While living in the sunshine state of Florida has its perks, like being closely compared to a never-ending vacation, we must always be mindful that our geographical location has a high propensity for natural disasters. No matter the intensity, hurricanes not only disrupt everyday life but, for many, can mean serious loss. This loss can manifest in the form of property damage, job insecurity or in more serious cases, death. Here are ten tips for Hurricane Preparation that will increase your chances of salvaging vacation-like living after the storm has passed:
1. Stay up to date with both local and national news
In today’s society, it is easy to forget about our traditional sources of news. While social media does move quickly, there may be gaps of vital information missing as it passes from medium to medium. That said, the #1 thing to do in preparation for a hurricane, is turn on Channel 5 and keep and ear open for any warnings. Additionally, we often make the mistake of not taking warnings seriously that are seemingly not nearby. Remember, hurricanes can move at a speed of 10 to 35 mph!
2. Make an evacuation plan
Every city, such as our lovely Boca Raton, will have evacuation zones/routes posted. Be mindful of the closest one to you so that if emergency evacuation is needed, you know exactly what minor and major roads to take to safety. In the event of a natural disaster, be especially open to the option of taking cover in emergency shelters. In fact, a full breakdown of storm evacuation information may be found here
3. Stock up on water and non-perishable food items
Get water fast and LOTS of it! It is a common mistake to wait until the last minute to run to the grocery store for water and non-perishables. Remember, every person is on the hunt for these essential items and they could sell out leaving you unprepared. To be safe, get bottles of water and canned items, dried goods and even yummy peanut butter way in advance and keep it stored away for a rainy day (literally). It also doesn’t hurt to store water for bathing and other personal uses!
4. Power up!
In preparation for a hurricane, it advised that we power down on all wired appliances such as toasters and power up on cell phones (for emergency calls), fuel for our cars and other non-electrical sources of energy just as candles. However, It is always in our best interest to have a generator in case of overextended power outages.
5. Keep an emergency kit handy
In a natural disaster, there are elements beyond our control that we must account for when preparing. Having a first aid kit and other emergency items is always our best bet! Ensure to have items such as hydrogen peroxide, bandaids, ointments, gauze, flashlights, a portable radio, extra batteries, blankets, clothing and toiletries.
6. Store away important documents
The last thing we need during a natural disaster is that important piece of paperwork or homework assignment being lost in the chaos of preparation. Get plastic folders to organize your important documents into an easily comprehensible way and store it away. High cabinets are usually key in this operation so that if there is any flooding, your documents are safe from water damage.
7. Ensure your home meets all building codes for withstanding hurricanes
Though being prepared to ride out the storm inside is important, it is even more important to fortify the outside of our homes to ensure minimal impact. If you live in an apartment building, it is more often than not apart of the lease agreement that the landlord ensure the buildings are up to code and secured with shutters in the event of a hurricane. For homeowners, hurricane shutters might be one of your greatest investments. Though if they prove to be too costly, you can make storm shutters with the appropriate tools and materials. Check out this guide on how!
8. Secure all stand alone items indoors & outdoors
No one wants to see their favorite vase break or watch their car be picked up and tossed aside by heavy winds. It is for this reason that we should secure all stand alone items both indoors and outdoors. It is always smart to pack away those items like wall hangings and shelf trinkets and park the car in a garage (if possible). If you do not have your own covered garage space, there are many other options. See a few here.
9. Trim your trees!
A high volume of property damage reported during hurricanes is due to falling trees that can prove to be very, very dangerous. According to edgewateryardshop.com, trees with a relatively thick canopy should be trimmed about 25-30% per year with the removal of some interior branches, allowing the wind to blow through. They reported that trees with multiple trunks can become especially dangerous to people and property as they grow, so it is strongly advised to completely eliminate these from your property before hurricane season. For more tree trimming tips, click here!
10. Be prepared for the worse
Sadly, natural disasters are unpredictable and can take turns for the worse. Whether this means having to flee your home behind or risk losing a job due to damage of your office building. The most important thing is to have emergency funds to soften the blow this may cause. FEMA offers some very helpful tips and process for securing finances in preparation for hurricane season.