Get out of town and go to higher ground. If your home is located in a flood zone and you can’t leave before the storm, remain indoors and get to the highest level possible.
- Know the location of your main power switch. If flooding is expected, emergency officials may instruct you to turn off your electricity, which will need to be turned off at the circuit breaker.
O’Rourke also advises residents of high-risk areas to take the following precautions ahead of mandatory evacuation orders:
- Pack a go-bag. There are several essential items to have at the ready in case of an emergency, especially if you need to leave your home quickly. A primary go-bag – or emergency kit – should be stored in an easily accessible place within your house or garage. Smaller kits can be kept in your car or at work. Take stock of your go-bag yearly to make sure your items are up-to-date, including:
- A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person), non-perishable food items and pet food, if applicable;
- A battery-powered or hand-crank radio (and extra batteries);
- A phone charger;
- A flashlight;
- A first aid kit;
- A whistle to signal for help;
- A can opener;
- Gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes;
- Pliers or a wrench to turn off utilities;
- At least $200 in cash in small bills, as power may be out, making ATMs, debit and credit cards unusable; and
- Prescriptions for you, your family and your pets.
- Create an emergency plan. Know where family members will meet if instructed to evacuate, as well as several options to get out of the city in case routes are blocked. Establish a meeting point ahead of time. Staying with friends or family who live outside of the local area is a good option, but you should also research hotels and shelters.
- Store important documents in a safe place. This includes copies of insurance policies, birth certificates, medical records and prescriptions, social security cards, important financial documents, passports and other identification, which should be stored in a waterproof container. Upload scanned copies of these documents to a cloud-based digital storage site so they’re easily accessible from your smartphone or computer if needed.
“Consider purchasing flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program if you live in a high-risk area as homeowners insurance doesn’t typically cover weather-related flooding,” adds O’Rourke. “Vehicle damage may be covered by your auto insurance policy if you carry comprehensive coverage, but it’s best to check with your agent ahead of time to make sure.”
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About Mercury Insurance
Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile, homeowners and commercial insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Since 1962, Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices. For more information visit www.mercuryinsurance.com or Facebook and follow the company on Twitter.