NASHVILLE – Ahead of the arrival Monday night of Hurricane Irma, which is now a tropical depression, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) shares safety reminders to help ensure that Tennessee consumers are safe in the face of Irma’s expected high winds and rainfall.
Forecasters predict parts of Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi can expect 2 inches to 4 inches of rainfall while the storm’s winds are now at 65 miles per hour. The storm’s center is predicted to be near Jackson around 2 a.m. on Wednesday.
“While Irma might be downgraded to a tropical depression, the storm is still very powerful and poses potential risks to Tennessee consumers,” said TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “We urge Tennesseans to take precautions now in order to prepare for its arrival.”
The Department shares the following safety tips:
- Make sure you have bottled water, a first-aid kit, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, personal hygiene supplies, a cell phone charger or solar charge, and a small amount of cash as well as ATM and debit cards.
- Be informed of local weather broadcasts and have multiple ways to receive weather information and warnings, such as a weather radio.
- Do not drive or walk through high water. Remember: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
- Do not attempt to move any downed power lines.
- For personal safety, identify what storm shelter is available to your family and prepare an evacuation plan. Choose two meeting places: one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire; and one outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.
- If you need to evacuate your home, turn off all utilities and disconnect appliances to reduce the chance of additional damage and electrical shock when utilities are restored.
- If you are without power and using a fuel-powered generator to supply electricity, remember that generators should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from any windows, doors and vent openings.
- Never use a gas generator inside your home, garage, carport, basement or crawlspace. Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector .
- When possible, use a flashlight—not a candle—for emergency lighting.
- If you use candles, ensure they are contained in a sturdy holder and placed them at least 12 inches from anything that can burn.
- Never leave a burning candle unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave a room or the home or go to bed.
- Keep a readily available list of 24-hour contact information for your insurance agent and insurance company.
- Make a list that includes your policy numbers (both home and auto), your insurance company and insurance agent’s phone numbers, website addresses and mailing addresses. Also, check to see if the company or your agent has set up an emergency information hotline, in case of storm damage. It is a good idea to store this information, and a home inventory, in a waterproof/fireproof safe or a safe deposit box. Also consider sending an electronic copy to someone you trust. If you have to evacuate your home, you want this information to be easily available to you.
- A home inventory can be invaluable when deciding how much insurance your life situation requires to adequately insure your home in the path of a natural disaster. Digital tools such as the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s MyHome Scr.APP.book lets you quickly capture images and descriptions of your belongings to help determine how much insurance you need and for filing a claim. For those without a smart phone, the NAIC offers a downloadable home inventory checklist and tips for effectively cataloguing your possessions. Both are available at http://home.insureuonline.org.
If your property sustains any damages, please see our tips on hiring contractors and filing insurance claims here.
To donate or volunteer, contact the voluntary or charitable organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (NVOAD) at http://www.nvoad.org
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), along with non-profit, faith- and community-based organizations, and volunteers are working together to provide services and assistance to help those affected by Hurricane Irma. More Information is available at http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2017/09/09/how-volunteer-hurricane-irma-disaster-relief.