Protecting yourself during a hurricane: Safety tips from Royal & SunAlliance

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July, 2006 – It isn’t often that a hurricane severely impacts Canadians; however, when the devastating storms maintain enough strength to hit north, they deliver quite a wallop. But, with a little preparation, you can protect your family, yourself and your home. Royal & SunAlliance, a leading home, auto and commercial insurer, has some advice on keeping safe.

It’s most important that you protect yourself and your family first:

  • Remain indoors, avoiding windows, skylights and glass doors.

  • Listen to radio reports, and follow instructions. If you are told to evacuate, follow the recommended path and do not take shortcuts.

  • If you have access to a cell phone, call your family members to tell them your whereabouts. Leave your cell phone turned on so that people can reach you.

  • Put together a disaster safety kit, which should include a carry case for your pet and appropriate supplies

  • Don’t waste time trying to open windows to relieve pressure – it’s dangerous and unlikely to help.

  • If you are in a mobile home, leave and look for shelter elsewhere.

  • If you are outdoors, lie in a ditch or ravine with your hands over your head to protect yourself from flying debris.

  • If you are in a vehicle, park and exit the vehicle.

  • Store copies of important documents, such as wills and insurance policies, offsite

What to do if your home or business has been damaged:

  • If you lose power, turn off your appliances to avoid a power surge when the power is restored.

  • Do NOT touch electrical wires, appliances or devices

  • Use a flashlight, not a candle, as a source of light

  • Check for any gas leaks and turn the valves off if there is a leak

  • Do not drive through flooded roadways

  • Separate damaged property from undamaged property, and prepare an inventory of what has been lost or damaged

  • Take photographs of damaged property. If covered, Royal & SunAlliance will reimburse you for the cost of the developing

  • Keep receipts for any clean up costs incurred (i.e. shop vac rentals, cleaning supplies, etc.)

  • Your insurance company is there to help. Contact your independent insurance broker or your insurance company to report any damage. If you are a Royal & SunAlliance or Ascentus policyholder, you can call our Claims line directly at 1-800-319-9993.

Protecting your home in the future:

  • If you lose power, turn off your appliances to avoid a power surge when the power is restored.

  • Your exterior door is more likely to withstand the severe winds a tornado brings if it has three or more hinges and a deadbolt.

  • Ensure trees and bushes are trimmed, and remove any dead branches that could fall on your home.

  • Ensure that your property is clear of any toys, lawn or gardening tools.

  • Ensure that the doors of your garden or tool shed are closed and secured

  • Ask a qualified inspector to ensure that your garage door is strong enough to withstand high winds – adding wood or metal stiffeners to strengthen the door.

  • Your roof is another area that is highly susceptible to fierce winds. If you are replacing your roof, ensure that the new roofing cover and sheathing will resist high winds. If you are not replacing your roof, consider gluing sheathing to the rafters and trusses for added protection.

  • Install storm shutters or impact resistant windows. You may also want to place a protective film over your windows to prevent them from shattering should they break.

What to do if your home or business has been damaged:

  • Do NOT touch electrical wires, appliances or devices

  • Separate damaged property from undamaged property, and prepare an inventory of what has been lost or damaged

  • Your insurance company is there to help. Contact your independent insurance broker or your insurance company to report any damage. If you are a Royal & SunAlliance policyholder, you can call our Claims line directly at 1-800-319-9993.

“Our primary concern is for the safety of you and your loved ones. We encourage you to follow the instructions of local authorities during a hurricane, or any other natural disaster. Should your property sustain damage during a hurricane, be sure to document the damage and call your insurance broker or insurance company to report the damage. We’re here to help in times like these,” says Irene Bianchi, Vice President of Claims at Royal & SunAlliance.

For additional information, visit www.royalsunalliance.ca.

About The Royal & SunAlliance Canada group

The Royal & SunAlliance Canada group includes Roins Financial Services Limited, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, Quebec Assurance Company, Johnson Inc., Western Assurance Company, Ascentus Insurance Ltd. and is part of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group plc. The Royal & SunAlliance Canada group employs more than 2,500 people and is represented by a large network of independent brokers across the country. In 2005, the Canadian Group wrote $1.4 billion in direct premiums with assets exceeding $4.5 billion. Internationally, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group plc employs about 24,000 people and transacts business in more than 130 countries with assets of approximately $50 billion.