26 Dec 2017

Hurricane damageAmericans who live in storm-prone areas understand the gravity of hurricanes, need for insurance and emergency plans, and have a strategy for survival and recovery. They also read up on meteorology, property risk mitigation, real property market, and emergency management. Some even go as far as taking formal lessons in weather patterns and bunker construction. When it comes to Mother Nature, you can never be too prepared.

People who have experienced a Category 4 or 5 hurricane will describe it as “scary” and “stressful.” Immediately after the hurricane, the relief is only but fleeting. Then the physical and emotional toil sets in as you try to put order back into your lives while trying to keep a lid on the trauma of loss or damages.

On top of having to take care of repairs, there is the added pressure to go back to work and start earning to pay for the unexpected expenses. A homeowner also has to face government officials who start making house calls to inspect homes alongside insurance agents, banks officials or financiers for mortgaged property, and relatives calling to offer or ask for help. In the case of Hurricane Irma, about 1 million homeowners had to survive a week without power while others had to wait for days before they could get help.

The government is constantly improving public service to victims of hurricanes. After Hurricane Katrina, the lessons learned included using the same playbook, enhancing first responder training, building emergency supply inventory way before the hurricane season, and learning to ask for help from the citizens. All lessons the government was able to apply during Hurricane Harvey and other hurricanes that followed.

However, the government cannot be relied on 100% to be the sole protector of the public. Individual homeowners should take the initiative to enhance their personal preparedness to minimize damage and trauma. After all, the government has limited resources and cannot be in all places at one time. Even though authorities are better today with natural calamities, there is room for improvement, especially in relief and recovery.  Recovery takes time.

As homeowners, you can invest in your property with hurricane impact windows and doors, roof ties, and other hurricane protection solutions like a generator. You should also keep your insurance updated, suggest a mobile alert program for the community, and educate families in the neighborhood about safe zones and protecting one’s health against trauma and mental stress.