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Hurricane

10 Ways to Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane

The climate experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continue to predict active Atlantic hurricane seasons in the coming years. Therefore, boaters in hurricane-prone regions need to take steps to keep their vessels safe from harm or at least minimize potential damage and injuries. To help, we’ve put together a few important tips:

  1. Move the boat if you can. Protect it if you can’t.
    • If your boat is trailerable, haul it out of the water and move it to a safe location as far from tidal waters as possible and away from trees that could topple. Remember to pull the drain plug and remove electronics on board.
    • If it needs to stay in a marina berth, double all lines and rig-cross spring lines fore and aft, and attach lines high on pilings to allow for tidal rise or surge. Secure the vessel on the offshore side to solid pilings and make sure cleats and other attachment points are strong.
    • If it will remain on a mooring, make sure the mooring is designed to withstand the load that will be placed on it by your vessel. Contact your marina or mooring provider to confirm the maximum load. Inspect chains and swivels that connect to the mooring buoy and double up on the mooring pendant.
  2. Do not stay onboard.During a hurricane, winds can exceed 100 mph and tornadoes are often associated with these storms. If you’re onboard during a bad storm, you are risking your life. Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare, take precautions, and keep yourself safe.
  3. Cover all lines to prevent chafing.Wrap all lines at where lines feed through chocks with tape, rags and rubber hoses or leather. Install fenders, fender boards or tires to protect the boat from rubbing against the pier, pilings, or other boats.
  4. Charge batteries and make sure they can run automatic bilge pumps throughout the storm.Consider adding back-up batteries and shut off all other devices that consume electricity.
  5. Monitor weather broadcasts frequently.
    You’ll need all the time you can get if you need to move your vessel, strip sails, derig and anchor.
  6. Create and maintain an inventory of all items.
    This includes personal belongings you leave on the boat and those you take off. Mark valuable items, so they are easy to find. Consider keeping a video or photographic record of the boat and its contents in a secure location.
  7. Keep documents and insurance handy.
    Consolidate all records in a safe place, including insurance policies, recent photos of the vessel, boat registration, equipment inventory, and lease agreement with the marina or storage facility.
  8. Understand your responsibilities and liabilities.
    Check your lease or rental agreement with the marina or storage facility to see what they cover and what you are responsible for.
  9. Be cautious after a hurricane has passed.Electrical wires could be downed but still “hot” because generators may still be operating. There could be stray electrical current from submerged outlets and/or shore cords in the water, damaged vessel systems, etc. Do not enter the water. Check for leaking natural gas and propane by smell only, not with matches or candles. Check dock lines and mooring pendants, and before you get underway, confirm that there are no submerged objects or debris in your path. Contact local authorities to make sure waterways are safe to navigate.
Hurricane

Protecting Your Art and Other Valuables from Severe Storms, Winds, and Floods

Hurricanes, tropical storms, and other severe weather events happen every year across the country. Without proper care, a major storm or flood event could severely damage or destroy the precious works of art and other valuable items you’ve spent years collecting. With a little bit of planning, you can help ensure your home and collection are ready to weather the storm.

Advance Preparation

Here are a few things you can do before the storm season arrives to help protect your collection:

  • Sign up for Chubb Property Manager. If your secondary or seasonal home is affected by hurricane-force winds and you are enrolled in Chubb Property Manager, we can take action on your behalf to limit the potential for further damage. Check with your agent or broker to confirm whether you are eligible for and enrolled in Chubb Property Manager.*
  • Get your home and artwork ready for high winds. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, install hurricane shutters or impact-rated glass on all perimeter openings. If you have outdoor sculpture, consider a prefabricated, impact-rated solution to protect works from flying debris during a storm.
  • Install a backup generator. A generator should auto-activate in response to a power outage and should be self-assessing. This can help maintain your home’s temperature controls, humidity levels, and alarms. In the event of a natural disaster, distribution lines may be impacted, and supplies may run low. Be sure you have local and regional sources for fuel.
  • Move your artwork. Consider storing artwork at an art warehouse if your residence will be vacant during hurricane season.
  • Check your alarms. Review your home and property annually to ensure that alarm systems, including smoke detectors, are functioning properly.
  • Make repairs. Identify any preexisting water marks, moisture and/or water accumulation, peeling paint, mold, and other signs of physical damage like cracks or buckling floors. Hire a licensed contractor to evaluate the source of the damage, make repairs, and restore the affected area(s) to their original condition.
  • Trim trees. Falling trees and branches can damage outdoor sculpture, landscaping, and other property. Ask an arborist to periodically inspect your trees, remove dead or diseased branches, and maintain their overall health.
  • Coordinate with the fire department. If your residence is gated, consult with the fire department annually to ensure they have access to your property. Share gate codes, consider how they will access gates during a power outage, and make sure they have enough driveway clearance.
  • Regularly review your insurance schedule. Confirm that values are up to date and all recent acquisitions have been added to your policy.
  • Document your collection. Include photographs, detailed item descriptions, and purchase information, including invoices, certificates, recent appraisals, and other paperwork. Maintain a digital backup and make sure your broker has a copy.
  • Develop a list of vendors. You may need specific vendors in an emergency, so put together a list with contact details including email and cell phone numbers. This list should include fine art shippers and handlers, conservators, and art storage facilities.
  • Establish an evacuation plan for select items. Working with a vetted fine art handling and storage company, create a list of priority items for emergency evacuation, and a map with the location of these items in the home and on the property. Your evacuation plan should also include transit plans, prefabricated crates and protective materials for travel, and a secure place for temporarily relocating the collection.
  • Prepare to move items. Store prefabricated custom crates and packing materials on site or in a local storage facility, in case your artwork needs to be moved from your home and stored off site temporarily.
  • Plan temporary on-site storage. For items not evacuated off site and displayed on or near the exterior walls of your home, identify a secure area for temporary storage if a storm approaches. Choose an interior room, away from windows/doors and AC ducts and not directly under roofing. Confirm your backup generator operates all climate control systems for this room.
  • Create an annual maintenance plan for outdoor sculpture. Work with a conservator to put together a plan and confirm that there are no condition or installation issues.
  • Put together an emergency response kit for your collection. Some items may be difficult to obtain once a storm is approaching, so buy them ahead of time because they can be used to help prevent further damage. Your kit should include:
    • Gloves – powder-free nitrile gloves for most art and heavy work gloves for outdoor sculptures
    • Scissors/box cutters
    • Acid-free cardboard, packing paper and painter’s tape
    • Pencils, markers, and notepad
    • Flashlights and batteries
    • Portable chargers for cell phones
    • Fans
    • Extension cords
    • Foam blocks (to elevate artwork)
    • Plastic buckets
    • Wet/dry vacuum
    • Chamois cloth
    • Towels
    • Sand bags and sand (in the event of flooding)
    • Portable generator if you do not have a permanently installed generator
    • Dehumidifier
  • Review your emergency response plan with your property manager and staff annually. Provide professional training for any staff that may be handling artwork.

Final Preparations

Here are some final actions you can take before a storm to help protect your collection from damage. As a reminder, your safety is the most important thing. Please heed all local authorities and stay tuned for updates.

  • Activate your off-site evacuation plan, if you have one in place.
  • Fuel up your generator.
  • Establish a perimeter of sandbags around any area that is prone to flooding.
  • Remove artwork from exterior walls and walls near or facing windows, and temporarily store items in an interior room away from windows/doors, AC ducts and, if possible, not directly under roofing. It is important to note that if walls are made of plaster and become damp, they may not have the structural integrity to support artwork.
  • Store your artwork at least 3 – 6 inches off the floor on sturdy shelving or foam blocks. Do not store valuables below ground or in areas prone to flooding such as a basement.
  • Place small valuable items in plastic waterproof bins and use acid-free cardboard to wrap and protect surfaces.
  • If possible, move outdoor sculptures indoors. For remaining outdoor pieces, install a prefabricated, impact-rated solution or use a nonabrasive protective wrapping to safeguard the sculpture from flying debris. Secure with a wind-rated harness and anchor.

Additional Resources

Visit the following websites for additional guidance and resources to help keep your property, family, and pets safe:

Hurricane

Emergency Evacuation Packing List

  1. Pack your items in crates or bags you can easily carry. You’ll store them in your car but may need to cart them to other locations.
  2. Include food and water for everyone in your household. Three gallons of water per person and a three-day supply of non-perishable food is a good start.
  3. Pack a change of clothes for up to a week and personal hygiene items.
  4. Bundle up what you’ll need for the little ones. Infant supplies, such as formula or milk, bottles, baby food, diapers, and wipes, may be hard to come by, so pack what you’ll need.
  5. Don’t forget your pets. Include food, water, medications, travel crates or cages, leash, and/or litter box and litter for your furry friends.
  6. Remember medication. Pack a supply of prescription medications and eye care, if needed, such as contact solution and glasses.
  7. Carry your ID, important papers, and cards. You’ll want to bring your driver’s license, passport, health insurance cards, legal documents (birth certificates, social security cards, will, vehicle registration and ownership papers, marriage/divorce papers, etc.), financial records, such as bank account information, credit and debit cards, government benefits, retirement and investment account statement, tax returns, as well as copies of your insurance policies.
  8. Include a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, and a flashlight.
  9. Bring your cell phone and charger, along with some cash in case power is out in the area and ATM’s are not available.
  10. If you have time, pack valuables, family photos or other irreplaceable items, laptop computers, etc. If you don’t have room for computers, you can bring just the hard drive or a thumb-drive with your important data stored on it. It’s best to back-up all of your computers to a cloud or put the data on a disk or drive to be stored somewhere safe, ahead of time, so you don’t have to do it in a rush.
  11. Don’t forget a first aid kit with supplies to treat injuries.
Hurricane

9 Ways to Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane

  1. Move the boat if you can. Protect it if you can’t.
    • If your boat is trailerable, haul it out of the water and move it to a safe location as far from tidal waters as possible and away from trees that could topple. Remember to pull the drain plug and remove electronics on board.
    • If it needs to stay in a marina berth, double all lines and rig-cross spring lines fore and aft, and attach lines high on pilings to allow for tidal rise or surge. Secure the vessel on the offshore side to solid pilings and make sure cleats and other attachment points are strong.
    • If it will remain on a mooring, make sure the mooring is designed to withstand the load that will be placed on it by your vessel. Contact your marina or mooring provider to confirm the maximum load. Inspect chains and swivels that connect to the mooring buoy and double up on the mooring pendant.
  2. Do not stay onboard.During a hurricane, winds can exceed 100 mph and tornadoes are often associated with these storms. If you’re onboard during a bad storm, you are risking your life. Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare, take precautions, and keep yourself safe.
  3. Cover all lines to prevent chafing.Wrap all lines at where lines feed through chocks with tape, rags and rubber hoses or leather. Install fenders, fender boards or tires to protect the boat from rubbing against the pier, pilings, or other boats.
  4. Charge batteries and make sure they can run automatic bilge pumps throughout the storm.Consider adding back-up batteries and shut off all other devices that consume electricity.
  5. Monitor weather broadcasts frequently.
    You’ll need all the time you can get if you need to move your vessel, strip sails, derig and anchor.
  6. Create and maintain an inventory of all items.
    This includes personal belongings you leave on the boat and those you take off. Mark valuable items, so they are easy to find. Consider keeping a video or photographic record of the boat and its contents in a secure location.
  7. Keep documents and insurance handy.
    Consolidate all records in a safe place, including insurance policies, recent photos of the vessel, boat registration, equipment inventory, and lease agreement with the marina or storage facility.
  8. Understand your responsibilities and liabilities.
    Check your lease or rental agreement with the marina or storage facility to see what they cover and what you are responsible for.
  9. Be cautious after a hurricane has passed.Electrical wires could be downed but still “hot” because generators may still be operating. There could be stray electrical current from submerged outlets and/or shore cords in the water, damaged vessel systems, etc. Do not enter the water. Check for leaking natural gas and propane by smell only, not with matches or candles. Check dock lines and mooring pendants, and before you get underway, confirm that there are no submerged objects or debris in your path. Contact local authorities to make sure waterways are safe to navigate.
Hurricane

10 Steps to Prepare for a Hurricane

  1. Make a plan
    If evacuation is necessary, turn off all utilities and follow community disaster preparedness plans. Select a common meeting place or single point-of-contact for all family members. If you have pets, have a plan for their evacuation as well.
  2. Secure the exterior
    Trim large trees and shrubs and bring all outside patio furniture, potted plants, bikes and toys indoors. If necessary, secure outdoor sculptures with burlap or blankets tied with rope.
  3. Install storm shutters
    Protect windows, doors and skylights with appropriate shutters or impact-resistant glass. You can nail pieces of plywood to window frames as last-minute protection.
  4. Check wall hangings and art
    Make sure wall hangings are secure and take notes about your art collection and any existing damage. Make sure that art hung on outside walls are taken inside, and elevated off the floor.
  5. Move your cars
    Move cars to higher ground or park them in your garage against the garage doors. Do not park under trees, power lines or in low-lying areas.
  6. Power up
    Fill your car’s gas tank, charge your cell phone, test your generator and have plenty of fuel ready in case of power outages.
  7. Unplug appliances
    Move appliances and household fixtures away from exterior doors and window openings. Store them in cabinets or interior closets.
  8. Store important documents
    Keep important documents, such as legal papers, birth certificates, marriage license, financial papers and insurance policy information, as well as valuables such as jewelry, in a safety deposit box or in a bolted safe in an interior closet in your home.
  9. Prep an emergency kit
    Gather flashlights, a portable radio, extra batteries, non-perishable food, bottled water, cash, blankets, clothing and toiletries.
  10. Identify a shelter room
    This enclosed area should be on the first floor, in the central part of the house with no windows. Avoid all unprotected windows and doors until the storm passes.

For more tips on how to prepare for a hurricane, check out these resources from Ready.gov.

Hurricane

Preparing Your Home and Your Family for Hurricane Season During COVID-19

Amid a pandemic, the thought of preparing for hurricane season, which begins on June 1st, is almost unimaginable. Early predictions from most reputable scientific institutes suggest we can expect a normal to above-normal hurricane season in 2020. With that in mind, there are some basic actions you can take now to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.

Wind, storm surge and wind-driven rain, which are the three main threats of damage from a hurricane, can each cause devastating damage. Therefore, proper preparation includes assessing your home and property for basic vulnerabilities. For starters, consider taking the following important actions:  

  • Check your roof and siding for any leaks or loose shingles.
  • Clean your gutters to make sure they are clean and working properly.
  • If you have a basement or lower-level sump pump or French drain, perform a semi-annual operational test.
  • If equipped, check the storm shutter bolts to ensure they are not broken or inoperable.  
  • Check around your home for evidence of improper drainage. Ensure grading or ground around your home is pitched appropriately so that surface water drains away from your home or other structures.
  • Remove or prune dead or dying trees and branches. This may require the engagement of a local arborist or tree company.
  • Consider the purchase of hurricane supplies for your home and autos, including flood barrier panels, flood bags and custom vehicle bags.
  • Have a plan for storing outdoor furniture and other yard décor.

Additionally, you should prepare an overall disaster plan. Below are some considerations:

  • Outline an evacuation plan in case you cannot shelter-in-place. Due to pandemic-related concerns, local authorities may have revised their evacuation measures from previous years; thus, check with them first on what to potentially expect this year. And if you need to go to a shelter, try to call ahead to check on availability.
  • If you decide to shelter at an available hotel, ask the hotel questions on what it is doing to minimize risk of the continued spread of COVID-19. For example, what precautions is the hotel taking to protect its employees and guests, such as cleaning and social distancing protocols.
  • If evacuating, think ahead about your travel and identify urgent care or hospitals on your route, if you or a family member becomes ill. Also, pack food and water, in the case the area you are traveling to has limited stores available.
  • As soon as possible, create a first-aid/wellness kit with adequate prescription medications and over-the-counter pain/flu medicines, a thermometer, latex gloves and other supplies. Be sure to add extra masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning products. Likewise, create a to-go bag. Be sure to include a floodlamp flashlight and weather radio. Also, bring an extra cell phone charger and ensure that your contact list is up-to-date.   
  • If you are unable to evacuate, identify a “shelter” room in your home. This enclosed area should also be on the first floor, in the central part of the house and with no windows. When the storm gets bad, go there.
  • Experts warn of the possibility of extended power outages due to COVID-19. Consider purchasing a whole-home, stand-alone generator installed by a licensed contractor. For existing generators, now is the time to do a performance test-run and/or service your generator, if needed. Keep in mind that you may be eligible for a policy premium credit for the purchase of a back-up generator.
  • At least annually, consult your independent agent or broker to ensure adequate insurance coverage.

Last, share your plan with your family and other loved ones, and ensure that everyone knows what to do. Remember, we are all in this together, and better times lie ahead.

Suzanne Moyers, CPCU, AIC, is a Risk-Consulting Catastrophe Manager, Chubb Personal Risk Services.

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