Take inventory around your house ahead of hurricane season, experts suggest

storm file
Posted at 6:58 AM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 12:56:31-04

You never think it's going to be your home, but when a hurricane does take aim, experts say it's already too late.

May 1-7 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week and it comes a month before the start of the Atlantic hurricane season to give families enough time to get ready.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says now is the time to make sure each home has a disaster kit packed and ready with:

  • Food and water
  • Radio, batteries and phone chargers
  • Medicine and prescriptions
  • Cash
  • A full gas tank

Dare County Emergency Management, which covers much of the storm-vulnerable Outer Banks, tells News 3 it's important to have flood insurance in place now so it has time to kick in before hurricane season starts, especially when a storm can cause big problems even without a direct hit.
"People need to not focus on the category, but focus on what the impact is going to bring," said Drew Pearson, Dare County Emergency Management Director. "If the impacts are going to be eight to nine feet of storm surge in our community, they need to focus on that. I think our community is attuned to that. I don't think our visitors understand it as well."

Dare County has colorful poles installed in the sand, marking storm surge increments, so people can visualize the threat.

It's also a good idea to take inventory of what you have in your home, especially expensive items.

Property Damage Appraisers does damage inspections across the country for insurance companies and has a location in Norfolk. The company tells News 3 one of the biggest problems appraisers run into when disaster strikes is people don't have pictures, receipts or any other documentation of furniture, appliances and other things that are expensive to replace.

Ryan Stokes, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Property Damage Appraisers, says it's best to save receipts and keep a digital copy that's accessible from your phone through the Cloud, Google Drive or another way.

If you've tossed out a receipt, there are ways around it, like a serial number.

"Just snap a picture of that, on your phone, of course. It time and date stamps it so when we pull those photos up, we'll know when it was taken," said Stokes. "That serial number will tell the story. It'll tell how old it is. It won't tell the purchase price, but it'll allow us to do the research to find out what the value of it is."

He says this advice stands for any disaster, including a storm, snow event or a fire and recommends taking inventory of your belongings twice a year.