BEFORE A HURRICANE THREATENS
How Safe Is Your Home? Probably not safe enough to withstand a direct hit by a major windstorm. Even if your home escaped wind damage, it is still subject to storm surge (tidal) flooding and you should plan to relocate; however, keep in mind that Red Cross Emergency shelters will not be open prior to a storm. Plan ahead on which family members to contact if you should have to evacuate the Island.
Plan Route to Safety If You Must Leave. Plan your escape route early, knowing that our causeway can be closed up to 36 hours before storm landfall. Also, with current construction under way now and for the next couple of years, planning ahead is even more important.
Inventory Your Property. A complete inventory of personal property will help in obtaining insurance settlements and/or tax deductions for losses. Inventory checklists can be obtained from many sources, including your insurance representative. Do not trust your memory. List descriptions and take pictures. Store these and other important insurance papers in waterproof containers or in your safety deposit box.
Check Insurance Coverage. Review your insurance policies and your coverage to avoid misunderstandings later. Take advantage of flood insurance. Separate policies are needed for protection against wind and flood damage, some people often do not realize this until too late. Don’t wait until a hurricane is in the Gulf – by then it is too late. When a storm is heading for shore, insurance offices are too busy preparing for emergency and won’t be able to respond to individual requests, and insurance cannot be obtained.
WHEN A WATCH IS ISSUED
Make Plans Early. Listen constantly to radio or TV; monitor storm reports and note hurricane position. If evacuation has not already been recommended, consider leaving the area early to avoid long hours on limited evacuation routes.
Check Supplies. First aid kit, transistor radio with fresh batteries (a radio will be your most useful source of information, so have enough batteries to last several days – there may be no electricity), flashlights, candles or lamps, lamp fuel and matches, canned goods and non-perishable foods (store packaged foods which can be prepared without cooking and need no refrigeration), clean airtight containers for drinking water for several days (city supply will probably be interrupted or may be contaminated), materials to protect glass openings (shutters or lumber to protect large windows and doors and masking tape for use on small windows), materials for emergency repairs (your insurance policy may cover cost of materials used in temporary repairs so keep all receipts – they will also be useful at income tax time). Also, never let your vehicle gas tank be less than half full during hurricane season, then fill tank as soon as hurricane watch is posted. Remember, when there is no electricity, gas pumps won’t work.
WHEN A WARNING IS ISSUED
Continue monitoring radio or TV; noting hurricane position, intensity and expected landfall. Prepare for high winds by bracing garage doors, lowering antennas, anchoring outside objects (garbage cans, awnings, loose garden tools, toys and other loose objects can become deadly missiles) or move things indoors. Be prepared to make repairs. Protect windows and other glass by covering large windows, taping exposed glass to reduce shattering and drawing drapes across windows and doors to protect against flying glass if shattering does occur. Move boats on trailers close to house and fill boats with water to weight them down, lash securely to trailer and anchor trailer to ground or house. Check mooring lines of boats in water — THEN LEAVE THEM. Check your survival supplies again. Store valuables and personal papers in waterproof containers and take them with you when you evacuate.
WHEN YOU EVACUATE
Leave early in daylight if possible and know where you’re going. If you have to leave any valuables behind, store them in highest protected area of home. Secure your home as best as possible after shutting off gas & water. Some advise shutting off electricity too, but you may be spoiling refrigerated/frozen foods unnecessarily. Take protective clothing, survival supplies, utensils, blankets or sleeping bags, flashlights, special dietary foods, prescription medicines, extra eye glasses, infant needs and lightweight folding chairs and important papers (driver’s license and other I.D., insurance policies, property inventory, medic-alert information and maps to destination).
If you’re thinking of riding out the storm, remember that drowning is THE greatest cause of hurricane deaths. If you do get stranded and cannot evacuate, stay indoors away from windows, glass doors, stay tuned to media broadcasts, remain calm and don’t go outside during brief passage of storm’s eye.
AFTER THE STORM
Re-entry will be allowed following a storm; however, it might be a good idea to check POA Office for any specific notices or instructions. If POA Office is not accessible, a temporary facility will be established and it’s new location will be given to local media. In any case, don’t return until recommended or authorized. Emergency re-admission passes are available at POA Office, and if you return to Island after a storm, you will need one of these, unless you have two other forms of I.D. showing an Island address (driver’s license and proof of auto liability insurance card). When you do return, (if extensive damage is expected, don’t return with small children or someone with medical problems), watch for weakened roads, damaged bridges, fallen structures, open sewers, loose power lines, snakes. Wear heavy shoes or boots while inspecting your home for damage. Normal utilities & services may be out for quite a while. Guard against spoiled/contaminated food & water. Report broken water/sewer/gas/electric lines to proper authorities. Don’t use water until safe. Take extra precautions to prevent fires – low water pressure and impassable roads may retard normal fire fighting response. Stay tuned to radio for further information.
Notify insurance company of any losses and leave word where you can be contacted. Make temporary repairs to protect property from further damage or looting. Use only reputable contractors. Keep receipts for materials used. Remember, re-building must follow existing standards and POA’s Architectural Control Committee must approve all plans for permanent repairs. We should expect various local, state and federal agencies for help in cleaning up, but be patient, everyone can’t be helped first.
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS
CITY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICE 361-880-3700
CONSTABLE’S OFFICE 361-949-7220
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE 361-289-0959
RED CROSS SHELTER INFORMATION 361-887-9991
COAST GUARD EMERGENCY 361-937-1898
PADRE ISLES PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION 361-949-7025
BOTTOM LINE – START YOUR HURRICANE PREPARATION PLANS TODAY !!!