HARRISBURG, Pa., July 31, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- August starts the height of hurricane season and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Department of Health and Insurance urge residents to always be prepared for the possibility of severe weather.
"We want to remind people to be prepared," said Pennsylvania Emergency Management Director Richard D. Flinn. "Don't wait for severe weather; get prepared now for you, your family and your pets."
Families should prepare for two scenarios in the event of severe weather: to remain in their homes during the duration of a storm or to evacuate if it is recommended by local authorities.
Residents should always have enough provisions in their homes to last at least 72 hours because help from emergency responders may not be immediately available when severe weather strikes.
Other disaster preparedness supplies to have at the ready include:
- Flashlights and extra batteries;
- Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries;
- First aid kit and manual;
- Emergency food and water;
- Non-electric can opener;
- Essential medicines/prescriptions;
- Cash, credit cards and important legal documents; and
- Sturdy shoes.
If residents are recommended by local officials to evacuate, they should do so without hesitating and should take important documents with them, including:
- Driver's license;
- Credit card information;
- Birth certificates;
- Social Security cards; and
- Other forms and documents proving ownership/identity.
Always remember that it's very important to avoid floodwaters. They can be toxic because they might contain sewage, hazardous chemicals, or sharp objects like glass or metal fragments. Floodwaters can also lead to disease, injuries, and infections.
Also, if your house gets flooded, make sure you know what to do to protect yourself and your loved ones from dangerous mold. If your house has been closed up for several days, you should presume your home has been contaminated with mold and take appropriate steps.
"Reviewing your homeowners' insurance policy to make sure you have the coverage you need is a good idea," said Teresa D. Miller, commissioner, Pennsylvania Department of Insurance. "Expensive items, such as jewelry, electronics, or collectibles may exceed the limits of your coverage, and protecting them may require an additional policy."
Miller also emphasized the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value in homeowners' policies. Replacement cost is the amount it would take to replace or rebuild your home or repair damages with materials of similar kind and quality, without deducting for depreciation. Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair or replace damage to your home after depreciation. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recommends insuring your home for at least 80 percent of its replacement value.
Understanding your policy will also help plan for any out-of-pocket expenses, such as temporary living expenses if you can't stay in your home. The NAIC's Consumers Guide to Homeowners Insurance offers more information about homeowners policies.
Miller also reminded property owners that typical homeowners and business insurance does not cover damage from flooding, and flood policies sold through the National Flood Insurance Program require a 30-day waiting period before taking effect.
For more information about flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov
To protect your property with a flood insurance policy, call your insurance agent or call 1-800-427-2419 to find an agent near you.
For more information on how to make a disaster supply kit and how to prepare for all kinds of emergencies, visit www.readypa.org or get the ReadyPA app for free to help you prepare.
MEDIA CONTACT: Cory Angell, 717-651-2169
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Insurance; Pennsylvania Department of Health; Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency