As hurricane season approaches, now is the time to make sure you’re well-prepared in case one comes our way. The Atlantic Hurricane Season will begin on Monday, June 1st, and here are some tips for better preparation in Florida.
Some homeowners downplay the risks associated with hurricanes and fail to take the necessary preparation measures. Such people tend to wait until the skies cloud up, and relevant authorities deploy warnings to make preparations.
There are numerous benefits of getting prepared for hurricanes early in the season. One of the benefits of preparing in advance is that you’ll not need to worry about long lines to buy emergency provisions. In some cases, if you wait until the last minute, you may not get what you need.
If the storm hits, media platforms always show shoppers in affected areas scrambling to purchase essential commodities such as food and water. Also, you’ll have enough time to refine your emergency measures. Additionally, you’ll have time to test the procedures before you need them.
Preparing in advance will also enable you to develop a sound evacuation plan in advance. You’ll have time to identify the ideal locations for you and your family to meet after the disaster. Also, homeowners can develop effective communication plans for their family members and take appropriate measures to fortify their homes before hurricanes hit. Here are the 10 tips for better hurricane preparation in Florida:
1. Make Evacuation Plans
Hurricanes may necessitate evacuations. Depending on the severity of the disasters, authorities may allow several days for you to prepare or recommend immediate evacuation. Proper planning is crucial to ensure that you can evacuate quickly and safely irrespective of the prevailing circumstances.
Make plans of how to leave your residence and where you’ll go if you’re advised to evacuate. Contact the local officials and inquire about the available shelter spaces. Currently, the community plans may be different due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you evacuate to a public facility, ensure that you stick to the latest guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Also, identify places you can go after the disaster, such as a friend’s home in another area. If you have pets in your home, choose destinations that accept them. Usually, public places only accept service animals. Familiarize yourself with alternative routes and means of transport from your residence.
2. Get More Non-Perishable Supplies
Hurricanes may result in power failures, and your refrigerators may not be helpful at that time. Experts recommend homeowners to stock up non-perishable food to make sure they have plenty to take if the disaster results in a power outage.
Many people wait until the last minute to purchase foodstuffs that won’t spoil as they acquire other necessities. Note that stores may run low on the commodities if you wait too long. Most homeowners don’t think about having food in containers that can be opened even when there’s a power blackout. Some of them may buy canned food even if they only have electric can openers.
Consider using plastic silverware and paper plates during the hurricane season as your dishwasher may not work due to power outages. Also, hurricanes may lead to the contamination of water. If you use a gas grill, ensure you have a full tank or a reserve.
3. Taking Inventory of Personal Property
Compiling a comprehensive list of your properties will save you time after a hurricane. Make sure you update the inventory regularly. You may still get compensation from your insurance carrier after a disaster, even if you don’t have an inventory for your assets by using other forms of proof.
If you have prepared a home inventory, you’ll not only speed up the claims process but also relieve the stress associated with preparing one after the occurrence of a hurricane. The process of preparing the document after a disaster can also be time-consuming.
Therefore, consider doing it now. Irrespective of the extent of damage in your home, your insurance company is likely to require you to submit an inventory for your claim.
4. Review Your Insurance Needs
If there are signs of hurricanes, insurers may temporarily suspend new coverage and any coverage changes. As a result, you need to review your insurance coverage annually to match your changing needs. Insurance firms can review your current policy, explain limits, and deductibles to help you identify any available gaps.
Premiums are calculated based on how flood-prone your property is and the amount of coverage you need. Usually, flood insurance becomes effective after 30 days from the date of the purchase.
Insurance experts can offer valuable insights on hurricane risk mitigation to help you lower premiums payable and better protect your property. During a review, evaluate your flood insurance, which covers losses incurred due to rising water. Typical homeowner’s policies don’t offer protection against floods.
5. Is Your House Ready for Hurricanes?
Although you can’t prevent the natural disaster, you can try to minimize the potential damages and lower the chances of losing your possessions. First, your life is more important than your physical assets. If hurricanes hit, some homeowners may choose to follow evacuation protocols that have been put in place while others may prefer to stay inside their homes.
The latter may put your life in danger. The good news is that you can take some measures to fortify your property against the storms. This will give you the confidence to evacuate on short notice. Some of the tasks are relatively easy to complete. For example, you can clean the gutters and do all the necessary structural repairs. You can also safety-proof your landscape by trimming trees and replacing gravel with shredded bark.
6. Safeguarding Your Business
Hurricanes may cause damages to your business premises and result in losses. Fortunately, you can take some action to keep it safe after the occurrence of storms. One of the initiatives you should take is performing a business impact analysis, which will ensure a smooth recovery. The analysis aims to evaluate the potential impact of the storms on your business.
Involve all the departments in your organization in doing the analysis. Don’t assume one department is conversant with the critical processes of the others. Next, perform a pre-loss assessment for your enterprise. Statistics have shown that many business owners and managers are caught off guard by the high costs associated with repairs when a hurricane occurs.
A proper assessment can help you determine the amount of money to allocate to repairs and to ensure you have adequate insurance coverage for business premises and assets. Additionally, partner with reputable restoration contractors.
7. Refilling Your Medications
In Florida, there’s a legal requirement for insurance companies to refill medications early for hurricane evacuation. Ensure you have a sufficient supply of prescription medications before the disaster hits. In some cases, people may experience difficulties when trying to refill their medications as insurers require a specified amount of time between refills.
Florida law allows pharmacists to do the refiling, depending on the prevailing situations. For example, you can get refills if the relevant authorities issue a hurricane warning. Ensure you have at least two weeks of an extra supply of your medications.
Some medications have special storage requirements. For example, some may require refrigeration. If there are power blackouts and you need such medications, consult your physician on how to keep them safe.
8. Ensure the Safety of Your Documents
If a disaster occurs, you may lose crucial documents and this may lead to serious consequences. Many people focus their attention on actions such as increasing essential supplies and identifying evacuation routes and forget to protect their legal documents.
There are many documents you should consider protecting. Gathering them now and keeping them safe will help to reduce stress and the hassle you may experience if a hurricane occurs. Make sure you store all vital documentation in a secure location. For example, you can keep them in a safety deposit box. For improved safety, store them in an electronic form and create a backup.
9. Check Your Food Supplies
Don’t wait until weather experts issue a notice to buy enough and required food supplies. Stockpile emergency foods in your home as much as possible. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, you should have at least a three day supply of non-perishable food items.
When relying on limited food supplies, you should focus on increasing energy-rich foods. For example, get more beans, apples, and whole grains. Also, consider your special dietary requirements when shopping. People with high blood pressure should increase their supplies of low-sodium foods.
10. Invest in a Powerful Generator
Power blackouts are common during the hurricane seasons. You need to get a good generator to keep various crucial appliances in your home running. When it comes to shopping for a generator, consider your budget and your needs.
If you have high energy requirements in your home, you may need a more powerful generator. You can also purchase a DC to AC inverter for your vehicle and a quality extension cord.
Finally, once the hurricanes season is over try to find your loved ones. One of the ways of ensuring better hurricane preparation in Florida is identifying meeting points for family members. Since the cellphone towers may be clogged due to high call volume, consider using social media for easy communication.