The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season begins in 9 days. In fact, there is already a potential tropical storm forming in the Caribbean. It’s weak and will probably only bring rain if it visits Florida, but it’s there. This is the time of year residents in the Gulf states begin to think about preparedness. Do you have an evacuation plan? What will you do if you stay? How do you prepare your home and family?
There are a number of things everyone in the path of potential storms can do. Here are just a few things to help you and your family keep your home safe and secure.
Storm-guard your home.
Before Hurricane Irma struck last September, Floridians worked hard and fast to prepare their homes and properties. The most important step many people took was to board windows, but did you know that there’s more around the house you need to do? Learn how to shut gas and electricity off in case of a loss of power; it can save your house from electrical surges. Consider buying a generator to keep your fans and fridge running after the power goes out, and get extra gas cans to keep it filled. If you live in a low-lying area, get sand bags. Flooding is very common in Florida.
Prepare your landscaping.
Hire an expert to come out and trim your trees for storm season. Talk to them about trees that are close to the house, excess branches on palms, and even how to get your lawn furniture and decor to safety. You’re essentially protecting your home and your neighbors’ homes from anything that become a projectile in high winds.
Take stock of your current insurance coverage.
Wind damage is a serious threat with an incoming storm. Make sure your insurance is up-to-date, and make sure you have hard copies of all your paperwork when and if the time comes to call for help.
Decide whether you need flood insurance.
If you live near any type of water, you should consider flood insurance. Last year, large swaths of land were completely submerged after Hurricane Irma, destroying homes and land. If you’re worried that could happen to you, have an insurance adviser visit your home to assess.
Inventory your possessions.
Make a list of all your valuables, take photos, and even consider walking through your home recording it all. If your home suffers major damage, insurance companies will need this in order to determine what they’ll help you pay to fix or replace.
Have a plan.
Will you evacuate or stay? Where will you go, and who do you need to tell? Buy a waterproof storage container, and make it your hurricane kit. You’ll need batteries, flashlights, a battery-powered weather radio, and a first aid kit. These are basics which don’t include food, non-perishables, and other important documents. In an emergency situation, everyone will handle it differently. It’s important to know everyone’s plans so that when the weather calms, you can all reconnect.