Summers in South Florida can be a double-edged sword at times – you get the prime of the heat that has you racing to the beach for a good time, but also builds the dread of the start of hurricane season. Hurricane season isn’t exactly short either. As a matter of fact:
- The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th
- The Pacific hurricane season runs May 15th to November 30th
- Peak time for hurricanes is September
- Can pass through any U.S. coast or territory within the Atlantic or Pacific oceans
- Secure your property and make it disaster proof by boarding up windows and any glass entries. For the best protection, permanent storm shutters are the more ideal option, but 5/8’’ marine plywood that is cut to fit is a good alternative. Try to avoid using tape since it does not prevent window glass from breaking.
- Minimize the risk of roof damage with installation straps or clips to properly fasten your roof to the frame structure.
- To minimize external damage to your property and debris cleanup, trim trees and shrubs around the area.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts to prevent misdirected flooding.
- Put any valuables on high shelves or on a higher floor of your house, this includes household chemicals, since chemicals that mix into floodwaters can be very dangerous.
- Consider building a safe room or picking a room in your property that is on the lowest level and away from any doors or windows.
- Pack a travel bag with the essentials: 2-3 clothes, toiletries, rain gear, watertight-sealed documents for insurance purposes (driver’s licenses, SS cards, passports, pet ID tags) and other legal papers.
- Put a disaster kit together in case of emergencies, which consists of a well-stocked inventory of prescription medicines, four days’ worth of food and water (for pets as well), a fire extinguisher, flashlight, batteries, blankets, GPS, paper maps.
- If evacuation becomes necessary, know all local emergency shelters and your evacuation route.
- Fully fuel your car with gas and get cash (ATMs may be closed following a hurricane).
- Download the Red Cross Emergency App for iPhone or Android.
- Stay alert to storm updates: monitor with a local radio, NOAA radio, TV, or internet.
During a Hurricane
- Continue monitoring the storm via local radio, NOAA radio, TV, and internet. Be on the lookout for evacuation alerts.
- Secure your home and close storm shutters
- Gather all outdoor furniture or belongings indoors or tied to a secure spot.
- If instructed, unplug appliances and turn off utilities, this includes electricity and the main water valve. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator and freezer thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
- Move freezable items from the fridge to the freezer.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Have your cell phone on a charger so it’s ready to go. Then avoid using the phone except for serious emergencies.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
- Stay inside, away from windows and glass doors, and make sure all doors are closed, including blinds.
- Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level – or lie on the floor under a table or sturdy object.
After a Hurricane
- Have emergency contacts – whether friends or family – and notify them of your safety.
- To prevent harm from electrical hazards or other dangers, do not return home if you’ve been evacuated unless authorized to do so.
- Do NOT drink tap water unless cleared by local authorities.
- Check the temperature in your fridge or freezer. Anything that has remained at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is safe to eat. Otherwise, throw it out to be safe.
- If any food has been in contact with flood water, throw it away to avoid ingesting any waterborne diseases, chemicals, etc.
- In your home, immediately remove or air out water-damaged items to help minimize the chance of mold growing in your home.
- Document any damage with photos and contact your insurance company for assistance.
- Avoid driving or walking throug