Hurricane season is from June 1st through November 30th, and in Florida, experts are predicting a very active hurricane season. Hurricanes are most active in September and can affect more than 100 miles inland. May is Hurricane Preparedness Month and we have some tips to keep you and your home safe and secure.
Know Your Zone
Is your home in a high-risk area for floods? Knowing this information is important prior to a hurricane making landfall for several reasons. First, whether your home is located in a flood zone or not ill affect your requirement for flood insurance. In addition, when authorities issue evacuation orders, they are announced by zone. Check to see if your home is in a high-risk area here: https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search
When most people prepare for hurricanes, they board up their windows and secure their belongings. But another threat most don’t consider is the potential for floods. You don’t have to live on a lake or the ocean to experience catastrophic floods. Residents in Louisiana and Missouri experienced this with Hurricane Katrina. Even miles and miles inland, homes were devastated after a breach in the levees. In 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall as the 4th most intense tropical cyclone in recorded United States history. It’s important to know that most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage and a separate flood policy should be purchased.
Before the evacuation orders are issued, you should have a plan in place for where to go and when you will leave. In 2018, thousands of Florida residents tried to evacuate the state and spent hours, and in some cases, days, stuck in traffic. In northern Florida and Georgia, hotels were full and residents had nowhere to stay. Experts recommend evacuating inland, even a few miles and don’t recommend trying to leave the state.
Prepare Your Home
Now is a perfect time to trim trees and asses outdoor objects that can become projectiles. Hurricane impact windows or shutters are the best protection for your home. One budget-friendly option is to visit local Habitat For Humanity locations for shutters. A portable generator will help minimize inconveniences and discomfort after the storm should you lose power. You should also have a chainsaw ready in the event trees are down around your home.
Create a Survival Kit
Assembling necessary supplies prior to the hurricane will help you avoid not being able to obtain items when store shelves are emptied by panicked residents. Your hurricane kit should include:
- Flashlights and batteries
- First aid kit
- Backup batteries for cell phones and small electronic devices
- Water – at least one gallon per person for at least 3 days
- Gasoline for generators and propane gas for grills
- Food – a 3 days supply of non-perishable food
- Baby wipes and hand sanitizer
- Fire extinguisher
- Copy of all insurance forms (and other important documents) kept in a safe, waterproof container
Emergency Numbers You Should Know:
State of Florida Emergency Information 24-hour hotline (FEIL): 1-800-342-3557
State Volunteer and Donations Hotline: 1-800-FL-HELP1 (1-800-354-3571)
American Red Cross: 1-800-HELP-NOW (1-800-435-7669)
Florida Power and Light: 1-800-4-OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243)
Florida Department of Elder Affairs: 1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337)
Hurricane Preparedness Resources
A comprehensive guide to hurricane preparedness, including how to strengthen your home, create a family plan, and even protect your important financial records.
A federal website with useful check-lists that will help you create a communications plan and assemble an emergency kit in advance of a hurricane.
Receive alerts from the National Weather Service, get safety reminders, locate open shelters, and the ability to upload photo to assist first responders.
Florida Division of Emergency Management: www.Floridadisaster.org
Florida Disaster Emergency Info: www.floridadisaster.org/info/
Federal Disaster Website: www.ready.gov
National Hurricane Center: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
Glossary of National Hurricane Center Terms: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutgloss.shtml
Florida Hurricane Information: https://floridadep.gov/hurricane
Florida Disaster Legal Services: www.floridalegal.org/disaster
Download a complete supply list from FEMA here: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/90354
Planning and preparation can make all the difference in surviving the storm before, during, and after the next hurricane.