Keeping the Promise, No Matter the Storm

Tree downed by storm

Like tornados, hurricanes and tropical storms can cause extreme wind damage. Hurricanes are often larger and more destructive, capable of producing winds of 74 mph or higher. Most hurricanes take place during hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30.

An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected according to forecasters with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. Follow these tips and work with your insurance agent to make sure you and your investments are protected against damaging hurricanes.

Hurricane Safety Tips

 If your area is faced with a hurricane, follow all of the wind safety tips for tornados, as well as:  

  • Follow recommendations from local officials and evacuate when necessary. 
  • If you do not have to evacuate, stay inside and stay on higher ground. Avoid low-lying areas that may be prone to flooding.
  • Close windows in doors inside your home to protect your roof. According to IBHS, closing the doors inside your home can compartmentalize pressure in the event wind finds a way into your home through a broken window or other opening.
  • Avoid areas that have standing water
  • Avoid windows and electrical equipment
  • Be on the lookout for flash flooding while traveling
  • Bring pets inside
  • Pay attention to downed power lines and falling trees
  • Secure loose objects
  • Stay away from bodies of water
  • Stay off the roads

 

Severe Wind and Tornado Safety

Hurricanes are defined categorically by their wind strength. A Category 1 hurricane ranges from 74 to 95 mph while a Category 5 hurricane winds can be upwards of 156 mph. Hurricanes can spawn tornados even miles away from the hurricane’s center. Here’s how to protect yourself from severe winds:

  • Avoid windows and doors
  • Keep a battery-operated radio nearby for updates
  • Seek shelter in a basement
  • Stay away from overpasses
  • Stay off the roads
  • Remember that a “watch” means a tornado is possible and a “warning means a tornado has been spotted and shelter should be taken immediately.

    After A Hurricane

    • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
    • If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs, text SHELTER+ your zip code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area.
    • Check in with friends and family using your communication plan, social media, or text.
    • If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS.
    • Pay attention when driving through barricades. Don’t ignore and drive past them, as they are probably there for a reason. Look ahead for loose branches or other things that can fall from trees.
    • Don’t drive through standing water in roads or parking lots. A vehicle can get swept away in depth of just 12 inches. Also, roads and bridges can collapse when covered with water. Vehicles in deep water can stall and leave you stranded.
    • Always be careful when entering a damaged building. If there is serious structural damage, contact local officials before entering. Report downed power lines or gas leaks. Keep electricity turned off if the building has been flooded.
    • Take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage. This could mean boarding up windows and salvaging undamaged items. Your insurance company can tell you what they will pay for regarding protection.
    • Contact GFB as soon as you can to file a claim and ask questions on next steps. Provide a general description of the damage and have your policy number handy if possible. Write down the adjuster’s name, phone number and work schedule.
    • Prepare a list of damaged or lost items for your adjuster. Keep damaged items or portions of them until the claims adjuster has visited, and consider photographing or videotaping the damage to document your claim.
    • If you need to relocate, keep records and receipts for all additional expenses. Most insurance policies cover emergency living arrangements.
    • Power outages are common after storms and many residents and businesses rely on backup generators until power can be restored. While power generators are quite useful, they also pose certain risks including fire, damage to electrical equipment and even injury or death. Before using a generator, it’s important to understand these risks and the necessary precautions for safe operation. 
    • When starting the cleanup process, be careful, and use protective eyewear and gloves, if available. Adjusters may tell business/home owners to hire a professional cleaning service.

    The Georgia Farm Bureau team hopes you and your family stays safe during every storm. If your property has been damaged, don’t hesitate to call our Claims Department at 855-432-2567 for assistance.