Hurricanes present a significant risk for Florida residents. When one of the powerful storms is coming your way, it’s imperative that you take appropriate precautions to mitigate the potential for damage as much as possible. You’ll also need to prepare in the event that you must evacuate or shelter in place.
Create a plan for every contingency to provide you with a check list of actions to take. Decide on a meeting place for every family member and ensure that everyone has pertinent numbers in their phone. If you have pets, don’t forget to plan for their evacuation if you must leave your home – they’re family, too.
Have a copy of relevant documents and/or photos of artwork, weapons, collections and other valuables in a waterproof container if you must evacuate. Documents can be scanned and placed on a USB flash drive for convenience.
Fill your vehicle’s gas tank, charge your phone, and unplug appliances. Test generators to ensure its working and you have fuel. Move vehicles to higher ground or park them in a garage. Never park vehicles under powerlines, trees or in low-lying areas.
Secure the Property
Even small objects can become destructive missiles in the winds of a hurricane. Make sure toys, kiddie pools, garden sculptures, grills and lawn furniture are stored in a garage or outbuilding that can be securely latched. Install impact windows, storm shutters, or cover windows with plywood. If it’s not possible to surround the house with sandbags, at least try to place them around doors and other openings.
Keep Plantings Groomed
Make sure your plantings are prepared. Have dead, damaged or diseased limbs removed. If you have palm trees, have a professional tree service remove any applicable fronds or fruit.
Sheltering in Place
If you must shelter in place, choose a room on the first floor located in the center of the house. Avoid doors and unprotected windows. Be sure to bring your pets into the safe room with you. If you must stay in your home for several days until the storm passes, make sure you have a supply of water and non-perishable food items. Don’t forget a can opener, eating utensils and pet dishes.
Keep a fully-stocked emergency kit – including flashlights – for home use or to take with you if you must evacuate. Keeping one in your vehicles is also advisable. Accidents and injuries are a common occurrence during a hurricane.