If you’re new to Florida, it’s important to understand how serious hurricane season should be taken in our southern state. Category 3 and above storms hit our region regularly, and repercussions can be catastrophic if proper precautions aren’t followed.
Here’s a quick list of some hurricane preparedness ideas to prepare before, during, and after the next SWFL storm:
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.
Reinforce Your House
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.
Compile a Hurricane Shopping List
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, including a few day’s worth of your prescription medications
- Batteries for your flashlights, detectors, weather radios, and any health-related devices, such as insulin pumps
- Tarps, plastic sheeting, ropes, and duct tape
- Fire extinguisher
- A portable generator, and the appropriate power source
- Hurricane window covers
Don’t be part of the mad-dash for bottled water or batteries in the lead-up to a storm, only to find empty store shelves. 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 from the Red Cross to ensure you have everything you need!
Don’t Forget Your Generator!
If you have a generator, double check to see that it’s working before a storm hits. If it’s been sitting around collecting dust for months or years, fire it up well before the storm to ensure it’s working properly and not in need of service or repair.
If you don’t have a generator, here are four big questions to ask before buying a home generator.
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.
Don’t forget to double check that you have the following:
- Medical records
- Medical insurance
- Homeowners’ insurance
- Auto insurance
- Flood insurance documents
- Financial records
- Personal information like social security cards, birth, and marriage certificates
Additional Storm Preparations
Once a hurricane warning is announced, do the following:
- Fill any prescriptions so that you have a 30 day supply on hand.
- Top off your car’s gas tank and gather any propane or gas you may need for your generator.
- Make or buy as much ice as possible.
- Charge all electronic devices (laptops, cellphones, etc)— don’t forget cordless power tools as well; you may need them!
- 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.
- Set an evacuation plan and meeting place for your family.
As you are readying your home’s exterior, bring in trash cans, bikes, grills, and lawn furniture, secure swing sets, 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.
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 roads are bad, don’t leave until they have been cleared, and never try to drive through standing water or flooded streets.
If you happen to smell gas, turn off your gas line and 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.
Post-storm, 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.
Get Yourself a Generator!
One of the worst things about hurricane season is losing power for long stretches of time. Avoid being in the dark during the next storm by investing in a long-lasting generator now.
Here are four big questions to ask before choosing a generator. Explore our free Backup Generator Guide to help you choose the right unit, the proper fuel type, and brand for your SWFL home.