ALEXANDRIA, Va., September 15 - Severe weather from Hurricane Isabel is headed toward the East Coast. With the power outages, pounding rains, and harsh winds that can suddenly attack, dangerous storms can leave behind paths of damage. The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) advises consumers to avert disaster by taking safety precautions that will help protect them and their possessions now and at any time during the year.
Flooding is the most pervasive and costly disaster in the United States. In fact, homes in flood-prone regions are 26 times more likely to experience a flood over 30 years than a fire. Additionally, one-third of flood victims each year live outside designated flood-prone areas.
Prepare for a natural disaster before it occurs by using IIABA's Project Map: Make a Plan -- Your Family's Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing for Natural Disasters.
IIABA offers the following tips for hurricane safety:
• Assemble a disaster supplies kit and heed weather warnings. This kit should include first-aid supplies, non-perishable food, battery-powered flashlights and radio, bottled water, and blankets.
• Inventory your belongings. Keep a hand-written or videotaped inventory of your valuables in a safe place, along with insurance policies and other important documents.
• Make a utilities checklist. Be sure everyone in the house knows how to turn off gas, water, and other utilities if necessary.
• Review your homeowners insurance coverage. Check annually to make sure you are fully protected in weather-related disaster.
• Remove dead branches from trees in or near your yard.
• Bring pets inside, move cars into garages, and secure windows, awnings, and lawn furniture. Driving wind or hail can cause severe damage to these items.
• Watch for flash floods. Never walk or drive through fast moving water. Flash floods can develop so fast and move so swiftly, they can sweep cars away.
• After a severe storm, report downed utility wires and stay out of damaged buildings and areas.
For additional information about various insurance topics, visit www.independentagent.com or www.TrustedChoice.com.
Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products.