Over the last 10 years, hurricanes have caused more than $300 billion in damage to homes and businesses, affecting tens of millions of Americans.

"While it's impossible to prevent a hurricane, there's a lot homeowners can do to prepare for the damage they can cause and to help minimize disruption and loss," says Peter Duncanson, director of disaster restoration training for ServiceMaster Restore. "From developing an evacuation plan to making small investments around the home, homeowners can take simple steps to make sure they're prepared in the event a hurricane hits their area."

Below are tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore on how to prepare for a hurricane:

Communication is Key – During a hurricane, power and cell phone tower outages are common, literally breaking down lines of communication. One of the best and easiest steps to help prepare for the worst is to communicate your evacuation plan in advance to friends, family and loved ones.

Secure the Basic Necessities – When preparing for something that could likely uproot you and your family from your home – or leave you without the option of going to the store – be sure to have at least one week's worth of the basics: water, non-perishable food, medicine and clothing.

Protect Your Investment – If you have to evacuate your home, make sure to protect what's left behind, including insurance and financial documents. Make a list of your possessions and take pictures of everything inside and outside your home. Keep copies of important financial documents and insurance policies with you, so you have a record if you need it.

If a Hurricane Strikes – Never underestimate the power or strength of a hurricane and make sure you're prepared to the best of your ability. If you have to evacuate, do it. If you need help during the cleanup process, call a professional like ServiceMaster Restore, which has the experience, resources and expertise to work with you and your insurance company to help restore your home to normal.

Source: ServiceMasterRestore.com.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.