Central Florida Mamas and those who plan to visit The Sunshine State…Hurricane Season is almost here! I know what you are thinking…What? Already?!? Yes, hurricane season runs from June 1st-November 30th! Last season was pretty active, and this year is expected to be no different. What this means is that it has been predicted that the Atlantic will see an increase of tropical weather systems over the normal amounts in a season. What that means we need to be ready and be prepared!
National Hurricane Preparedness Week was May 6th-May 12th and they have provided excellent tips to get ready. You can take the following steps to get ready, make a family hurricane plan, put together a 72-hour kit for each of your family members, get to know your neighbors (this is my favorite), have your home inspected, and remove any dead trees or bushes from your property.
Here are 5 Steps to Help You Become Hurricane Ready
1. Determining your risk.
Hurricanes are not just a coastal issue, as we know the impact from a hurricane can be felt hundreds of miles inland, and the hurricane doesn’t even need to be a strong hurricane for significant impact. Your goal today is to determine your risk, to begin thinking of what steps you need to take to prepare.
2. Develop an evacuation plan.
If you live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone or are in a home that would be unsafe during a hurricane, you need to have an evacuation plan. You do not have to leave the State or even travel hundreds of miles (unless you want to). You should identify someone a friend or relative that has a safe place to stay out of an evacuation zone. Once identified check with that person to ensure they are truly a viable option. Don’t forget to account for your pets. If the area isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for them. If a friend or relative isn’t an option, explore what type of shelter would be the best option for you and your situation (regular shelter, medical shelter, pet shelter), and prepare accordingly. Once you know your plan, put it in writing for you and your friends and family!
3. Assemble Disaster Supplies
If a hurricane impacts your area you are going to need a hurricane supply kit during and after impact. You need a week’s worth of non-perishable goods, medicine, and water for each person in your home. You need to have some extra cash on hand, a battery powered portable weather radio, flashlights, and a solar or hand crank USB charger for your cell phone. There will be other things that you will want to add to your hurricane kit, and you should! 72 hours used to be the recommended length of time for a hurricane kit to last, however after last seasons significant impact, that has been increased to a week.
4. Get an insurance checkup!
Now is the time to reach out to all your insurance providers. This includes business, homeowners, renters, and car/vehicle/vessel insurances. You want to check your coverage to ensure that major repairs and replacement if needed is covered, specifically discuss hurricane coverage. Also, you need to determine if you need flood insurance or not, flood plains were recently re-evaluated so while you may have not been in one before, you could be in one now. Your business, homeowners, or renters insurance company should be able to advise you on if you are in a flood plain and what type of coverage you need. Flood insurance is separate from other insurances and requires a 30 day waiting period so do not delay. You can also check your flood plain status here: http://www.floodsmart.gov/
5. Strengthen your home.
If you plan to shelter in your home through a hurricane, you want to ensure that your home is ready. You should make sure your home is up to current hurricane code or as close as possible, make sure you have the proper types of window coverings if you plan to board up your windows (cardboard or plastic are not window covers). Don’t forget your garage door, make sure it can withstand high winds, impact, and has a good seal.
Having a plan is essential to managing a stressful situation. I think we can all agree hurricanes qualify as stressful! Knowing where your safe room and 72-hour kits are etc. will help you remain calm. Speaking of 72-hour kits, make sure they include some fun things, chocolate (maybe wine for adults), sunscreen, and bug repellent.
The FINAL and maybe most important step… get to know your neighbors!
Your neighbors are going to be the people you see the most in the days leading up to a storm and the days following a storm. They are going to be the first that reach out to you and vice versa. Your neighbors are like to assist with hanging and removing boards (thanks Mike and Jackie, my neighbors are the best seriously). Checking to see if you made it through okay. Letting you use their generator to power your phone (again thanks to my awesome neighbors). Take time to build that relationship now before the storm, before your nerves are on pins and needles. You will be glad you did, and you may discover you have really cool neighbors!
Many homes sustained damage last year during hurricane season, our roofs in Central Florida took a beating. Hopefully, your roofs have all been repaired. It’s a good idea to have a home inspector come out and look around your home for any areas that may be of concern during a hurricane. They will make recommendations as to what to update in your home. A common update is installing roof straps, which is a lot simpler that it sounds. Also, its important to trim trees back from your house, remove dead trees or bushes and other yard debris (don’t forget to clean your gutters too).
Due to the fact that we just went through and active hurricane season last year, our minds are still fresh on what we need to do and how to prepare. So mamas, we’ve got this!