During this year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season (June 1st - November 30th), the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) urges homeowners to protect their property from storm surge, damaging winds, and flooding that hurricanes or tropical storms can bring to New England.
Protect Your Property Before A Hurricane:
- Learn the particular hurricane risks for your area:
- Citizens in coastal communities should "Know Your (Evacuation) Zone". Learn if you're in one of 3 hurricane evacuation zones (A, B, or C): http://www.mass.gov/knowyourzone. Residents and visitors are encouraged to find out whether they live or work in a hurricane evacuation zone by using these interactive maps. Those who are located in potential evacuation zones should plan for and be prepared to evacuate during a hurricane and should listen to local public safety officials and weather forecasts before and during a hurricane for evacuation information. The best way to be prepared for the possibility of a hurricane evacuation is to know your evacuation zone and develop your emergency plan (such as your destination and travel routes) ahead of time.
- Citizens in ALL parts of the state, even away from the coast, should be prepared for flooding, damaging winds, and power outages with a hurricane.
- Visit www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-888-379-9531 to learn more about flood risks, flood maps, flood zones, and flood insurance. Consider buying flood insurance, even if your property is not in a flood zone. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
- Talk to your local emergency management director about the risks in your community and neighborhood.
- Homeowners in coastal communities can prepare their homes for hurricanes and other coastal hazards be reading the MA Homeowner's Handbook to Prepare for Coastal Hazards file size 13MB
- Make a record of your personal property for insurance purposes. Take photos or a video of the interior and exterior of your home. Include personal belongings in your inventory. Keep an itemized list of your furniture, clothing and valuables to assist adjusters in case of a claim and support the list with photos or video.
- If you do not have it, consider purchasing property and flood insurance. If you already have property insurance, review your existing policies for the amount and extent of coverage to ensure that what you have in place is what is required for you and your family for all possible hazards. Store important documents such as insurance policies, deeds, property records and other important papers in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box away from your home. Many people also keep a copy in a watertight box in their home and in their Emergency Kit . Many people back up important documents online. For more information on property insurance, visit the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Home Insurance webpage.
- Keep trees and shrubbery around your home trimmed. Remove diseased or damaged tree limbs that could be blown down, causing damage, during a storm.
- Clear clogged rain gutters. Hurricanes/tropical storms often bring torrential rain. Providing clear drainage will help prevent misdirected flooding.
- Make sure storage sheds, children’s playhouses or other outbuildings are securely anchored, either to a permanent foundation or with straps and ground anchors.
- Make temporary plywood covers to protect windows and sliding doors. Drill holes for screws or lag bolts in each cover and around each window. To save time, use a numbering or lettering system that shows which cover goes with which window. Store the mounting screws or lag bolts with the covers in a place where they are readily accessible. Note: Taping of windows does not prevent them from breaking.
- Make a list of outdoor items to bring inside in case of a storm, such as lawn furniture, trash barrels, hanging plants, toys and awnings. A list will help you more quickly identify anything that can be broken or could cause damage if hurled through the air by strong winds.
- Learn where gas pilots and water mains are located and how to safely shut off all utilities.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This can reduce roof damage.
- Consider installing a generator and take preparations in case the storm brings Power Outages During Warm Weather
- Make preparations for your home in case you need to evacuate. Elevate items, secure outdoor items and take other precautions. Learn more about steps to take in advance of an Evacuation .
- If you do not evacuate, you will likely "shelter-in-place". As part of your emergency plan, consider what you would need or would need to do in advance of sheltering in place. This includes building an Emergency Kit and preparing your home. For more information and considerations, see MEMA's Shelter in Place webpage.
- Prepare your home for a hurricane using technology. Learn more by visiting the Use Technology to Get Ready for Emergencies webpage.
During a Hurricane
- Lock doors and windows to ensure that they are closed tight to help protect against strong winds and rain.
- Consider turning off propane tanks if you are not using them.
- In anticipation of loss of power, turn your refrigerator and freezers to the coldest settings and keep the doors closed. ( Power Outages During Warm Weather ).
- If you are sheltering-in-place during the storm, stay away from windows and glass doors that could break.
Protect Your Boat
If you have a boat, get it ready for a hurricane by planning to remove it from the water. If you cannot, take steps to secure it to reduce damage. See MEMA's Preparing Your Boat for a Hurricane webpage for more details