Hurricane season can put a damper on your usual laid-back beach lifestyle.

The best time to prepare for a hurricane is before you need it. Anyone who has rushed around boarding up windows and trying to buy water the day before a storm knows that all too well. But even though the season runs June through November of every year, it still seems like some of the preparations always creep up.

Homes on the east coast have already taken a beating this season So before another storm has a chance to brew and roll in, here are a few ways for you to protect your home and family through one of the roughest seasons of the year.

#1: Check or Create Your Emergency Kit

Emergency kits aren't good indefinitely. If yours is more than a few years old, check the expiration dates of products inside. This is particularly important for any medications inside.

Alert Driver also recommends checking adhesive bandages, as they can take on moisture and the protective wrapping can break or separate. Sterile products sealed in foil, such as alcohol wipes, are probably ok.

A licensed electrician can install a backup generator safely.

#2: Think about Investing in a Generator

Power outages are annoying, even if they only last an hour. When they last for days, which can happen during hurricane season, a generator really helps.

Although you can install your own generator, think about asking a professional to do the job for you. Certain safety measures, such as a transfer switch, are mandatory. If you're not comfortable working with electricity, it's best to let a pro do the job.

If you don't have storm shutters, now is a good time to get them.

#3: Check Storm Shutters or Awnings

Many homes in hurricane-prone areas have built-in storm protection for windows. That saves a lot of trips to the home-improvement store for plywood, and it also saves a lot of work installing and taking them back down again.

If your home has storm shutters or awnings, check for rust and any other weather damage and replace anything, such as hinges, that needs it. Close and lock the devices, too, also looking for any problems. It's better to find out now that hardware is broken than to need it and not be able to use it.

#4: Clean up the Yard

If there's anything worse than losing your trash can during high winds, it's finding out that it landed in your neighbor's swimming pool. You can't predict how powerful any storm might be. So take steps now to clean up your yard and securely store anything that hurricane-force winds could carry off.

Trash cans are probably the most obvious items to lock down, but there are lots of others. Bicycles, garden tools, patio and porch furniture, and garden decor also need a safer spot through storms.

#5: Start Saving Water

You can do without a lot of things, but you can't go without water. And although you can buy bottled water, and you might even be able to find some for sale in the aftermath of a bad storm, there's no reason when you have plenty at your home tap.

If you know that the storm is predicted to be intense, fill up every container that you can find, even the bathtub. But before any hurricane, make a habit of filling up empty gallon jugs and storing them just in case. If you have a chest freezer, freeze the bottled water to help keep frozen items from spoiling if there's a power outage.

You can never tell at the beginning of any hurricane season whether it will be a bad one. Sometimes storms change course, and sometimes they gain or lose momentum before reaching your area. The only thing that you can do is prepare, and the more that you can think of in advance the safer you'll be.

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