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The official Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and ends on November 30. For those on the other side of the country, the Pacific hurricane season began May 15. However, Mother Nature does not stick to a rigid schedule as proven by tropical storm Arlene, which formed on April 15 southeast of Newfoundland. Trying to hedge a bet about how this year's hurricane season will play out based on last year's storms is a risky venture. It is best to be prepared ahead of time.

Trim Those Tree Limbs

If you've been letting the tree pruning go, it's time to get it done. Consult an arborist for proper pruning of trees, and consider whether it might be time for a large tree to be removed. Falling trees and tree limbs are a major risk to your home and the safety of your family during any storm.


Window Shuttering Options

Has it been a while since you checked the supplies and tools you need to install protective barriers over your windows? Are you using plywood? Where is it stored? Is it wet or rotted? It may be time to upgrade to a lighter and easier-to-install shuttering choice, such as corrugated metal or a commercially designed hurricane shutter option.


Tertiary Evacuation Routes

Make sure it's possible to get out if you need to. Security experts recommend redundancy. Secondary planning means having a backup escape route. Tertiary planning means having a third way out. Think of it as a backup to your backup plan in case your primary and secondary routes become congested or unusable for any reason.


Renewing Supplies

Create a checklist of supplies you will need in the event that you have to shelter in place during a hurricane, and make sure that everything is operational. Check the expiration dates on emergency food supplies. If you have a backup power generation source, have it serviced and check its fuel supply. If anyone in your family takes prescriptions or uses durable medical equipment, ensure you have enough supplies to get you through the crisis as well as power to keep the equipment working during a hurricane.


Check Your Insurance Coverage

Have you added an outbuilding or recently bought a couple of new toys such as personal water craft, quads or a big, expensive barbecue grill? If so, you should check that you have sufficient insurance coverage to protect yourself against hurricane losses. In fact, it should be a routine practice to review auto, homeowner and life insurance policies on an annual basis just to make sure you have the coverage you need and that you are not paying too much for it.

Keeping these tips in mind can help get you through hurricane season safely and with minimal damage.

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