A Guide for Preparing for Hurricane Season in Florida
Because the hurricane season runs between June 1 and November 30 each year, a popular myth is that these storms cannot happen during the winter and spring. However, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states, hurricanes and tropical storms can happen nearly any time of the year, regardless of the season.
Since the Sunshine State endures the most hurricane activity in the United States, it’s important to keep these preparedness tips in mind for your Florida home. When it feels like the rest of the neighborhood is in a frenzy, you can enjoy the peace of mind that your property and family are ready for whatever the storm may bring.
For Evacuation Scenarios
Know Your Local Evacuation Routes
In the event of intense storm activity, the authorities might order an evacuation for your neighborhood.
Take some time to learn the local evacuation routes and any designated shelters in your area. You may also want to consider a “practice run” during your spare time where you can drive to the evacuation routes from your home to gain more familiarity with the directions. When a hurricane touches down, you will know exactly where you need to go to stay safe.
To find local shelters in your area, please refer to the Shelter Information Index from the Florida Division of Emergency Management. If someone in your household has any special needs that require accommodations at the shelter, you can provide this information through the private Special Needs Registry.
Secure Your Home Before Leaving
Prior to evacuating, make sure that your home has been properly prepared for hurricane activity. Here is a quick checklist to keep in mind:
- Lock all windows and doors
- Bring any loose outdoor items (furniture, garbage cans, etc.) indoors
- Trim all branches on bushes, shrubs, and trees
- If possible, store any vehicle that you’re leaving behind in a garage
Have Cash On-Hand
Severe hurricanes can cause power outages which can affect your ability to purchase items with a credit or debit card. Prior to the storm’s arrival, head to a local ATM and take out an amount of cash that you feel comfortable with having on hand so that you can buy anything you’ll need during your evacuation that you didn’t already bring with you.
Create an Evacuation Kit
The State of Florida recommends that all residents create a preparedness kit in the event of a hurricane. Kits can be made for individuals or groups, depending on your preferences.
Items to consider for your own kit include:
- Enough water for 1 gallon per person each day for 7 days
- Non-perishable food and drinks
- Cooking supplies like can openers, utensils, paper plates, etc.
- Sleeping supplies – pillows, blankets, etc.
- Spare change of clothes and extra shoes
- First aid kit, prescriptions, and other necessary medicines
- Battery operated and NOAA weather radios
- Basic toiletries and other hygiene essentials
- Cleaning supplies
- Important physical documents (insurance, medical records, social security, etc.)
- Essential items for family members with special care needs
- Pet care items
For a more detailed list of items, check out the Florida Department of Emergency Management’s Disaster Supply Kit Checklist.
You may also want to include some personal items to entertain yourself while you are away from the comforts of home. Pack leisurely reading materials, any portable electronics, board games, or other activities that you can enjoy during your evacuation period.
If Sheltering in Place
If a hurricane is projected to have a milder impact in your area, the authorities may not order an evacuation. Instead, they will allow residents to decide for themselves to either shelter in place or leave the area.
When sheltering in place, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Keep a similar preparedness kit for indoor use
- Stock up on essential medical supplies and groceries prior to the storm’s arrival
- Fill your car’s tank with gas in case you need to leave the area later
- Have cash on-hand in case you lose power in your neighborhood
- Secure all windows and doors and avoid going near them during the storm
- Let someone outside of your household know that you are sheltering in place and check in with them regularly
- Do not use any grills or other fuel-powered cooking appliances indoors
Another common concern is the use of generators during a hurricane. If you are sheltering in place and need to run your generator to power your home, follow the these safety tips from the City of Miami:
- Keep a generator a minimum of 15 feet away from open windows
- Position the generator under a canopy and do not operate with wet hands
- Do not power a generator on in rainy weather conditions
- Disconnect your home’s electrical utility connection before powering on your generator
- Ground your generator properly to avoid any shocks or electrocutions
- Use a sturdy extension cord rated for outdoor use to plug into the generator
- Do not use a common wall outlet to power your generator. Have a licensed electrician properly connect it prior to a storm event
- Keep spare fuel on hand and let the generator cool down before adding more fuel
- Inspect the generator for any signs of damage. Avoid using it if you find cracks or leaks.
- Do not use a fuel-powered generator indoors. Doing so can cause a life-threatening accumulation of carbon monoxide in the home.
The Best Way to Secure Your Home for Hurricanes: Impact Windows
At Paradise Exteriors, we firmly believe that hurricane impact windows are the best way to protect your home from storm damage. These windows provide superior protection against debris, strong winds, and flooding while remaining permanently installed in your home – cut to fit your existing window frames.
Are you considering adding hurricane impact windows to your home? If so, call us anytime for a free estimate. We pride ourselves on prompt, courteous service and an unbeatable range of financing and warranty options to make protecting your home a seamless process that makes sense.