Hurricanes are a genuine fear for anyone who lives in a coastal region. Though they don’t strike every year, Florida residents understand the real dangers of hurricanes to their homes, their livelihoods and their families. But, there are certain steps you can take to protect yourself from hurricane disasters. Follow this guide to prepare before next hurricane season:
Prepare a disaster preparation kit.
You will want to be prepared for evacuation, or at least for a few days in your home without running water or electricity. Stock up on essential items such as nonperishable food, bottled water and basic sanitary amenities. You will also want a complete first aid kit, including antibiotics, bandages, and other emergency supplies. Store cell phone chargers and extra money for gas if you’re planning to evacuate. If you’re staying at home, purchase a small power generator for heating, cooking and phone charging.
Prepare your lawn and home’s exterior.
Hurricanes cause damage by blowing down trees and breaking through windows and roofs. You can prevent some of this damage if you cut down dead trees and limbs. This prevents them from falling on your house. You can also protect your windows by bolting wood or plastic coverings onto the exterior. These are sold at home improvement stores year-round and are a good investment if you live in a coastal area; many Florida residents choose to install hurricane shutters.
Know the difference between a hurricane watch and hurricane warning.
You may hear about a hurricane watch or warning on the news, and it’s a good idea to know what each of these categories means. A hurricane watch means that storm conditions are possible within the next two days, and you should continue to tune in to the weather channel in case it escalates. A warning means conditions are expected within a day and a half, and usually this implies you should evacuate. If you have questions, contact local authorities.
Evacuate if local authorities advise.
Don’t take your chances if the local news station advises you evacuate. Always take your pets with you, as they will not be safe in your home. If you can, contact a family member or friend outside the evacuation area and stay with them until it is safe to return. If you can’t find a last-minute place to stay, many cities will have free or low-coast evacuation shelters or hotels.
Purchase hurricane insurance.
Most homeowner’s insurance includes a 2% deductible you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket in the event of hurricane damage. However, Preferred Link offers coverage for 100% of your deductible, and up to $5,000 coverage for damages not covered in your homeowner’s policy. This is incredibly valuable to Florida residents who are at a high-risk for hurricane damage.