Southwest Florida has already experienced a significant hurricane this season, but it doesn’t mean that it’s time to let your guard down. The potential for severe weather is still present. With that in mind, it’s important that you take the necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe and out of harm’s way. It’s best to think of preparations now, because if your mind is in a fog, the opportunity to be ready for a severe storm could be mist!
Before the Storm
The best time to prepare for a storm is before a storm is expected. When you gather everything in advance, you won’t have to fight the crowds that inevitably form when a severe weather event is in the forecast.
What do you need to buy? Your first stop should be to the hardware store. Reinforcing the framing in your roof and buying protection for your windows will keep your house in the best condition possible when high winds hit.
It’s just as important to stock up on supplies to have on hand in case of a major weather event. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the items that you should keep ready for a hurricane or strong storm:
- Bottled water
- Nonperishable food and/or canned food (Don’t forget a hand-operated can opener!)
- A battery-powered weather radio
- A basic first aid kit (You may also want to keep a few day’s worth of your prescription medications in here as well, just in case)
- Battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Batteries (for your flashlights, detectors and weather radios!)
- Batteries for any health-related devices, such as insulin pumps
- Tarps, plastic sheeting, ropes, and duct tape
- Your home’s water cutoff key
- Fire extinguisher
- A portable generator, and the appropriate power source
- Hurricane window covers
Keep these items on hand at all times. It will mean less panic and frenzied preparation in the days before a major storm. Don’t be part of the mad dash for bottled water or batteries in the lead-up to a storm, only to find store shelves empty.
Being prepared ahead of time means you will have more time to stock up on the smaller (but still important) items later. Here is a helpful checklist we found that you can keep with your hurricane preparations so you can ensure you have everything you need!
Here are some backup generators that we recommend as being reliable and safe. If you have a generator, double check to see that it’s working before a storm hits. You can find ways to make simple repairs to portable generators here, but if you have questions about generators, we are happy to help.
You have options available to you. While portable generators are effective and certainly worth your consideration, you may also want to think about the safety and security of an automatic backup generator as well. If you decide that an automatic backup generator is the right choice for you, it’s important that you have it professionally installed. When you rely on trained professionals for installation, you know for sure you can rely on your automatic generator to work (and work safely) when you need it most.
Being as prepared as possible will help to keep you and your loved ones safe in the event of a dangerous weather situation. While the weather is obviously beyond our control, how you prepare for it can make all the difference for your family.
When the Hurricane is On Its Way
Once you know a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching, you can begin to gather your final necessities. This is the time to fill any prescriptions you may run low on in the days (and weeks) after a storm. Additionally, top off your car’s gas tank and gather any propane or gas you may need for your generator. Make as much ice as possible and charge all electronic devices (laptops, cellphones, etc)— don’t forget cordless power tools as well, as you may need them!
Take the time to trim all trees near your home. This will ensure that there aren’t any branches close to your house that could really do some damage. As you are readying your home’s exterior, bring in trash cans, bikes, grills, and lawn furniture, secure swingsets, and move as much as you can into your garage or a secure outbuilding. Not only will this protect your items from damage, but it will keep you and your neighbors safe from any extra potential flying debris too.
Cover your windows, and gather important information, including:
- Medical records
- Medical insurance
- Homeowners’ insurance
- Auto insurance
- Flood insurance documents
- Financial records
- Personal information like social security cards, birth, and marriage certificates
As you are readying yourself and your home for the storm, set an evacuation plan and meeting place for your family. It doesn’t hurt to have these plans already laid in place. Severe weather can be scary, and the more prepared you are, the less likely you are to panic. Keep this to-do list handy and check it twice!
After the Storm
Once a storm has passed, you aren’t quite in the clear yet. Be sure to continue listening to your weather radio for advisories. If your home is a safe place, don’t leave until all danger has passed, and don’t enter any buildings that appear to have structural damage. If you happen to smell gas, turn off your gas line, and double check to make sure your sewer system is running before flushing any toilets. There’s a lot that can be damaged in a hurricane or severe storm, and things may not be working properly.
If roads are bad, don’t leave until they have been cleared, and never try to drive through standing water or flooded streets. Avoid downed power lines and keep a lookout for snakes or other wild animals. They just experienced a major storm too, and could be scared or agitated.
Cover damaged roofs to prevent additional damage, remove wet carpet, as it could become a health hazard, and document all damage by taking photos. You’ll also want to contact your insurance agent before making any repairs or hiring anyone to make repairs for you.
Need help preparing for a hurricane or severe weather situation? We can help! Contact us today!