You don’t want to find yourself preparing for a storm when it’s headed your way. That’s especially true for hurricanes.

National Hurricane Preparedness Week runs through Saturday and the Galveston County Health District is encouraging residents to prepare now. This season includes an expected 13 named storms with five hurricanes and two major hurricanes, according to the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project. The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 with peak season being in August through September.

First, determine if you’re at risk. Do you live in a hurricane evacuation zone? Do you live in a home that would be unsafe during a hurricane? Find out now.

Assemble disaster kits

From food and water to medicine, cash, batteries, radios and chargers, get together your supplies before hurricane season begins. Have enough food and water for each person for at least one week with one gallon of water per day per person. Fill prescriptions and have medicine on hand.

It’s also a good idea to have a flashlight, portable battery-operated radio, first aid kit and manual, sturdy shoes, gloves and a whistle. Don’t forget extra batteries for your supplies that require them.

Strengthen homes

There’s a lot you can do around your home to help protect it from strong winds that come with hurricanes. Trim trees on property, shop for approved window coverings, collect loose outdoor items, secure all doors on property and find a safe location for vehicles well ahead of an upcoming storm.

If you plan to ride out a hurricane in your home, make sure it is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications. Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors.

Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water. Find out your home’s elevation level. Are you in a surge or flood zone? Residents living in mobile homes need to check tie-downs for rust or breakage.

Check insurance coverage

Check in with your insurance agent before hurricane season. Flood insurance must be purchased separately. Information about the National Flood Insurance Program can be found through insurance agents or the local emergency management office. There is normally a 30-day waiting period before a new policy becomes effective. Homeowner policies don’t cover damage from the flooding that accompanies a hurricane.

Put your plan in writing

If you already have a family emergency communication plan, review it. If you don’t, now is the time to develop one. It is completely possible family members may become separated from one another during a disaster, especially if you’re at work and your kids are at school.

Put prescriptions, emergency contact information for family and doctors, insurance cards and identification together in a plastic bag. Do the same with photocopies of important documents including birth and marriage certificates, immunization records for children and adults, drivers license and other photo IDs and Social Security cards. Have photo documentation of valuables.

For more information, visit www.gchd.org/public-health-services/public-health-preparedness/natural-disasters or www.ready.gov.

Randy Valcin is the director of epidemiology and public emergency preparedness for the Galveston County Health District.

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(1) comment

Gary Miller

The cost of a hurricane that doesn't hit?

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