(ARA) - With hurricane season underway, those in the South and East are encouraged to revisit their hurricane preparedness plans. While stocking up on essential items - like food and water - and making necessary fixes - like boarding windows - are automatic actions for most, here are a few unique hurricane preparedness tips that homeowners might not normally think of.
* Buy a local/state map: Whether you are waiting out the storm or are forced to evacuate, a local and/or state map is essential. When the power goes out, your GPS might not be fully charged or fully functional, so a map will ease many headaches when either finding the quickest way out of town or getting around closed/blocked roads.
* Do your laundry and dishes ahead of time: Having all of your clothes, towels and dishes clean and ready to go will not only give you more resources during the storm, but you also won't have to worry about finding a place to wash them since you will have lots of clean ones on hand.
* Place towels along window sills and the bottom of doors leading outside: The towels will act as an extra barrier to keep water from seeping into your home. This is especially important for any windows or doors on lower levels and in basements.
* Create a box of things to do: Boredom may not be the first thing that comes to mind when a hurricane is imminent, but whether you're riding the storm out or are staying out of town, you and your family aren't able to stick to your usual routine, especially when the power goes out. Fill a box with books, cards, magazines, crafts and other activities to keep your mind from worrying and your family busy. This is particularly helpful for families with young children.
* Have a backup generator installed: In January and February, most aren't thinking about hurricanes and power outages, but by having a backup generator installed when weather worries are minimal, it can save a lot of headaches come hurricane season. A backup, such as Generac's Guardian Series, is a great option since it automatically kicks in when your power goes out and maintains a sense of normalcy when all else fails. If you prefer a portable generator, such as Generac's GP Series, use the company's manual transfer switch that connects the generator safely to your home's electrical panel. Either way, you have a safe source of power during the outage.
* Invest in hurricane-proof windows: While boarding windows is an important preparedness step, it doesn't guarantee that glass won't break. For extra caution, have hurricane-proof windows installed earlier in the year. The windows are made with an invisible layer of plastic between two glass slabs, so even if the glass breaks, the plastic layer stays intact keeping glass shards from flying around your house.
* Purchase windload and impact-rated garage doors: If hurricane winds bend your garage door it can lift your roof and damage the structure of your home. Installing windload and impact-resistant doors prior to hurricane season will help ensure the structure of your home is protected.
By having a well-rounded hurricane preparedness plan, you have a better chance of protecting your home and family from hurricane damages. Sometimes those preparedness steps you don't normally think of make all the difference, which makes it especially important to plan ahead.