12 Tips for Seniors Preparing for a Hurricane: Play it Safe

July 31, 2019

First, Hurricane Harvey landed in Houston, causing billions of dollars in destruction. Then, Hurricane Irma battered Florida, stranding many Senior Citizens in waist-deep water. Thank God they were rescued, but, with two more months of hurricane season remaining, events like the ones we’ve seen in recent weeks are likely to repeat themselves. That’s why Belmont Capital Advisors has created a list of 12 tips seniors can use to help prepare for an upcoming hurricane.

Let’s dive in.

#1 Take the Storm Seriously

We’ve seen so many people suffer devastating losses because they chose not to take the threat of a storm seriously. Living in a hurricane-prone area, this can sometimes be easy to do. There are, after all, a lot of misses. But, you cannot ignore the potential risk, especially when it comes to home preparedness. In addition to reviewing your overall home safety, it’s imperative to consider using hurricane reinforcements, especially if you reside in an older home.

#2 Make Sure You Are Insured

Be certain to call your insurance provider and confirm your coverage is up to date. You’ll also need to make sure you have sufficient coverage – ask specific questions about what is or is not covered by your plan, as well as what your deductible might be. Don’t forget to store important documents safely, so you can easily file claims in the event of an incident.

#3 Review Ready.Gov Website

Review the Ready.Gov website. This site provides excellent information geared specifically to Seniors and the natural disasters that may affect the area in which they live.

#4 Make an Emergency Plan

It’s critical you make an emergency plan. To do this, you can use Read.Gov’s Family Emergency Plan template. This helps provide an excellent starting point for creating and organizing an emergency plan that will work for you and your family. Print out copies, and make sure that your entire household is aware of your plans.

#5 Plan for Special Needs

If you need special assistance during an emergency, it’s a good idea to create a personal support network. A personal support network is made up of people (friends, family, home service providers, etc) and/or places (houses of worship, etc) that are aware of your needs during an emergency. This includes your medications, as well as any physical limitations. Make sure to bring extras of anything you might need health-related, like wheelchair batteries or oxygen.

#6 Select Emergency Contacts

You should have a minimum of two emergency contacts, who you will reach out to in the event of an emergency. Make sure one is local and one is out of state. Also, alert your emergency contacts so they know you will be reaching out in the event of a natural disaster.

#7 Learn to Text

If you’re not already sure how, it’s imperative you learn to text. During major emergencies, phone lines and cell phone lines can get overwhelmed and stop working. Texts, on the other hand, are usually able to transmit.

#8 Create an Emergency Kit

Your basic emergency kit should contain water, food, medications, glasses, batteries, radio, first aid kit, can opener and chargers for your mobile devices. Keep in mind, the provisions should be enough for your entire family for three days. Don’t forget to include any important documents you may need, like copies of your birth certificate.

#9 Sign Up for Direct Deposit 

This may seem a little odd, but signing up for direct deposit for payments, especially for Social Security, can really help during a disaster. Even if mail delivery services can’t reach your home, you’ll still have access to your payments and, likely, your bank account.

#10 Call Ahead

If you think you will be headed to a shelter, make sure to call ahead. Alert them to any disability you may have or special assistance you may need. If you have medication that needs to be refrigerated, like insulin, be sure to alert the facility.

#11 Plan for Your Pets/Service Animals

Make sure to plan for all members of your family – including your pets or service animals. You should NEVER leave your pets alone in a natural disaster, but keep in mind many shelters only allow service animals. Prior to a storm, make a list of family, friends, boarding facilities, vets, and pet-friendly hotels. Also, make sure to carry plenty of pet food and any medications they may need.

#12 Never Underestimate the Aftermath of Storms

When you’ve been displaced by a storm, it’s only natural you want to get home as soon as possible. But, it’s critical you wait until conditions are safe to return. Keep in mind, your electricity may be off, emergency personnel may not be available, and basic infrastructure can take months to restore. Before returning home, make sure it’s safe to do so.