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Five Steps to Prepare for Tornadoes

Posted on: July 5th, 2017 by Access Home Insurance No Comments

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has documented tornado activity in every state in America and on every continent in the world, excluding Antarctica.

Given the proper atmospheric conditions, a tornado can strike anywhere. Wherever you live, keep your home and family safe by executing the proper preparedness strategies before a severe storm strikes. Use these simple tips to learn how to prepare for tornadoes to keep your people and property protected this season.

 

Tornado warning signs

Tornadoes can form without much of a warning. Stay alert and pay attention when a tornado watch or warning is issued in your area. If you see any of the following danger signs, take shelter immediately:

Tornado safety preparation tips

Properly preparing your home for disaster is one of the easiest ways to keep your family safe in case of a tornado. You’ll be more likely to know where to go for shelter, have the supplies you need to survive, and experience less risk of property damage during and after the tornado passes your area. Follow these key safety tips to make your property as safe as possible:

1. Designate a safe room. This area can either be a storm cellar, a basement or a room on the lowest level of your home or building without any windows, like a closet. This room should be reinforced by a professional to provide extra protection during severe storms.

2. Put essentials in your safe room. An emergency kit full of food, water, important documents and life-saving supplies should always be readily available in your safe room. Keep extra clothing, blankets, a battery-powered radio, medication, a first aid kit, pet supplies and any other essentials in your safe room in the event you need to wait out the tornado for long periods of time.

3. Remove outdoor items. Debris, dead trees and furniture are likely to get picked up by the wind and thrown into your home. Secure or remove as many outdoor items on your property as possible.

4. Reinforce your home. Call a professional to reinforce any masonry walls or other structures that provide support to your home. If you have a chimney, have the professionals secure it with reinforced steel to prevent it from falling off during high winds. Professionals can also assess your home and make recommendations to add additional strength and stability.

5. Contact your insurance agent. It’s important to understand what kind of damage is and isn’t covered under your homeowner’s insurance. If you need to add any extra items to your policy, do so before a tornado has a chance to hit your area.

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Six Steps to Prepare for Severe Storms

Posted on: May 8th, 2017 by Access Home Insurance No Comments
Spring is an unpredictable and active weather season that can include severe storms, tornados, heavy wind, rain and possibly even floods.
Below are six action items you can take to prepare for severe weather.
  1. Be in the know! Check out the NWS website for detailed information on all types of weather alerts and safety information. Save the sites and/or apps to your mobile devices.
  2. Create an emergency kit and a plan. Check your emergency supply kit (flashlights, batteries, water, first aid, etc.) or create a kit if you don’t have one (Access Home Insurance provides a list of what you need). Place the kit in a designated location – and make sure your family members/co-workers can access it. Your emergency plan should consist of how your family will communicate with each other following a storm. It should also designate which neighbors/family members should be checked on. Once you’ve organized the plan and everyone understands their responsibilities, post the plan in your home or business in a visible location.
  3. Gather documentation. Photograph your home or office before a storm. Keep the photos, important papers and valuables in a safe, secure place. Make sure you have electronic copies of your insurance policy saved to your mobile device. If you have pets, your documentation should include veterinarian records.
  4. Identify appropriate shelters. What location in your home is the safest? Is there a neighborhood or community location where you can go in the event you have to evacuate your home? If you have a dog or cat, check to see if they allow pets. Share this information with your neighbors or other family members. Consider social media updates – Facebook and Twitter are great ways to communicate this information, as it provides instant updates and notifications. Make sure you have evacuation routes planned out on paper in case your mobile device isn’t charged. More than one route should be mapped as there will likely be heavy traffic in the even of sudden evacuations.
  5. Ask Experts. Learn how to protect and reinforce your home and business against severe weather.
  6. Stay Connected to Local and National Alerts. Governments are more sophisticated now about notifying people about disasters. In most cases, you can also sign-up for a variety of alerts through social media and local news as well. Understand your local warning systems/signals. Weather.gov, noaa.gov  and fema.gov are all great resources for information online and via social media feeds such as Twitter.

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The Only Hurricane Preparedness Checklists You’ll Ever Need

Posted on: June 15th, 2016 by Access Home Insurance No Comments
As Hurricane Season is only a few weeks away, you should be taking steps to gather supplies and determine safety plans for your home, family and pets.

gulf hurricane prediction image

There are serval items which are often overlooked when preparing for storm season. In addition to developing a plan of action and photographing your home and valuables, consider taking the following measures:

 
In the absence of a forced evacation, you should have the following items on hand to “ride out” a storm:
  1. Flashlights and lanterns (1 per person). Make sure you buy a cheap small flashlight for small children (otherwise they will likely commandeer yours).
  2. Extra bulbs and batteries for flashlights/lanterns.
  3. Collapsible water containers (enough for 7 days at 1 gal/day per person) one source is www.mywatersafe.com.
  4. Portable radio and/or TV.
  5. Weather radio.
  6. At least 2 sets of extra batteries for all electronic devices.
  7. Digital antenna for TV (if you have a generator).
  8. First aid kit.
  9. Toolkit – hammer, screw drivers, pliers and assorted nails/screws.
  10. Fire extinguisher (ABC type).
  11. Manual can opener.
  12. Battery-operated fan. Battery operated supplies can be purchased from http://batterysavers.com/.
  13. Duct tape.
  14. Blue tarp (15x20ft) and 100ft rope or cord.
  15. Gloves.
  16. Protective Eye Glasses.
  17. Protective headgear such as a construction helmet or bicycle helmet.
  18. Automobile power inverter. Source to purchase inverters: http://www.tripplite.com/.
  19. Rain gear (poncho/raincoat).
  20. Matches/lighters.
  21. Pocket knife/multi-tool.
  22. Plastic garbage bags.
  23. 5-gal gas cans (2-4) for car/generator WITH funnel.
  24. Outdoor extension cords (2-3 50ft).
  25. Generator and 4-8 quarts of extra oil.
  26. Whistle.
  27. Plastic sheeting.
  28. Tree saw / axe / hatchet.

 

Personal Items:
1. Prescription medications (2-4 week supply).
2. Non-prescription drugs (aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever).
3. Extra pair of prescription glasses or contacts.
4. Mosquito repellent / sunscreen.
5. Pet medications (2-4 week supply).
6. Pet cage (if traveling with pet).
7. Emergency phone numbers.
8. Important documents (insurance/passports/Soc. Security card, medical records)
9. Home PC backup disks/drive
10. Antibacterial wipes/wet wipes.
11. $100-$300 in extra cash (small bills)
12. Extra set of car/house keys
13. Disposable diapers
14. Feminine supplies
15. Personal hygiene items (toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, soap)
16. Toys/games for kids (deck of cards or a roll of construction paper and crayons).

Food / Water/Cooking:
1. Water – 1-2 gal/person for 7 days
2. Nonperishable food – enough for 7 days (peanut butter, bread, canned goods, protein bars)
3. Camp stove and extra fuel
4. Ice chest(s)
5. Extra charcoal/propane for BBQ pit
6. Disposable plates/cups/utensils/napkins
7. Salt/pepper/sugar
8. Aluminum foil
9. Garbage bags

Other Preparedness Tips:
1. Sit down with your family and develop a plan in case of a hurricane.
2. Take pictures or video of your house and valuables for insurance claims.
3. Prepare shutters or other coverings for doors and windows
4. Reinforce roof trusses
5. Examine and repair roof shingles
6. Caulk openings, flashings and soffits
7. Reinforce entry doors and collect exterior covering as required.
8. Replace hard mulch with soft material
9. Buy and install a backflow-prevention device in your sewer line
10. Trim trees and shrubs
11. Purchase a generator, gas cans, CO detectors and extension cords
12. Decide how to tie down large outdoor equipment
13. Reinforce or replace your garage door. Garage door bracing hardware: www.securedoor.com.
14. Purchase supplies for cleanup and repair
15. Purchase a road atlas. In times of evacuation you will need to develop plans on how to escape depending on advice from your local Emergency Management. Knowing the routes out of town and beyond is very important. Also don’t rely solely on a GPS, if everybody follows the same set of standardized directions on their GPS systems then there is going to be mass congestion. Instead plan a route, and a set of alternate routes by hand ahead of time and save yourself a lot of trouble.
16. A solar powered charging device for electronic products such as phones and tablets may be handy to have. A source to purchase these: www.solio.com.

Finally, take the following points into consideration:
1. Prepare now. You are at risk of some form of disaster. Keep a “Go Bag” of key items (clothes, meds, docs, digital backups).
2. Pet food, medications and crates should readily available should you need to evacuate quickly.
3. Establish out-of-area contact for your family. This reduces phone calls, streamlines check-ins and eases fears of your family members.
4. Make a plan for when you’re at home, at work, at school, in transit. Make sure you have access to “Go Bag”.
5. Educate yourself with your specific local hazards. These will vary greatly in different parts of the country and even from community to community.
6. Is one form of communications down? Try another. Text messages often get out, however, they will likely be delayed due to cell towers being overloaded or down. So, if your phone call fails, try sending a text. Add backup charging sources & cords to your “Go Bag” .
7. Once your area is under an Evacuation Order, leave and do not go back. You’re not just risking your life, but also rescue staff if you need to be rescued. In fact, rescue companies will likely not respond to your rescue call during the worst part of the hurricane due to their own safety and standard operation procedures.

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Tornado Facts

Posted on: February 24th, 2016 by Access Home Insurance No Comments

Tornados are a very real threat and knowing how they behave can safe your life. It’s also important to understand the difference between a “Tornado Watch” and a “Tornado Warning”.

 

Quick facts you should know about tornadoes:

  • They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
  • They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
  • The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
  • The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph, but may vary from stationary to 70 mph.
  • Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
  • Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
  • Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
  • Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.
  • Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 pm and 9 pm, but can occur at any time.

 

Know the Terms:

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a tornado hazard:

Tornado Watch – Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.

Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

 

 

Source: Ready.gov

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How to Find Shelter If Your Heating Malfunctions During A Winter Storm

Posted on: February 8th, 2016 by Access Home Insurance No Comments

In the Event of a Power Loss:

If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (e.g., SHELTER20472)

Bring any personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries, medicines). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers, wear boots, mittens, and a hat.

Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

 

Learn From Every Storm:

Restock your emergency supplies to be ready in case another storm hits.

Assess how well your supplies and family plan worked. What could you have done better?
Take a few minutes to improve your family plan and supplies before the next winter storm hits.
Talk to your neighbors and colleagues about their experiences and share tips with each other.

If your home suffered damage during severe winter weather, our Customer Service/Claims Hotline is open 24/7: 1-888-671-AHIC (2442).

 

 

Source: FEMA

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