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Hawaii Homeowners: How to Survive a Severe Storm


Last year, we experienced one of the strongest El Nino weather patterns on record, which generated a whopping 17 tropical cyclones. In comparison, 4-7 tropical cyclones are forecasted in the Central Pacific during the 2016 hurricane season. Regardless, hurricane season isn't over till it's over – and it's not over until November.

How to protect your home and family from severe storms

  1. Brace your garage door. "Most garage doors are not reinforced," said Kimberly Lankford at Kiplinger. If wind enters the garage it can create a positive push. This, combined with a negative pull from wind above the house, can make your roof fly off.
  2. Install storm shutters. Strengthening your windows with storm shutters can minimize the pressure inside your house while protecting the interior from wind and rain.
  3. Schedule a home inspection. Have your home inspected by an engineer to evaluate any improvements it may need to protect it from tsunami or flooding, such as elevating the home, strengthening the walls, or diverting waves from your property.
  4. Take precautions for flooding. Be aware of leaks, cracks in your foundation and blocked gutters, and address these as they arise. You may want to buy a sump pump; if you have fuel tanks, anchor them. If your property is on a slope, consider digging a swale or installing French drains to direct water away from your dwelling.
  5. Store supplies for seven days.
    - First aid supplies, life-saving medications
    - One week's supply of non-perishable foods
    - Seven gallons of water per person
    - Cell phone charger
    - Flashlight, radio and batteries (crank-powered devices eliminate the need for batteries)
    - Blankets, a few changes of clothing for everyone, and a stash of toiletries
    - Insurance information, other important info
  6. Make an evacuation plan. If you and your loved ones are not together when a disaster strikes, do you know how and where you would meet up with them afterward? Agree on those details before an emergency, especially:
    - The location you'll all attempt to reach during or after a crisis
    - If that location is not an option, a secondary location
    - If you need to make special accommodations for pets, children or anything else, identify what those would be in advance and decide who would take responsibility for which.
  7. Get appropriate insurance. Contact a FICOH agent to arrange an insurance review for your home, and make sure that your limits and coverage are adequate to protect you. Should you purchase flood or hurricane coverage? Your FICOH agent can provide the guidance you need to determine the answer.