Hurricane season officially begins on Friday, June 1st. It is wise for those of us living in coastal areas to prepare in advance for the potential storms to ensure that our homes are best protected if and when a storm threatens our beach property. Essential emergency supply items ranging from batteries to bottled water are tax exempt from now until May 31. There are a few stipulations to the tax exempt status. Visit the Virginia Department of Taxation website to read the guidelines on this special tax-free holiday and download a list of eligible items.
Take the following steps to protect your family and your Sandbridge Beach property.
Preparing to Board Your Windows
Buy your plywood now. Experts recommend ¾” plywood. Drill screw holes 18 inches apart all around the boards. Organize your tools so they are easily accessible. Create a plan to store/secure all outdoor furniture, decorations and garbage containers.
Removing Weak or Dead Trees
Be sure that you do not have any potentially hazardous tree limbs or debris lying around. Trim up all shrubs and trees so they are more wind resistant. Keep your gutters and downspouts clear of debris. If you are unable to remove the trees/limbs/etc. there are several reputable companies around Sandbridge that can perform this service for you.
Creating an Evacuation & Communication Plan
Sit down and create a plan with your family that maps out when, how and where you will evacuate. Ensure that all family members have contact information for each other. Make a family communications plan that details how your family will coordinate with each other during the evacuation.
Riding Out the Storm
If evacuation is not mandatory and you choose to stay with your property it is important to decide what room in your home will be your “safe” room. It should be a room with no or few windows.
Packing a Survival Kit
Hurricane Irene that hit us last August left most residents of Tidewater without
power for days. In fact, this storm had the 2nd highest number of power outages in all of Virginia history. That is why you will need a survival kid with non-perishable food, water, a battery powered radio and a first aid kit. Here’s a more thorough list of what should be included.
Determine how and where you will secure your boat and other water sports equipment.
These are just a few ideas for getting started in your hurricane season preparations. For a more detailed overview please see the government’s Ready website: http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.