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Preparing for the Uncertainty of Hurricane Florence

Dan Brian   |  September 11, 2018   |  

As we’re all aware, Hurricane Florence is scheduled to make landfall in North Carolina late Thursday afternoon. Currently, a category 4 storm, residents of the state can expect to experience extreme to catastrophic damages including powerful winds, extreme flooding and limited resources including electricity.

Hurricanes are one of nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena. Every year, an average of 12 storms form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season. 6 of these storms typically become hurricanes — but remember, it only takes one!

You can’t stop Mother Nature, but you can be prepared for hurricanes and the damage they leave behind. Here are some things you can do to protect your assets before, during and after Hurricane Florence.

Before the Wind Blows

Being prepared before the storm hits is key when it comes to hurricanes. There are many ways to keep yourself, your family and even your home safe.

Prepare for the long haul. Stock up on emergency supplies, food, water, and even sandbags. You should have at least one gallon of water per person for every three days of cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. If anyone in your family has prescription medications, make sure they’re filled before the storm hits. Also, be sure you have flashlights and radios with plenty of batteries on hand. Finally, make sure you have a way to charge your cell phone. Portable cell phone chargers work best and can be charged in advance.  You may also be able to charge your cell phone in your car.

Prepare to evacuate. While we all hope to stay indoors during a hurricane, there are times where this is not an option. Authorities such as the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management may inform residents that weathering a storm is a bad idea, especially if you live on the coast. Listening to the authorities is always a smart choice and could help save you and your family’s life.

Document and photograph everything. A person’s home is their greatest asset, but it is very susceptible to damage during a hurricane. Winds can wreak havoc, shattering windows, ripping roofs, and damaging cars. Thus, it is important to photograph the front, side, back, roof and interior of your home. A photographic record of your personal property is important in making your insurance claim a fair process for homes and businesses. It may also show your insurance company that you attempted to protect your home and contents, so you can dismiss any claims they make of negligence on your part.

During the Storm

Avoid Flood Waters

Floodwaters and storm surges are common during a hurricane and can present a host of dangers. You may be tempted to go outside in a moment of calm, but remember the floodwater is most likely contaminated so you risk catching a harmful disease. Moreover, storm surge tends to move swiftly. According to the Red Cross, six inches of water can sweep you off your feet and two feet of water can carry many automobiles away.

Be Mindful of Electricity

Generator use has become popular as residents prepare for service interruptions. However, generators produce carbon monoxide, which can be very dangerous. Storing a generator near windows, doors or closed spaces may allow carbon monoxide to enter your home which can be deadly.  Do not use your generator in a closed area like your garage.

Downed power lines are also an issue during a hurricane. Many of these power lines are still live so if you come across a downed line, be sure to avoid it and report it to your local power company or emergency official.

Stay in Touch

Being prepared for a hurricane is crucial, but your family is always the most important concern. Be sure to keep in touch with loved ones and make sure everyone is okay. Use your cell phone, social media, or other platforms to stay informed and in contact with others.

The Aftermath

Once the storm is over, most are eager to see the damages. It’s critical that you wait until the storm has completely passed and officials have declared it safe to either go outside or return to any evacuated areas.

When evaluating the damages, there are also some important steps to follow to ensure that you receive the help you need so that you can return back to your way of life.

Document the damages. Having a list and photos of your damaged valuables can help when filing a claim with your insurance company. Also, document any damage to the exterior or interior of your home and vehicles to maximize your chances of a getting a fair result on your claim.

Protect your valuables from any further damage. While the storm may be over, flood waters can continue to rise, and trees can fall. Use tarps and bring valuables inside to keep them safe.

File your claim as soon as possible. Insurance policies usually require you to act quickly after storm damage. There is no such thing as too soon. It is imperative that you’ve taken photos, written an inventory of your belongings, and filed a claim as quickly as possible.

How Can an Attorney Help After Hurricane Florence?

Whiles storms are an act of nature and unpreventable, insurance companies often make the process of filing a claim and receiving a payout very difficult. Some of the common practices may include: lowballing you, denying your claim, denying your insurance even exists, demanding the written release of other supplemental claims, or using other tactics to limit payout.

Hiring an attorney to assist you with your claim could be helpful in getting you the compensation you deserve after a hurricane. The North Carolina personal injury attorneys at Riddle & Brantley have years of experience fighting for the rights of our clients. Contact our offices today for a free, no-obligation case review.

During a hurricane, Justice Counts.