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

Pre-Hurricane Prep

  • 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