Are you prepared for Florida’s next hurricane season? Hurricane season starts on June 1st and ends on November 30th. In order to make sure you’re ready, it’s best to prepare your home and have a plan long before the severe weather arrives.
1. Plan Your Evacuation Route and Determine the Metrics By Which You Will Evacuate
The first step to keeping yourself and your family safe in the event of a hurricane is to have a plan. This means planning your evacuation route and when you will evacuate well ahead of time.
Planning Your Evacuation Route
It’s best to plan multiple evacuation routes that give you options for the most likely scenarios. It’s also best to determine if you’re going to a shelter, hotel or another family member’s house inside or outside the state. If your family members get separated during the evacuation, determine a safe meeting place. Once you determine your evacuation route and plans for evacuation, put those in writing and in a place that everyone can see, like stuck to your refrigerator or on an app on your phone that’s readily available to everyone in your household.
Know When to Go
Don’t take the wait-and-see approach when it comes to leaving. Set definable metrics that can objectively tell you when you’re leaving. To help you, you can determine at what storm level, what wind speed and what estimated storm surge you will evacuate your home and head to a safer area. This helps prevent last-minute scrambles to get out the door and on the road.
2. Stock up on Emergency Supplies
Whether you’re staying or going, you’ll need supplies, and it’s best to stock up on those supplies well before the storm arrives. This will help you avoid the grocery and hardware store rushes and possibly not getting everything you need.
- An NOAA radio that uses batteries and a hand crank.
- Portable cell phone charging stations
- Extra batteries for everything you need that takes batteries. This includes flashlights and lanterns.
- Emergency Candles and matches or lighters
- Emergency home repair items and tools, including plastic sheeting, plywood, hammers and nails.
- A well-stocked first-aid kit, including sterilization products (alcohol, iodine, hydrogen peroxide, wound cleaning sprays), band-aids, gauze, sterile gloves, hot and cold compresses, wraps or pressure bandages, triple antibiotic, butterflies and superglue
- All your documents, including birth certificates, driver’s licenses, social security cards, passports and medical information
- Charcoal or propane for your grill
Food Items and Medication
- All your prescription and non-prescription medications for your entire family, including your pets
- Non-perishable food that doesn’t need to be cooked, refrigerated or hydrated. This can include granola or cereal bars, crackers, shelf-stable, individual juices and drinks, dried meats and ready-to-eat food. Remember to only buy foods your family will eat. It doesn’t help if you buy a case of canned tuna, and everyone hates it.
- A seven-day or longer supply of drinking water. According to Ready.gov, most people need at least 1 gallon of water per day for drinking, cleaning and washing. However, you should double or triple that amount if you know you use more water than average or have special circumstances that necessitate the need for more water. This means that the bare minimum of water you need for a five-person household for a week is 35 gallons.
3. Inventory All Your Personal Property
Take an inventory of all your personal property, this includes all electronics, furniture, and jewelry, and take pictures of those items. This will help you if you have to make a claim to your insurance company. You can also take interior and exterior pictures of your house and property.
4. Prepare Your Home for a Hurricane (And Keep It Ready)
Make sure objects and even greenery can’t become dangerous projectiles in the event of a storm. Consider replacing gravel and rocks with mulch and bark, which is less damaging if it is flung through the air. Keep trees and bushes trimmed and free of dead branches. Install storm shutters on your home to protect windows. Make sure all your exterior doors are hurricane-proof, especially any sliding glass doors.
Just prior to the storm remove anything that could become a flying projectile from your yard. This includes plants, decorations and outdoor furniture. Seal all vents and gaps in your home’s exterior and close the storm shutters.
5. Review Your Insurance Policies, Including Your Flood Policy
Review your insurance policies and make sure they adequately cover your home. If you don’t have flood insurance or need to raise the limits, it’s best to do that now rather than later. If you’re not sure what your insurance policies cover, you can call your agent and request copies of your policies.
Home Insurance and Flood Policies With Fearnow
If you need new home insurance and/or flood policies in Florida, our agents at Fearnow can help you determine which policies you need and how much coverage you need in order to financially protect you against extreme weather.
To learn more about our insurance policies and how they can help you if your home is damaged by a hurricane or other extreme weather event, give us a call at 813-689-8878.