Hurricane season has begun and will continue until the end of November.  While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has called for a near normal Atlantic Season, one cannot forget the impact of such recent storms as Katrina and Sandy and the destruction that followed.  Joe Nimmich, FEMA’s associate administrator for Response & Recovery warns, “It only takes one hurricane or tropical storm making landfall to have disastrous impacts on our communities.”

NOAA predicts the 2014 Atlantic season will produce 8-13 named storms, 3-6 hurricanes and 1-2 major hurricanes and has published measures for you to follow to prepare your family and your home.  We have also put together a list of tips to protect your air conditioning system in the case of such a storm.

Prepare Early to Minimize Impact  Create and record a family emergency plan.  Where will you and your family go in the case of an evacuation?  Will your pets be welcome there?  The National Weather Service and American Red Cross each have free online resources to assist you with planning.

Gather Supplies  Put together a supply kit to include items essential for your family’s survival in case of a severe storm.  Your kit should include one gallon of water per day for each member of your family, canned and boxed nonperishables, 7 day supply of all medication, batteries, flashlights, candles, matches, a first-aid kit and weather radio.  Visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes for a more exhaustive list.

Check Your Sump Pump to prevent your basement from flooding
• Look for and remove any built up sediment
• Check the battery backup sump pump to ensure it is working.
• If you don’t have a backup, a water-powered one is an excellent choice.  In the case of an extended power outage, you will want your sump pump to continue working.

Batten the Hatches and secure your outdoor air conditioning unit
• Turn off your air conditioning system at the thermostat as well as the circuit breaker, in case of a power surge.
• Tighten the bolts that secure your outdoor unit to the base and use hurricane straps to secure your system and protect it from movement.
• Move loose objects indoors and be especially careful to remove any objects that could damage the system.

After the Storm has Passed
Once a hurricane is over, it is especially important to inspect your outdoor condensing unit for any signs of damage.  You should look for areas that have appeared to be cracked or impacted, any movement or shifting, flooding or saltwater damage.  If you see any signs of damage, your air conditioner may be unsafe to operate.  Call a licensed professional to inspect your system before turning it back on.

Sources:
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2014/20140522_hurricaneoutlook_atlantic.html
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/