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Hurricane season starts June 1st and lasts through to the end of November. For 2010, the National Hurricane Center has predicted an “active” storm season with as many as 23 named tropical storms. 8-14 of those storms could develop into hurricanes; of those, 3-7 hurricanes may be a category 3 or higher.

Have a survival kit and disaster plan ready. Here are some suggestions and tips:

*Bottled water – one gallon per person for 72 hours

*Flashlights with extra batteries – candles can pose a serious fire hazard should there be propane or gas leaks in the area

*Supply of nonperishable food items – protein bars, canned goods (don’t forget a can opener!), dried or prepackaged energy food

*Medicine – 30-day supply stored in plastic waterproof containers, clearly marked and kept in a zip-lock bag

*Eyeglasses

*Proper footwear and protective clothing for post-hurricane

*Portable radio and extra batteries

*Important documents – drivers license, passport, notes of allergies, important contact numbers, insurance documents, extra cash, ATM and bank/credit cards

*Generator – ensure it is filled with propane/gas and in good working order

*Insurance coverage for yourself and family, home, boat and vehicles – ensure it’s current and up to date. Make a note of contact information, should you need to make a claim or contact your provider in case of injury

*Know how to shut off electricity, gas and water if so advised by authorities

*Action or Evacuation Plan – hotel, friend’s home or shelter, evacuation plan if residing on an island or coastal areas that are remote or vulnerable to storm surge

*Let friends and family know how to contact you and where you plan to be, forward land lines to cell phones

*Text message rather than voice mail; uses less battery time and communication is faster

*Cell phone and charger, car charger, extra batteries

*Care and plan for your Pet’s safety – food, water, medicine, bowls, plastic bags, collar with your name and contact info, extra leash, pet crate for transporting, name and number of vet and copies of vaccinations, photo, favorite toy or blanket

*Secure hurricane shutters or board your home securely, move all outside items to basement or inside storage. Flying debris and items can cause tremendous damage to your home, vehicles and neighborhood.

*Car, keep gas tank full – especially important if you live in a remote place or on an island where supplies may be limited or cut-off after a storm

*Know where to get information on storm conditions – local radio station, tv station, website or through the internet on your cell phone

*Secure your boat – consider turning off the EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) if your boat is docked, secured and unoccupied. When boats with this system start to sink or capsize, a signal via a satellite is sent to the nearest emergency satellite call center. These centers need to maintain clear and unjammed communication lines for satellite phones and emergency personnel during a hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center released the following names for 2010 hurricanes…

Alex

Bonnie

Colin

Danielle

Earl

Fiona

Gaston

Hermine

Igor

Julia

Karl

Lisa

Matthew

Nicole

Otto

Paula

Richard

Shary

Tomas

Virginie

Walter

What is a storm surge? For those residents living on the coast or in the islands a storm surge is something we are always concerned about. Storm surge is water that’s pushed toward the shore by winds swirling around the storm. Recent hurricanes have produced storm surges in the neighborhood of 15 feet, combined with winds in excess of 75 miles per hour. This can be very dangerous. Water weighs approximately 1700 pounds per cubic yard – extended pounding by frequent waves can demolish structures not specifically designed to withstand these forces.

Please be prepared and have a plan, and review it on a yearly basis. If you are an absentee homeowner, arrange for someone to secure the premises in your absence, a neighbor, friend, or property management company.

For more information on how to prepare for a hurricane please visit the National Hurricane Centers website: www.nhc.noaa.gov

Information provided courtesy of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Turks & Caicos