HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - One year ago, Hurricane Irene was designated a tropical storm. It went on to kill 56 people and do more than $15 billion in damage.
10 On Your Side is helping keep you and your family safe this hurricane season, using lessons learned from Irene's destruction.
If you've moved, had a baby, got a pet or started taking medication, you need a new hurricane plan. Virginia Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, Terrie Suit told WAVY.com you should check your yard.
"If you've got dead trees at risk of falling on your home or a neighbor's home, now is the time to start taking down those trees," Suit said. "Think about what will happen to your family if a tree goes through your roof."
Suit says the first step in getting ready for hurricane season is to determine your risk. Check the storm surge map for your neighborhood. If you are in the red area, you are most at risk. If your home floods during strong storms, that's also a sign you should have an evacuation plan and flood insurance.
"Check right now into flood insurance because once we're in hurricane season, it can take up to 30 days before you can get flood insurance," Suit said. "When you hear a hurricane is coming you can't just get flood insurance immediately."
If you are not in a flood zone, prepare to ride out a storm. Build a kit with plenty of batteries or a generator, enough food and water for at least three days and any special needs supplies like medications or diapers.
You should also remember that when a storm hits communication is key.
Get the latest updates from WAVY News and WAVY.com and after a storm hits, experts advise texting instead of calling. It's faster and more people can get through the networks, so fewer feel worried and can get help if needed.
Check the Department of Emergency Management's Hurricane Preparedness Guide for more tips.
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