June 1 marks the beginning of Hurricane Season in Florida. We’ve prepared a guide to learn how to keep your home and your family safe during a storm. It’s important to develop a plan ahead of time to protect your greatest assets.
Protect your Family first, talk with them about what to do if you suddenly receive a warning for a storm. Making children, especially, aware of what’s ahead will reduce fear and help assure them you have a safe plan.
- Store all important documents and valuables together in a safe or in a safe-deposit box. Take snapshots of your important documents with your phone to have them handy in an emergency situation. Keep your ID handy.
- Keep extra batteries, lots of water and plenty of canned goods on hand during this season.
- Charge up your phone. Charge up your wireless chargers for a back up charge if the power goes out.
- Put a full tank of gas in your car as soon as you hear of a threat of a storm. When the storm is inevitable, gas tends to sell out quickly.
- If you’re in an evacuation zone, evacuate to your nearest shelter. Do not wait out the storm at home if the path of the storm is inevitably coming in the direction of your home. Be prepared now on where your designated shelter is or have a back up plan on where you and your family will go if you leave town. Leave town as early as possible to avoid traffic and have an alternate route planned. Do not drive to where the storm is heading. If you’re flying, be aware of flight cancellations.
- Have a plan for your pets. Make sure their shots are up to date. Check your shelter to see if pets are allowed. If not, check with your hotel you travel to. Be sure your pet is identified with his collar tag.
Protect Your Home
- Many Florida homes now come equipped with storm shutters; install those or plywood to protect your windows.
- Store any loose outdoor furniture, toys, tools and trash cans in a safe place, for example, in the garage.
During the Storm
- Stay indoors and away from all windows. Find an interior room (closet, bathroom) without windows and make it your home base with your family.
- Follow the local radio on the TV or your smartphone if the power goes out for the latest updates on the storm.
- If there is a threat of a tornado, or if your home begins to fall apart from the strong winds, shield yourself with a mattress, in a bathtub if possible.
- If your home begins to flood, turn off the electricity at the main breaker.
- Do not venture out in high flood waters. They are usually deeper than they look and you or your car could get stuck in it. Not to mention, the water could be contaminated with sewage.
After the Storm
- Once the storm has passed, assess the situation out your front door before heading out. Check your local news on road closings and other storm related happenings. Be careful if your home has damage, it may be best to evacuate. If you arrive back to your home to find it damaged (once given the approval by authorities to go home), have it inspected by a professional to assess the damage.
- Have a fire extinguisher in hand prior to turning the electricity back on.
- If your home flooded, have it inspected before you turn the electricity back on.
- Let family & friends know you are OK.
Sources: Redcross.org, WFLA Hurricane Guide