Are You Ready for Hurricane Season?

Summer is just around the corner, and so is hurricane season. The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1 and runs through November 30.  With May 5-11 set aside as National Hurricane Preparedness Week, there’s no better time to make sure you’re ready if you live in an area prone to tropical cyclones.

Are you prepared?

According to FDEM (Florida Division of Emergency Management), all Floridians should have a disaster preparedness plan (if you don’t one, this week, National Hurricane Preparedness Week, is the perfect time to develop one) based on their own personal needs as well as an emergency kit to sustain themselves and their family for up to 72 hours after a hurricane strikes.

The most important person to protect your life and property during a hurricane…or any natural disaster is not the firefighter or police officer or a representative from the federal government…it is you. By taking a few simple steps over this next week, you’ll be prepared if you are affected by hurricane this season.

Some initial steps

  1. Determine if you live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone or if your home would be unsafe during a hurricane. If so, determine where you’d go and how you’d get there in the event you have to evacuate. If you have pets, make sure to account for them in your plan.
  2. Get an insurance checkup. Call your insurance company/agent and review your current policy. Are you insured for a hurricane…repairs or if you have to replace your home? Keep in mind standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding. Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ll need a separate flood policy. Flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting to period, so you’ll want to act now. 
  3. Develop a written plan. Begin by identifying an out-of-town contact that all family members know to reach should you become separated. This individual would serve as a contact person for family members to report to and to let them know where they are and that they are safe. Identify a location away from home for family members to meet in case your home is inaccessible. Be sure all family members are aware of this location.
  4. Prepare a disaster supply kit. This would include but would not be limited to the following:

Enough food, canned and dried food or anything easy to prepare and doesn’t require refrigeration, and water, one gallon for each person per day, to last for 3 days.

A manual can opener

Sleeping bags or cots

Flashlights and lanterns with extra batteries

First-aid kit

Bathroom supplies

Medicines (prescriptions and over-the-counter medications)

Soap and hand sanitizer

Rain gear and tarps

Pet supplies

Facemasks

Tools

Cell phone charger

NOAA all-hazards weather radio or battery-powered radio

Credit cards and cash (bring enough cash keep you afloat for at least three days in the event there is no electrical power to operate credit/debit card machines)

Written list of important contacts

Games

5. Get your home ready. Whether you decide to ride out the storm in your home or evacuate, make sure your home is up to local hurricane building code specifications and amply protected from the damage hurricane-force winds can produce (e.g. have plywood on hand to cover windows, trim trees on your property, have a safe place to store loose items such as porch/pool furniture, etc.). 

These steps are a good beginning. But, preparedness comes in all sizes, and you’ll want to customize your plan to meet your individual and collective needs. However, the best plan for everyone is the plan that begins today. To be better prepared to plan for, respond to, and recover from a hurricane, visit hurricanes.gov/prepare.

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