Hurricanes are nothing new for Floridians, but we can never be overly prepared. No matter how many hurricanes you’ve been through, it can be stressful. In our previous article, 5 Tips to Stay Prepared for Hurricane Season, we discussed the importance of having a Hurricane Plan, supplies, and reviewing your auto and property insurance policies. Peak season runs through the end of October, and officially ends on November 30.
With over 20 years of experience helping property owners with hurricane and storm damage repairs, construction and restoration work, our team at Venture Construction Group of Florida (VCGFL) knows how stressful it can be. Here are a few tips to stay prepared before, during, and after a hurricane.
Before the Hurricane
- If your local officials order evacuations, go.
- Stay tuned to the local and national news.
- Check out our guide: 5 Tips to Stay Prepared for Hurricane Season
- Make sure you have your Hurricane Plan in place and that you’ve communicated with family and friends. Remember supplies and accommodations for your pets!
- Gather supplies ahead of time including food, water, first aid kit, can opener, solar or battery operated radio, flashlight, batteries, and protective clothing.
- Fill up your gas tank.
- Stop by an ATM and get some cash so you’re prepared after the storm. Banks may be closed.
- Know your evacuation route.
- Be sure to take photos of your belongings.
- Ensure you have copies of your insurance policies with you.
- Fill large containers and appliances with water. You can also fill the bathtub and sinks. This will help maintain water supplies during the hurricane for cleaning and flushing toilets.
- Consider purchasing a generator if you plan on staying in your home, just in case the power goes out.
- Know how and where to turn off electricity, gas and/or propane if needed.
- Secure your property.
- Inspect your property and roof before the storm.
- Strap down your roof. Use hurricane straps or clips to fasten your roof to the structure to reduce roof damage.
- Protect attached structures including balconies, decks, patios, carports, and sheds and ensure they are in good condition and firmly attached.
- Board up your windows. If you don’t have shutters, it is recommended to use 5/8” marine plywood or exterior grade plywood. Use heavier plywood to cover large pieces of glass, such as sliding patio or balcony doors and pool enclosures. Permanent storm shutters offer the most advanced protection for windows. Note: Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Provide extra protection from heavy wind gusts by installing head and foot bolts on your doors.
- Clear clogged and loose rain gutters and downspouts to prevent flooding.
- Test drains and sump pumps and ensure they are in good working condition.
- Bring in all outdoor items that could blow away or fly around and cause further damage.
- Trim trees, shrubs and vegetation around your property to reduce flying debris and minimize risk. Immediately before a hurricane, you can also tie down small trees and shrubs to help prevent uprooting.
During the Hurricane
- If instructed by authorities, evacuate if you haven’t already done so.
- If instructed by authorities, go to a shelter if you haven’t already done so.
- If instructed by authorities, turn off utilities.
- Avoid using the phone when possible.
- Avoid low-lying and flood prone areas.
- Stay indoors during a hurricane. The devastating wind gusts can cause major equipment and debris to fly around and it can be deadly.
After the Hurricane
- Listen to your weather station to monitor weather conditions and find out when it’s safe to go outside.
- Check in with your family and friends.
- Check your surroundings. Be careful of downed power lines. Avoid standing water, it can still hold electrical charges from downed electrical wires.
- Be aware of flood prone areas when walking or driving. Do not drive in flooding water.
- Avoid drinking tap water until officials say it’s safe to do so.
- Make sure to get your property inspected as soon as you can to mitigate further deterioration and destruction.
Hurricane Preparedness Resources
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- FEMA App
- FEMA Business Hurricane Toolkit
- FEMA Emergency Supply List
- FEMA National Flood Insurance Program
- National Hurricane Center
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Evacuation Zone Finder
- National Weather Service
- National Weather Service Definitions: Watches, Warnings, Advisories and Outlooks
- National Weather Service Hurricane Tips
- Gov Phone Alerts
- Ready.Gov Hurricane Supply Kit List
Photo Credit: Astronaut Ricky Arnold/Twitter