Considered by NASA to be the most violent storms on Earth, hurricanes are the greatest natural disaster risk across Florida. Hurricane season lasts from June 1 through the end of November, peaking in the late summer and early fall when the Atlantic ocean is at its warmest.
Hurricanes over the years have caused billions of dollars of damage over the years and numerous fatalities. 2017’s Hurricane Irma was the costliest storm to ever hit Florida, causing over $50 billion in damage and nearly 100 fatalities.
Ready to get prepared? Follow these tips and tricks to protect your family and property during the 2019 hurricane season.
Have a plan
If you live in a low-lying or coastal area, find out ahead of time where the evacuation centers are located in your area, and map out several routes for getting there.
If you haven’t received an evacuation order or don’t plan to evacuate, figure out the safest area of your home to ride the storm out in. Under the stairs of a two-story home is ideal, but any small interior, windowless room (like a closet) also works.
Protect your assets
Be aware of exactly what your homeowner’s insurance policy covers. Document assets and take pictures in case you need proof for a future claim. Store the documents in a waterproof container, somewhere elevated and out of risk for flooding, like on top of a closet shelf.
Gather the necessary supplies
Putting together a supply kit ensures your family will have everything it needs in the event of a storm, and also that all your supplies are in one place in case you need to quickly evacuate. Make sure to prepare your kit before hurricane season starts to avoid the stress and supply shortages that come when a hurricane is forecasted to hit.
Be sure to include at least a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food for each member of your family, including pets. Don’t forget a manual can opener! Also pack personal hygiene items and a first-aid kit, including extra supplies of any medication needed. Battery-operated radios, flashlights, extra batteries, matches, and lighters are important too.
Be sure to store your most important documents (birth certificates, passports, home deeds, insurance policies, estate planning paperwork, etc.) in a waterproof plastic bag, along with cash. Items like books and toys to keep kids busy are important too!
Secure the outside of your home
Trim branches to minimize damage in the event of fallen trees. Move any outdoor furniture to the garage, and immobilize any other loose objects that could become dangerous if airborne.
Fill your vehicles with gas
Don’t wait till the last minute to do this, as lines can be horrendous and shortages due occur! If you have a generator, be sure to have an extra supply of gas for it as well.
In the event of an imminent hurricane, turn your fridge and freezer down
Putting your fridge and freezer on their coldest possible settings keeps food fresh for as long as possible in the event of a power outage. Do this about 6 hours before the hurricane is forecasted to hit, and any perishable items that can be frozen, place them in the freezer.
Fill bathtubs and sinks with water
Keep in mind, this water is for washing and flushing only if water service is disrupted or there is damage to a pipe.
By following these simple tips, you’re sure to keep your family and property safe this hurricane season!