Regarding hurricane preparedness, the saying “better safe than sorry” couldn’t ring truer. Here, we’ll review everything you need to know to create a hurricane prep plan.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th. During this period, homeowners need to be proactive and adequately prepared for any storm that might come their way. And by preparation, we mean more than just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. Every Floridian family should have a detailed hurricane prep checklist.
Here at Assured Storm Protection, we’re dedicated to providing homeowners with reliable, helpful information. So, we’ve compiled an exhaustive hurricane protection checklist to prepare you and your home for the upcoming season. Buckle up, and let’s dive in.
1. Craft an Emergency Preparedness Plan
During a hurricane, it’s too easy for panic to cloud your judgment, making decision-making tough. That’s why having a foolproof emergency plan is paramount. It should clearly outline:
- Who’s responsible for what tasks
- A designated safe space in your home
- The evacuation plan, if the situation demands it
- Contact information of each family member and nearby emergency centers
- A list of important belongings to take with you during an evacuation
Everyone in your household should be familiar with this plan and understand their responsibilities sooner rather than later. Don’t wait for the storm warnings to start formulating your plan—by then, it might be too late.
2. Stock Up on Essential Hurricane Prep Supplies
Envision this: A hurricane alert has been issued, and you dash to the grocery store, only to be met with chaos and empty shelves. To bypass this scenario, assemble an emergency supply kit well in advance. This kit should include:
- At least three days’ worth of non-perishable food and water for every family member
- A first-aid kit and necessary medications.
- Hygiene items, including toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
- Flashlights, extra batteries, and a hand-crank radio.
- Power banks for digital devices.
- Important documents such as IDs, insurance policies, and medical records in a waterproof container.
3. Non-Essential Hurricane Prep Steps to Consider
Preparing for the potential of power outages and disruption of your everyday life is also important. In our digital world, we sometimes forget to recognize how dependent we are on our technology. For this reason, consider what you may need if your normal sources of entertainment are unavailable.
- Books, board games, card games, and more are great to keep you entertained during the storm if the power goes out.
- Charge your devices before the storm (phones, tablets, etc.)
- Pre-download any video or book content ahead of the storm to avoid an internet outage barring you from your content.
4. Protect Your Property
Hurricane winds can transform harmless yard items into dangerous projectiles. Therefore, conducting a thorough yard check before hurricane season is crucial.
Anything that those heavy winds can fling around should be taken care of as soon as possible:
- Store patio furniture and toys inside. Any objects that could be flung around by the storm and hurdled into a window should be securely fastened or taken indoors. Your home (as well as your neighbors) will thank you.
- Trim tree branches that overhang your house. Tree branches are the most common debris found after a storm.
- Secure loose gutters, and if possible, clean your gutters. Rain accompanies any tropical storm; ensure your gutters are ready for the abuse.
- Repair any damaged fences. If any loose boards are left unrepaired, they can become a very damaging form of debris.
5. Install Accordion Hurricane Shutters or Impact Windows
Protecting your home against the raw power of hurricanes involves reinforcing your windows, where accordion shutters and hurricane windows shine. Making sure that your home is protected is a vital hurricane-preparedness step to consider.
Shutters can be closed quickly when a storm is nearing, and impact windows are always ready to protect your home, with or without notice.
You may wonder, “What wind speed can accordion shutters withstand?” At Assured Storm Protection, our accordion hurricane shutters have been meticulously engineered to meet the most stringent Miami-Dade County building codes and have been tested up to Category 5 hurricane-force winds & debris. They can be installed in Palm Beach and Broward County. The same is true for our hurricane-impact windows!
And if you’re concerned about longevity, rest assured. Properly maintained shutters can shield your home for 20 to 30 years.
6. Review Your Insurance Coverage
Hurricanes often bring unwelcome surprises, like property damage. It’s important to include your insurance coverage in your hurricane prep plan. Therefore, comprehensive insurance coverage is non-negotiable. Before the season begins, review your policy to ensure it provides ample coverage for storm-related damage. Remember: Understanding your insurance contract is better than dealing with unpleasant surprises later.
More than your standard home insurance will likely be required when insuring your home for tropical storms and hurricanes. Most Floridians will require flood insurance for adequate coverage. Flood insurance is a different kind of insurance policy. Please check with your insurance provider to make sure you have flood coverage.
Having impact-rated hurricane protection will typically save you a few bucks on your insurance coverage, so consider getting it if you don’t already!
Another important note for those who have hurricane panels; if you do not install your hurricane panels before the storm and claim that you have hurricane protection to your flood insurance company, it is not uncommon that the insurance company will deny any claims for damages during the storm. If you have hurricane panels, make sure to install them before the storm to avoid this.
7. Preparing Your Car
Your car is another critical part of your evacuation strategy. Ensure it’s ready to go by:
- Making sure your gas tank is full. There are typically gasoline shortages immediately before, during, and after the storm. Getting to the pump early is a massive preemptive hurricane prep hack that can save you many headaches later.
- Ensuring your tires are in good shape. Check your tire pressure and the current wear condition of your tires.
- Making sure the vehicle is in good working condition. Evacuating and getting stuck on the road can be far more dangerous than staying in place.
- Packing an emergency kit specific to your car that includes items such as jumper cables, flares or reflective triangles, and a car charger for your cell phone.
Understand Weather Alerts: Hurricane Watch vs. Hurricane Warning
As hurricane season approaches, you’ll often hear the terms “hurricane watch” and “hurricane warning.” They’re not the same! A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible in the next 48 hours; at this point, you should be ready to act. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. When a warning is issued, it’s time to take action and put your emergency plan to use.
Understand When to Evacuate
Despite our best efforts, sometimes the severity of a storm requires evacuation. The safest place may no longer be your home but somewhere far from the approaching hurricane. Stay updated with local weather forecasts, know your local evacuation routes, and heed the advice of local officials when evacuation orders are issued.
Navigating hurricane season requires preparation, foresight, and vigilance. With storms like Hurricane Ida alone causing damages exceeding $75 billion in 2021, the importance of hurricane protection is only growing.
Assured Storm Protection is here to provide the tools, resources, and expertise you need to weather the storm. Together, we can ensure you’re ready to face whatever hurricane season throws your way. Stay safe!
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