What to do when a hurricane is forecast to hit your area:
- Install storm shutters and secure your garage door.
- Move personal possessions to the center of your home, away from windows and doors. Elevate your belongings as much as possible in case water pools on the floor around windows and doors.
- Remove window treatments from windows and French doors. In the event draperies cannot be removed, elevate or secure/encase the lower portion of drapes in plastic.
- Roll up area rugs and move them to the center of your home. Elevate them if possible.
- Place towels at the base of terrace doors.
- Remove all patio furniture from your yard or terrace, and store it in your garage or house. Remove potted plants, lawn ornaments and sculptures and store them indoors.
- Fill the fuel supply for your back-up electrical generator. Test the generator under load to ensure it is functioning properly.
- Place important documents, i.e. insurance policies, bank account information, credit card information, important contact numbers, etc. in a plastic container to ensure their availability after the storm passes.
For more information, visit ready.gov
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Preparing for hurricanes can be the difference between minor damage and catastrophic loss. This week we will focus on what you can do IN ADVANCE OF HURRICANE SEASON. The following information is intended to guide you in your preparation.
- Maintain a relationship with your roofer and contractor. Experience shows that these professionals are in high demand immediately after a hurricane. Having an existing relationship can help facilitate a prompt response.
- Verify that you have storm shutters to protect all openings, including doors, windows and skylights. French, sliding-glass and garage doors are particularly vulnerable to high winds due to their large size. Special attention should be given to protect them:
a. French doors should have at least three hinges on each door and be reinforced with fastening bolts that lock the doors together. Ideally, doors should open “out” to increase resistance against strong winds.
b. Replace sliding-glass doors with impact-resistant door systems.
c. Replace garage doors with structural ribs and a heavy-duty track system designed to withstand high winds.
- Replace standard windows with impact-resistant window systems. Standard glass can be penetrated easily by flying debris; impact-resistant window systems are designed to withstand direct impact by wind-borne objects. They’re also permanent and won’t require pre-storm installation.
- Have storm shutters and anchor bolts professionally inspected annually to ensure they perform as designed.
- Check caulking around windows and doors to ensure no deterioration has occurred. This will help prevent wind-driven rain from entering your home.
- Prune weak branches and trees around your home, and remove limbs that overhang or are too close to the structure. Use hearty native plants in your landscaping design. Use mulch instead of pebbles around plantings (pebbles can cause damage in high winds).
- When making repairs to your roof, verify that its structure and decking are appropriately attached (in accordance with the latest codes) to the framing members of your home. Also verify that rafters and trusses are adequately connected to the walls and foundations.
- Install a back-up electrical generator of adequate size to power the air conditioning system in your entire home, as well as critical electrical appliances and electronics (i.e. your alarm system). If water enters the home, air conditioning can expedite the drying process and help prevent additional damage. Should you already own a back-up generator, have it maintained annually and tested under load to ensure proper operation.
- Make sure drains on terraces and balconies are not clogged and allow water to flow freely.
- Discuss your insurance coverage with your agent or broker. Know what your hurricane deductible is and what your policy covers during a hurricane.
You can find additional information at www.ready.gov/hurricanes
In order to better protect lives and property following Superstorm Sandy and other major recent flooding events, the state has adopted emergency amendments to New Jersey’s Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules that establish minimum elevation standards for the reconstruction of houses and buildings in areas that are in danger of flooding. The following FAQs answer some of the most common questions and will help you determine if you need to elevate and get you started if you need to do so.
If your property was not substantially damaged, you do not need to take any action now. Municipal floodplain administrators make “substantial damage” determinations.
The rule applies to new construction and those property owners whose properties were substantially damaged or are starting new construction. A structure is considered substantially damaged if the cost of restoration equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure prior to the damage.
Recent congressional action resulted in significant changes to National Flood Insurance Program rates. Flood insurance costs, which are outside the control of the state, are likely to be much lower for those who elevate using the state’s elevation standards.
What does the flood hazard area emergency rule do?
The rule, adopted by emergency action on Jan. 24, requires new and reconstructed buildings to be elevated in accordance with the best available flood mapping. This will help protect people and property during future floods. The emergency rule also adopts a new permit‐by‐rule so that people reconstructing and elevating buildings utilizing the state’s elevation standard will not need to secure a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection, nor pay the fee typically charged for a Flood Hazard Area permit. This will save them time and money while spurring quicker recovery from Sandy.
You’re 23x more likely to crash if you text while driving.
WHAT IS DISTRACTED DRIVING?
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.
The best way to end distracted driving is to educate all Americans about the danger it poses. On this page, you’ll find facts and statistics that are powerfully persuasive. If you don’t already think distracted driving is a safety problem, please take a moment to learn more. And, as with everything on Distraction.gov, please share these facts with others. Together, we can help save lives.
Got questions? Visit our FAQ! Want even more information? Look at sample research reports.
Key Facts and Statistics
- In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,267 in 2010. An additional, 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 416,000 injured in 2010.
- 18% of injury crashes in 2010 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
- In the month of June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the US, up nearly 50% from June 2009. (CTIA)
- 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
- 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. (Pew)
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.(Monash University)
- Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (VTTI)
- Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. (VTTI)
- Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. (VTTI)
- Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. (Carnegie Mellon)
Get more information about Distracted Driving at www.distraction.gov
Don’t Drive or Walk Through Flooded Roads. Turn Around. Don’t Drown.
Flooding can occur in almost every part of the U.S. and during any month. In 2012, 39 percent of flood fatalities occurred from driving into flood water and 18 percent from walking into it.
If you’re driving or walking and encounter flood water, turn around. Don’t drown.
It only takes six inches of water to knock over an adult and cause loss of control of a vehicle. A foot of water will float many vehicles and only two feet of rushing water will carry them away, including pickups and SUVs.
The depth of flood water is not always obvious. It can be especially hard to judge at night. The best option is to play it safe and turn around.
Find out what you can do to keep your family safe before, during, and after floods.
(This is an excerpt from an email from usa.gov and the National Weather Service.)
Check out our new Flood Insurance FAQs page
HELP SPREAD WORD THAT DEADLINE IS CLOSING IN…
If you know anyone still struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy please remind them the deadline to register for disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency is Jan. 30.
FEMA disaster assistance may include money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, personal property losses and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.
Click here to read the entire FEMA announcement.