Hurricane season runs from June through November, and peaks in August – September, but hurricanes can happen at any time. As tropical disturbances continue developing in the Atlantic and making their way towards Florida, now is the time to prepare for a wide range of emergencies, if you haven’t already.
Here are seven tips from the National Weather Service website to help you get hurricane ready:
1. Determine Your Risk
You may have to face different wind and water hazards depending on where you live. Inland areas can experience flooding due to heavy rainfall while tornadoes, strong wind, rip currents and storm surge can happen along the coast. It is important for you to determine what types of hazards your area may face and start preparing ahead of time on how to handle them. The effects of even a small hurricane can be felt hundreds of miles inland, not just on the coast.
2. Develop an Evacuation Plan
It’s important to know if you live in an evacuation area so you can plan ahead. Figure out where you’ll go in case you are ordered to evacuate and how you’ll get there. Evacuating doesn’t always mean going to a shelter. You may also ask friends or relatives who don’t live in evacuation zones if they’re willing to host you until your home is safe to return to. Please don’t forget to also plan for your pets. If you are ordered to evacuate, you must leave immediately and so must your pets. Keep in mind that most local shelters will not allow pets and figuring out where they can stay ahead of time will save you unnecessary stress once the storm is approaching.
3. Assemble Disaster Supplies
It’s ideal to get your supplies before hurricane season begins and store them. Make sure to get enough water and non-perishable food for you and each person in your family for at least three days. Be sure to also fill your prescriptions and have other medicine on hand for also a minimum of three days. Remember that supplies must last you through the storm and the unpredictable aftermath as well; when electricity and water may be out for days. Gas up your car ahead of time and have extra cash on hand in case networks are down and you are unable to use your credit cards. Last but not least radios, flashlights, batteries and phone chargers are also essentials. If you have radios and flashlights from previous years, make sure to test them ahead of time and replace their batteries, if needed. Also buy extra batteries to have on hand and consider buying a portable crank or solar powered USB charger for your phone.
4. Get an Insurance Checkup
Make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or replace your home. You can do so by asking your insurance company or agent for an insurance check-up and going through your coverage. Standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding but whether you own or rent, you may acquire a separate policy through your company or the National Flood Insurance Program at floodsmart.gov. There’s a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance; act now. Don’t forget your car and/or boat! Prepare your home and vehicles according to your policies and make sure to know where your insurance documents are stored but take them with you if you evacuate.
5. Strengthen Your Home
If you are not in an evacuation zone and plan to ride out the storm in your own home, it’s important you make sure it’s up to local hurricane building code specifications and appropriately protected from the strong winds that come with hurricanes. If you do not have custom installed steel/aluminum shutters or panels, the proper plywood can also be used to board up your windows and doors. Your garage door is the most vulnerable part of your home, make sure it’s well-protected. Trimming trees in your property will prevent damage to your home and your neighbors’. Also make sure to secure loose outdoor items if you are unable to move them indoors and store your car in the safest location possible.
6. Help Your Neighbors
Your neighbors may need more help than you realize, especially seniors living around you. They will most probably need your help after the storm but you can also assist before by collecting supplies or help them evacuate. Please check on them after the storm passes and it’s safe for you to head outside.
7. Complete a Written Plan
Preparing for a hurricane before the season begins is ideal to prevent you from making mistakes under duress once the storm is at your doorstep. Writing down your plan will also help you avoid mistakes and be better prepared for the next storm by simply checking items off your list. Take photos of your valuables for documentation and insurance claims later and keep all your important documents together and easily accessible. It’s also a good idea to share your plan with close family or friends that are not staying with you during the storm in case you need to evacuate in the middle of the storm.
Preparation is Key!
It can mean the difference between you being a hurricane victim or a hurricane survivor.
CHS Bonus Tip
Make sure your loved ones in nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities will be protected during and after the storm. Ask these facilities about their emergency and evacuation plans and whether they are meeting Florida’s generator regulations.
We’ve taken every precaution to make sure our nursing homes, hospitals, and assisted living facilities remain safe with installed custom generators that exceed government regulations. Our priority is to ensure yours or your loved one’s safety, comfort and most importantly peace of mind. Learn more about Catholic Health Services Always On protection.
Here are some additional resources from the National Weather Service
- Maps of evacuation zones courtesy of Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)
- FEMA Make a Plan
- FLASH: Assembling A Disaster Kit
- FLASH Insurance Guide: If Disaster Strikes, Will You Be Covered?
- Find available coverage at floodsmart.gov
- FEMA Mitigation
- FLASH: Prepare your home
- FLASH How-To Videos:
- Protect Your Home From Flooding Video (English/Spanish)
- NHC Prepare
- NWS Hurricane Safety
- FEMA Make Plan
- FLASH Prepare Your Home