2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Tips
The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season begins in just two months. Many Floridians are already accustomed to what that means and the possible dangers that come along with it while others may be newer to Florida. Whether you are accustomed to hurricane seasons or not, being a resident in Florida means that the threat of hurricanes is very real and having the knowledge of what to do before, during, and after a storm can make all the difference. Stopping a tropical storm or hurricane from happening is not an option. However, taking the appropriate steps to make sure you and your family are both safe and prepared in the event of a hurricane is. Below are a few helpful tips and reminders for the upcoming season.
Preparations Before A Storm
- Emergency water supply
- Have at least 5 gallons of water per person (which should be enough to last 3 to 5 days)
- Gather clean containers for water.
- Get supplies to make your drinking water safe (like iodine tablets or chlorine bleach).
- Emergency food and medicine supply
- Put together a 3 to 5 day supply of food that doesn’t go bad (like canned food)
- Make sure to have enough baby food or formula (if needed).
- Gather any prescription medicines.
- Safety items
- First aid kit and instructions
- Fire extinguisher
- Battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Sleeping bags or extra blankets
- Personal care products
- Hand sanitizer
- Wet cleaning cloths (like baby wipes) in case you don’t have clean water
- Tampons and pads
- Write down emergency phone numbers and keep them near every phone in your house or on the refrigerator. Program them into your cell phone, too.
- Buy a fire extinguisher and make sure your family knows where to find it and how to use it.
- Find out where the nearest shelter is and the different routes you can take to get there if you have to leave your home.
- Make sure that everyone in your family knows what the warning sirens in your area sound like and what to do if they go off.
Stock up on materials to help prevent unnecessary damage to your home in the event of a hurricane. Have tools and wood ready to board up windows. You can also purchase sandbags to block water from coming in via entrances such as doorways and garage doors.
If you can afford to, have a roof inspection done and repair any old or broken materials to help prevent against water entry. Also, make sure all rain gutters are cleaned out to allow water to flow away from your property as intended.
Get familiar with your current homeowner’s policy and make sure you understand what you are and what you are not covered for if a storm damages your home. Add any additional coverage for flooding to save yourself from having to come out of pocket completely if the worst happens.
What to Do During A Storm
Put your plan into action. The most important thing to understand is that the safety of you and your family is always the priority and any decisions made should reflect that. If you have properly prepared, stay indoors and wait out the storm. If you do not feel you are completely prepared to do so, head to the nearest shelter with plenty of time to spare before the hurricane approaches your area.
- Use a portable radio to listen to important storm updates, information and instructions.
- Stay inside and keep away from all windows, skylights and glass doors. Go to a safe area, such as an interior room, closet or downstairs bathroom.
- Never go outside the protection of your home or shelter before there is confirmation that the storm has passed the area. The eye of the storm could create a temporary and deceptive lull, with high winds still approaching.
- If power is lost, keep the refrigerator closed to keep cold air trapped and delay spoilage of perishable food.
- If you use a portable generator, follow all the manufacturer’s instructions. Generators should be properly grounded to prevent electrical shock and should never be operated indoors, in garages, basements or outdoors near any windows, doors or vents. Because generators produce carbon monoxide (CO), make sure you have a working CO detector in your home.
What to Do After A Storm
If you have sustained damage to your property, file a claim as quickly as possible. Insurance companies will be overwhelmed with calls of damage so the sooner you can file a claim, the sooner you can expect compensation. Make sure to document any damage as thoroughly as possible to speed up the process for your insurance adjuster and the entire process overall.
After filing a claim, working with a trusted restoration company is best for getting your property back to pre-hurricane conditions. A national brand such as SERVPRO has the manpower and equipment to remove large amounts of water from your home, dry out affected structures quickly, repair and restore property damage, and even remediate mold if it becomes an issue in your property.
Safety Tips Include:
- Stay tuned to local news organizations, such as a radio or television station, for important announcements, bulletin, and instructions concerning the storm area, medical aid and other forms of assistance, such as food, water, and shelter.
- Remember that you may not have immediate access to your home. Emergency rescue crews, power crews, and other personnel may be attending to special needs. Roads could be blocked, power lines could be down and people may be trapped and in need of assistance.
- Make sure that you have current identification. You may have to pass through identification checkpoints before being allowed access to your home/neighborhood.
- Avoid driving as roads may be blocked.
- Avoid sight-seeing or entering a storm-ravaged area unnecessarily. You could be mistaken for a looter.
- Avoid downed power lines even if they look harmless.
- Avoid metal fences and other metal objects near downed lines.
- DO NOT use matches in a storm-ravaged area until all gas lines are checked for leaks (keep flashlights and plenty of batteries at hand).
- Avoid turning the power on at your home if there is flooding present. Have a professional conduct a thorough inspection first.
- Consider having professionals/licensed contractors inspect your home for damage and help in repairs. This includes electricians, as well as professionals to inspect gas lines, remove uprooted trees and check the plumbing.
- Remember that downed or damaged trees can contain power lines that can be a hazard.
- Use a camera or camcorder to record thoroughly any damage done to your home before any repairs are attempted.
- In certain areas, the flooding rains that accompany a storm can create pest problems. Be aware of potential pest problems in your area, such as mice, rats, insects or snakes that may have "come with the storm".
- Telephone lines will likely be busy in the area; use a phone only for emergencies.
- Flooding brings with it the risk of waterborne bacterial contaminations.
- You should assume that the water is not safe and use properly stored water or boil your tap water.