02 Jun Hurricane Preparation for New Floridians
If you’re one of the thousands of new Floridians who moved here in the last 18 months you need to be prepared for a hurricane and you need to do it now. Waiting is not an option. Remember how the store shelves cleared out during the pandemic? The same thing happens when a hurricane is approaching so you need to do your basic preparation now.
Make A Plan
The first thing you need to do, while clearer heads prevail, is draw up your plan of action if a major storm is headed your way. You basically have three options.
- Shelter in place
- Prepare your home and go to a local shelter
- Prepare your home and evacuate the area.
PROTECT YOUR HOME
Regardless of which option you choose, securing your home is imperative. Hurricanes last hours, if not days, and a direct hit can cause catastrophic damage. Your windows and doors are the weakest points. At a minimum, you need to cover your windows to prevent flying debris from crashing in.
If you’ve never experienced a hurricane, here’s a quick primer. Most of the damage occurs from the wind and rain. Once a home is breached, the damage increases tenfold. Flooding occurs and, after the storm, mold and mildew ensue. Even worse, if the wind builds pressure inside the home it literally lifts the roof and collapses the walls, a total loss.
If you have hurricane shutters (or some other covering) great. If not, boarding them up is the next best option. Choose 5/8″ plywood if available. Despite photos of people crisscrossing duct tape, it’s been proven to not be effective. Of course, hurricane impact windows are the best defense.
If you don’t have time to order shutters, shields, or impact windows this hurricane season the best thing you can do is buy plywood now and cut it to fit your window openings so you are ready when a storm approaches. The other reason to buy now is, by the time a storm is on its way, plywood prices soar and it quickly becomes scarce.
SHELTERING IN PLACE
You may have heard of “Hurricane Parties” but riding out a hurricane is no joke. If you choose to remain at home for the duration of the storm you need to be well prepared. Make a plan for worst case scenario. Find an interior room away from windows and doors. Know that you will most likely lose power so have plenty of batteries on hand.
Riding out a hurricane can be scary but it’s the aftermath you need to have supplies for. It can sometimes be weeks before power and water are restored, the roads are cleaned of debris and stores open. Have plenty of bottled water, non-perishable food, and medications on hand. You’ll want a power supply to at least charge your phone whether it be a generator, batteries, or solar. If you use you car, have a few extra cans of gas.
Here is a great resource on what to have if you are going to shelter in place. From the National Hurricane Survival Initiative.
GOING TO A SHELTER
You may need to go to a shelter to be safe. For instance, you live in a flood zone and storm surge will be over 10ft. Maybe you can’t properly secure your home or you live in a mobile home. It’s best to find the locations of the shelters near you, just in case. Not all take pets, so check beforehand. It’s not unheard of that a CAT 3 has suddenly turned into a CAT 5, changed course, and is coming directly at you and a shelter is a better option than home.
These are the counties we serve. If you county is not listed please click here to find the emergency services for your county.
If it’s a big storm evacuation may be the safest option. Things can be replaced, people cannot. Sometimes it’s mandatory.
- Know your evacuation route.
- Fill up you tank as soon as you hear about the storm and have extra on hand.
- Have a list of all the things you need to take with you
- Secure your home before you leave
LOTS of people will be evacuating so be prepared to sit in traffic for a long time.
We highly recommend further reading on this.
The CDC has a great post about this with further reading and help knowing what you need to gather for supplies now, before the storms.