Florida is no stranger to hurricanes, but that does not mean you should take them lightly. Hurricanes can cause severe damage to your home, property, and health, especially if you are not prepared. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a hurricane in Florida and protect yourself and your loved ones.
Know your risk
Depending on where you live in Florida, you may face different hazards from hurricanes, such as wind, storm surge, flooding and tornadoes. Check the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Center for alerts and forecasts, and know the difference between a hurricane watch (conditions are possible) and a hurricane warning (conditions are expected). You can also use the State of Florida’s guide to hurricane preparedness to assess your risk and find resources.
Make a plan
Before hurricane season starts (June 1 to November 30), you should have a plan for what to do if a hurricane threatens your area. This includes identifying a safe location to shelter, such as an interior room or a nearby shelter, and having an evacuation route and destination in case you need to leave. You should also have a communication plan with your family and friends, and a way to receive emergency alerts and updates.
You should have an emergency kit with at least seven days of essentials, such as water, food, medicine, flashlights, batteries, radios and personal items. You should also have important documents, such as identification, insurance policies and medical records, in a waterproof container or stored electronically. Do not forget to include items for your pets, such as food, water, leash, carrier and medications.
Secure your home
To reduce the potential damage from hurricanes, you should take some steps to fortify your home. This includes trimming trees and shrubs, clearing gutters and drains, securing doors and windows with shutters or plywood and moving outdoor furniture and cars to safe locations. You should also have your roof checked regularly and repaired.
Get your car ready
If you have a car, you should make sure it is ready for a hurricane as well. This means filling up your gas tank, checking your tires and fluids and having an emergency kit in your trunk. You should also park your car in a garage or away from trees or power lines.
During a hurricane, it is crucial to stay informed of the storm’s progress and follow the instructions of local authorities. Monitor the weather reports on TV, radio or online, and heed any warnings or orders to evacuate or shelter in place. If you are in an area that is prone to flooding or storm surge, move to higher ground as soon as possible.