Preparing Your Home, Personal Belongings Before Hurricane Sandy Hits

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Having an emergency kit ready, and making sure the family has a communication plan are two important preparations that people can do now before Hurricane Sandy hits, said an insurance risk professional with The Travelers Cos.

The federal government site has tips for creating an emergency kit, said Ken Katz, property risk control director with The Travelers Cos.

The Travelers Cos. also suggests items to have in a kit: canned food — 3 to 7 day supply; water — 3 to 7 day supply of 1 gallon per person per day; a can opener; first aid kit; portable radio; flashlight; batteries; medicine; clothing; blankets and your insurance policy.

In lieu of canned food, some people buy powdered meals that only require water, or dehydrated camping meals, typically available at Walmart, EMS or some other store with outdoor equipment.

For a comprehensive resource on preparing for the storm, visit the Insurance Information Institute’s website at

Before the storm hits, Katz recommends people clear out gutters and down spouts to allow rain water to flow off the roof.

Secondly, homeowners should bring inside or secure anything outside that could blow away in the wind, such as furniture, flower pots, Halloween decorations, garbage cans, Katz said.

“The other thing is gas,” said Mary K. White, an assistant vice president in Consumer Markets, which includes homeowner’s and auto coverage at The Hartford Financial Services Group. Click here for The Hartford’s catastrophe preparedness information.

“I think some people have generators, but they might not have gas,” White said.

Both White and Katz recommend filling up automobiles with gas. Gas pumps require electricity, and, in a power outage following a storm, the pumps can’t operate. Separately, gas stations that do work could have long lines after a storm.

Also before the storm, be sure to charge your cell phone.

After Tropical Storm Irene and the Halloween snowstorm last year, a lot of people had to toss perishable food that was spoiling in their refrigerator because they didn’t have power. This weekend might be a good time to eat that chicken in the freezer, for example.

“Try and eat the food that’s going to go bad,” White said.

Travelers recommends storing data electronically in a password-protected flash drive that can go into the survival kit, such as: wills, trusts, deeds, titles, personal and family records, medical records, financial and legal documents, birth certificates, account numbers, copies of licenses, home inventory, pictures of your home and belongings.

In addition to food, water and other items, consider all the needs of pets. For example, have a pet carrying case ready to go with food, water and medications.

Pets have kept people from leaving a home during a hurricane, Katz said.

“If you look at Hurricane Katrina, they went and interviewed people, ‘Why didn’t you leave when you should have, and you knew you should have?’ That was one of the leading responses,” Katz said.

James Berliner of Newtown, president of Professional Insurance Agents of Connecticut Inc., said people do sometimes call agents to check in on their insurance policies.

Most insurance companies have a moratorium on increasing or adding coverage after a hurricane, or other catastrophic event, is already looming and on its way, Berliner said.

“With coverage moratoriums, preparedness then becomes a key — gutters cleaned?” He said. “Batteries? Evacuation plans? Things off the basement floor? Insurance agent’s cell phone in the event of an extended power loss?”

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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3 thoughts on “Preparing Your Home, Personal Belongings Before Hurricane Sandy Hits

  1. smoky mountains

    In the 1930s and 1940s, Swain County, North Carolina gave up the majority of its private land to the Federal Government for the creation of Fontana Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hundreds of people were forced to leave the small Smoky Mountain communities that had been their homes for generations.

  2. vacation property

    With the creation of the Park, their homes were gone, and so was the road to those communities, Old Highway 288 was buried beneath the deep waters of Fontana Lake.The Federal government promised to replace Highway 288 with a new road called Lakeview Drive. Lakeview Drive was to have stretched along the north shore of Fontana Lake, from Bryson City, N.C. to Fontana, N.C. 30 miles to the west.

  3. building lot

    Lakeview Drive was of special importance to those displaced residents, it was to have provided access to the old family cemeteries where generations of ancestors remained behind.Lakeview Drive fell victim to an environmental issue and construction was stopped, with the road ending just at the end of this tunnel, about six miles into the park.

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