Summer in Florida can be a blessing and a curse. We’re lucky to have so many beautiful days, but we also know all too well that hurricane season is officially upon us.
Though most Floridians are no strangers to hurricanes, it is important to be prepared ahead of time so your family will be safe if a disaster strikes. Here are some tips to help you get ready for hurricane season:
Make a Hurricane Plan for Your Family
Even with today’s sophisticated weather technology, hurricanes can be unpredictable. Sometimes your city might seem like it is in the clear until the very last moment when the storm takes a turn toward you. That’s why it’s important to have a hurricane plan.
Your plan should center on communication so the whole family is on the same page. Consider things like:
- Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do in case you aren’t together when the storm hits
- Plan safe locations to weather a storm and potential evacuation routes in case it comes to that
- Figure out a communication plan to let family members know you’re safe, keeping in mind that internet and phone lines may not work during a hurricane
- Have printed contact information for each family member in case your cell phones die
- If you have pets, make sure you know where pet-friendly shelters are in case of evacuation
To get free emergency plan templates that you can download and print, go to ready.gov/make-a-plan.
Protect Your Home
After you have a plan to keep your family safe, your property is the next area to focus on. Make sure you understand your insurance coverage in the event of a hurricane. If you aren’t adequately protected, you may want to consider additional insurance coverage.
For example, homeowner’s insurance may not cover flood damage. Since Florida is surrounded by so much water, flooding is a common side effect after a hurricane. If your home is at risk for future flood damage, flood insurance could help.
When a storm is heading your way, there are also some practical ways to help protect your home, such as:
- Bring in outdoor furniture and any other outdoor item that could get thrown by the wind
- Trim your trees and get rid of dead branches
- Board your windows
- Keep your important documents in a waterproof container
- Move furniture and heavy items away from your windows
Don’t forget about your vehicles as well. If you have a garage or somewhere safe to park them during the storm, that’s ideal. Leaving them parked on the street or your driveway means they could get damaged by strong winds or flooding. Always fill up your gas tanks before a major storm.
It’s smart to buy hurricane supplies at the start of hurricane season so you’ll be prepared in case of an emergency. Shopping for supplies can be hectic right before a big storm, so early preparation can make life much easier.
Some supplies to keep handy include:
- Battery-operated flashlights and extra bulbs
- Battery-operated radio
- Batteries (in various sizes)
- First aid kit
- Duct tape
- Non-perishable food (and pet food)
- Any necessary medication
- A generator
- Storm shutters or material to board your windows
- Pet supplies (water, bowls, leash, kitty litter, etc)
Don’t forget to keep some cash on hand in case power outages make you unable to use credit and debit cards.
Make a plan and stay safe this hurricane season!