This weekâ€™s â€˜Beyond the Headlines,â€™ on Click2Houston.com focuses on hurricane preparedness. Host Kim Davis gets tips on power outages, flood insurance and using social media to communicate with friends and family in the event of an emergency from guests Floyd LeBlanc of Center Point Energy, Frank Crystal & Company insurance broker Kenneth Beaman and our very own Ed Schipul.
Now is the time to apply for flood insurance
- The National Flood Insurance Plan has been reinstated by congress.
- Wind insurance in coastal counties is difficult to get. Alternatives include obtaining a homeowner policy excluding wind, then applying for wind insurance through organizations like the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.
- Talk to a professional, independent insurance broker who knows the details of your contract. Donâ€™t hesitate to ask questions.
*Expert Tip: 45-35% of hurricanes happen in areas that arenâ€™t expected to have them. Once an area is under threat from a storm, insurance companies issue a moratorium and halt the purchase of policies. Itâ€™s important to stay current on your payments as you may not be able to reinstate your policy during a moratorium.
Expect power outages during Hurricane and Tropical Storms
- Have a plan that anticipates extended power outages from Severe Weather
- Consider staying with relatives in other areas that may receive power sooner than your area.
- Be prepared to be without power for up to 2 weeks
*Expert Tip: Air conditioning accounts for about 70% of electric bill. To reduce your bill, raise the thermostat or turn off the a/c when youâ€™re not home. Also, change filter every month and use ceiling fans to keep air flowing freely.
Think Ahead for Emergency Planning
- Have an actual road atlas in case you need to evacuate. Map applications on your phone may not work due to communication overload and the need to preserve power.
- Consider services like Yammer.com that allows you to communicate via mass text message for communicating with employees.
- Families may consider Geni.com for locating loved ones following a disaster. Itâ€™s not uncommon to lack important details about family members, neighbors or loved ones.
*Expert Tip: Cell towers have their own power generators that permit text messages to work when data packages on cell phones donâ€™t. If you canâ€™t access social media sites via mobile web apps, you can communicate by texting to sites like Twitter. This will alert people outside your area who can use the web interface that youâ€™re ok.
For more information, contact the Schipul offices for help with your social media consulting for your small business or family plans.