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Safety Steps During Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season is June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October. On average there are 6 hurricanes, three which are categorized as “major,” each year. History provides important examples of the potentially dangerous impact hurricanes can have and the need to be prepared.

Prepare for the storm:

  • Charge all phone and communications devices
  • Unplug all electronics and move them as high as possible
  • If recommended by utilities or emergency offices, turn off breakers to avoid power surges

Weather the storm:

  • Stay indoors during hurricanes and away from windows and glass
  • Never operate a portable generator inside your home
  • Never connect a generator directly into your homes wiring unless a transfer switch has been installed
  • Always use GFCIs in areas where water and electricity may come in contact

Recover from the storm:

  • Do not use electrical equipment and electronics, including receptacles, that have been submerged in water
  • Have a qualified electrician inspect any water damaged electrical equipment and electronics
  • Stay away from downed power lines. If you encounter a downed power line, stay at least 35 feet away and do not touch the line or anything that may be in contact with the line

Hurricane categories:

  • Category 1
    74 – 95 MPH Winds
    Some Damage

    • Potential roof damage
    • Large tree branches may snap, shallow-rooted trees may fall
    • Damage to utilities poles and power lines. Outages may last few to several days
  • Category 2
    96 – 110 MPH Winds
    Extensive Damage

    • Potential major roof damage
    • Shallow-rooted trees will be snapped or unrooted
    • Power outages for several days to weeks
  • Category 3
    111 – 129 MPH Winds
    Devastating Damage

    • Major home damage
    • Many trees will be snapped or unrooted
    • Electricity and water may be unavailable for several days to weeks
  • Category 4
    130 – 156 MPH Winds
    Catastrophic Damage

    • Severe home damage
    • Most trees will be snapped or unrooted and utility poles downed
    • Power outages for weeks to possibly months
  • Category 5
    > 156 MPH Winds
    Catastrophic Damage

    • High percentage of framed homes will be destroyed
    • Fallen trees and power pokes will isolate residential areas
    • Power outages for weeks to possibly months

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, homes built to modern building codes fare much better than homes built to older codes. Make sure your home is up to code.

Hurricane History:

  • The deadliest hurricane in U.S. history, referred to as the “Great Galveston Hurricane,” struck Texas in 1900 and resulted in an estimated 11,000 deaths.
  • Since 1851, the top three states for hurricane landfalls are Florida (114), Texas (63), and Louisiana (54), according to data from the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami.
  • Hurricane Sandy caused 8.5 million power outages across 21 states, the highest outage total ever.
  • 23 days after Hurricane Katrina local utilities had power restored to only three-quarters of their customers.
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