Hurricane Harvey has brought a long, devastating effect on its path. At category four, Harvey couples floods and wind speeds of 130 miles an hour and is considered the most devastating hurricane recorded. The hurricane has weakened, but the heavy down pour is still causing a lot of floods in areas of Texas and Louisiana. Harvey has caused considerable damage to property, and many homeowners risk incurring massive losses as a result of the destruction of ownership.
Risks arising from hurricanes
The loss is made worse by the fact that many homeowners in the areas affected by the hurricane lack flood insurance cover. These people have little financial capability to rebuild their property and lives and are more likely to end up bankrupt and in debt.
Although many have the regular home insurance, it can only cover up to wind damage. Many are now wishing they had flood insurance. The cover caters for rebuilding expenses and replacement of belongings such as furniture and other household items.
The water levels are so high such that families have nowhere in their house where they can stay. The floods and safety issues mean that many people are now displaced from their shelter.
The hurricane has affected various aspects of human life including health. Hospitals also have been flooded, patients have to be evacuated, and routine appointments canceled. Many hospitals rely on backup power to run. In this kind of disaster, you need to ensure your tetanus vaccine, and that of your loved ones is up to date because you are prone to step on anything sharp.
Stagnant water that remains after the flood could easily become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which are vectors of the West Nile Virus, a fever that can lead to death. It is important that you protect against mosquito bites. Here is what you should do in case of a hurricane.
Before the hurricane
- Be ready
If you dwell in a flood-prone area or near the coastline, you may need to evacuate.It is always essential that you be ready. Prepare in advance and have a family disaster plan in place. Do not forget to have a disaster kit supply that the household can quickly locate when in a hurry. The disaster plan should entail what you should do in an emergency.
It is important that you research on your evacuation route and have several routes in case the first choice is unusable. Agree with everyone in the family where to meet if you get separated. Make proper arrangements in advance with friends or family regarding a secure place to stay.
If you cannot reach a friend or family’s house, you can listen to the news for announcements of shelter openings. The disaster kit should contain the things that you need to survive for at least three days. You should have water, medication, first aid kit, emergency food, and lights.
Secure your property
Property damage from hurricane comes from the high winds, which can blow away or tear anything that is not properly secured. Prepare by trimming weak tree branches that are likely to fall to your property during the storm. Remove anything that can potentially get carried by the storm and cause damage. Protect your windows and doors in advance. For example, you can board up your windows, or you can install impact resistant windows and hurricane shutters before the storm.
During the storm
- Stay safe
Stay indoors in a safe area away from windows, glass doors, and skylights. The high winds and downpour can shatter the glass and cause injury at a time when reaching the hospital is a challenge. The debris carried by the strong winds can injure you if you remain outside. Stay indoors until you get official communication that it is clear.
Where flood waters pose a risk to your home, turn off electricity at the mains. Power loss is prone to occur, and you should turn off all appliances in the house including water heaters, air conditioners to minimize damage. Do not use any electrical appliances to avoid the risk of electrocution. Lightning can pose a threat during storms. To be safe, do not use electrical equipment including phones and avoid taking a shower during a storm. Self-powered gadgets such as battery torch and radio come in handy if you need communication.
Use the phone only for emergency cases. For example, do not hesitate to call 911 when the situation is life threatening. You should also call the utility service to report fallen power lines, overturned gas tanks or broken gas mains.
For those living close to alligator farms, you need to monitor your safety against these creatures. The rising floodwaters make it easy for the alligators to escape their restriction and could pose a danger to anyone. Stay indoors if in the event the reptiles find their way out of the farm.
- Evacuating to safety
Always obey local orders by the authority to vacate. Stay together when evacuating. During the evacuation, only take what you need. Take your important documents, medication, some warm clothes, and cash. Never leave behind your emergency kit. Always leave early when told to evacuate; it is hazardous if the hurricane finds you in your car.
After The Storm
Come out only when it is safe or when an “all clear” is given. Stay away from any sagging lines or fallen lines. Do not turn on the electricity to avoid the risk of explosion. Check the electric and gas supply to ensure they are safe before turning them on.
Many buildings often suffer damages from the hurricane. Proceed with caution when entering any building unless you are sure the structure is built for safety. Move away when you notice lurking danger such as gas leaks. Take precautions and open windows to allow the gas to escape.
After everyone is safe, you can now proceed and record all the damages. Report the loss to the insurance provider as soon as possible. Report all losses including the cost of staying in a hotel and back this with receipts. Remember to capture photographs and videos of the loss.