Hurricane season officially started on June 1, and will run through November 30. There are a number of steps of you should take in preparation for potential hurricanes, the intensity of which seems to increase yearly. Complete the following supply and safety checklist, and speak to your family about the actions you will take should a hurricane approach.
Have a Hurricane Safety Checklist
Although hurricane season has started, it is never too late to take the necessary steps to protect your home and family. Use this hurricne safety checklist from the National Hurricane Survival Initiative. It provides a comprehensive list of the items you may need in should a hurricane hit your home.
Make sure you download and save the website’s PDF checklists for convenience and reference.
Essential items include:
- Food and water.
- Battery-operated radio, flashlights and extra batteries.
- First aid and non-prescription drugs.
- Tools and supplies.
- Sanitation, clothing and bedding.
- Special items.
- Possessions and documents.
Hurricane Do’s and Don’ts
Should you choose to ride out a storm, the preparedness of your house makes all the difference. New or old, your home should be fortified to protect you and your loved ones from the dangers presented by a hurricane.
Consider these common mistakes Florida homeowners make when it comes to hurricane preparation, and how you can avoid them.
1- Don’t:Tape your windows.
Do: Apply storm panels or shutters. A number of options are available, including plywood, metal, plastic and fabric. Whichever material you prefer, all effectively add protection for you and your windows.
2- Don’t: Empty your inground pool.
Do: Leave the water level alone and remove any loose equipment. Draining the water can cause hydrostatic pressure beneath your pool, causing it to ‘pop’ out of the ground. This is a risk for both inground fiberglass and concrete pools. For a great explanation of this big word, read this informative article by Holly Jender for River Pools.
3- Don’t: Open windows or doors to ‘equalize pressure.’
Do: Keep your windows and doors shut and secured. Exposing them to harsh winds can turn them into dangerous debris. By opening either structure, you also increase the chance of negatively affecting the interior pressure of your home, compromising the integrity of your roof.
4- Don’t: Neglect your roof.
Do: Regularly inspect, clean and repair your roof. When it comes to hurricanes, your roof is the integral structure that protects you from wind. Without it, your home’s walls can collapse, causing injury or leaving you exposed to the elements. Invest in a high-quality roof and any necessary equipment to back it up, such as roof clips.
5- Don’t: Leave debris clean-up for last minute.
Do: Regularly tidy your yard and maintain foliage prior to and during hurricane season. Trimming your trees and bushes helps create wind resistance, preventing the chance that they will become harmful debris. Any outdoor furniture and other loose items should have a designated area for quick storage.
6- Don’t: Forego a backup power supply.
Do: Purchase a generator and learn the safe way to operate it. To prevent death from carbon monoxide poisoning, DO NOT OPERATE indoors. Be sure to follow all manufacturer’s safety instructions. If possible, have it installed by a professional. As hurricanes approach, generators become a prized commodity – one you do not want to be stuck without. In the event that power can not be restored for days or weeks, a generator can provide power to essential appliances.
After the storm
In the wake of a hurricane, it is of the utmost importance that you wait for an official declaration that your area is safe. Continue listening to NOAA Weather Radio for updates and announcements.
In the likely event of lost power, you may be unable to access information regarding the storm’s location. In many instances, people have mistaken the calm ‘eye’ of the storm as an indication that it passed through the area, and that the danger is over. Moments later they find themselves exposed to the harshest extent of the hurricane. Also look out for tornadoes. For every hurricane that makes landfall, the formation of at least one tornado is likely. Tornadoes are known to spawn up to three days following a hurricane.
Hurricane winds themselves typically account for only 50% of storm-related deaths. The other half are due to subsequent flooding. As Florida is prone to flooding, staying up-to-date on your proximity to flood zones can help you prepare. Even areas that had never before experienced flood waters are now susceptible. Recent studies show a 20% to 30% slow-down over land areas affected by North Atlantic and North Pacific tropical cyclones. Slower forward speed means increased rainfall and a greater likelihood of inland floods.
You should use equal caution in handling your supplies, and being exposed to the dangers presented by hurricane damages – such as fallen power lines. Read this article from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to learn about indoor and outdoor post hurricane safety tips.
If your hurricane preparedness includes roof cleaning, home repairs or shrub trimming, contact The Paint Manager. Our experienced team can help you complete your Florida hurricane preparations, and give you peace of mind when it comes to protecting your family.