Hurricane season may be inevitable, but disaster isn’t. The key, according to the American Red Cross and the National Weather Service, is to mitigate risks by taking precautions ahead of time.

As hurricane season approaches, take the time to get ready. Follow these tips from the American Red Cross to protect your home and your family.

Protect Your Home

Here’s a list of proactive measures you can take now, plus steps to take in the days and hours before a hurricane. Print out this list and keep it handy.

  1. Cover windows and doors with storm shutters or half-inch marine plywood pre-cut to fit
  2. Store outdoor furniture, bicycles, gardening tools, trashcans and anything else that can be picked up by the wind
  3. Clear rain gutters and downspouts to prevent flooding
  4. Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors
  5. Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances
  6. Turn off utilities to prevent damage to your home or the community. Note: If you shut off your gas, you’ll need to call a professional to turn it back on
  7. Unplug small appliances to avoid damage in the event of power surges

Protect Your Family

Start with these essentials and make sure everyone in your household knows what to do in an emergency. Assign roles and responsibilities so you can support each other and be more efficient.

  1. Stock six basics in your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items. Keep whatever you’ll need during an evacuation in a large duffle bag or other easy-to-transport container
  2. Check your emergency kit and replenish or replace essential items, especially medications or other medical supplies
  3. Fill plastic bottles with clean water for drinking
  4. Fill bathtubs and sinks with water for flushing the toilet
  5. Fill your car’s gas tank, in case you receive an evacuation notice

Home Inventory

Draft an inventory of all your belongings including brand names and the estimated value of items. Photos, videos, serial numbers and purchase receipts are even better. Store any photos or videos in the cloud.

Emergency Plans

Develop emergency plans to keep your family safe and guard against your household’s risk factors.

Here’s a list of the basics, with links to more detailed downloadable checklists.

  1. Draft a Family Emergency Communication Plan
  2. Make a plan to care for your animals
  3. Prepare your boat and stay up to date on marine safety
  4. Listen to local area radio or TV stations for the latest updates. Monitor and adhere to applicable emergency instructions and evacuation orders
  5. Have an evacuation plan that includes your routes and destinations

Visit the National Hurricane Survival Initiative website for more hurricane preparedness checklists.

Coverage Checkup: Remember, flooding isn’t covered under standard homeowners insurance policies. Not sure if you need flood insurance? Learn more by contacting Bender Hatch Insurance (617) 367-4900 or to start a quote.