Local’s Guide and Tips for Hurricane Preparations
This is a guide to help the people of Florida prepare for hurricane season. Included are tips for your family, home, and mental state. Written for those new to Florida and those who have been here for years. It has a hurricane preparedness checklist and other info you need to be ready when the storms come. We have decades of past experience during Florida hurricane seasons. This article shares the most important info from local knowledge and past experiences.
Table of Contents
- Local’s Guide and Tips for Hurricane Preparations
- Gather Supplies Before a Hurricane
- Safety in Your Home During the Storm
- Put Together Your Hurricane Evacuation Kit
- Find Hurricane Shelters Near You
- Plan an Evacuation Route
- Take Care of Your Elderly Loved Ones
- Include a Pet Plan in Your Hurricane Preparations
- Prepare and Protect Your Home and Property
- Check Your Home Insurance When Preparing for a Hurricane
- Be Proactive with Your Home Hurricane Coverage
- Preparing Your Mental State for a Hurricane
Hurricane season in Florida runs from June 1st through November 30th every year. The majority of storms form between the months of August and October. Records show September to be the peak month with the most activity from year to year. The hurricane forecast for 2022 is shaping up to be above average. Forecasters speculate as many as 19 named storms, 11 of which could become hurricanes. This includes 6-7 major hurricanes this year.
Hurricane categories rank from 1 to 5 with a Category 5 being the most powerful. Major hurricanes will carry a Category 3 or higher rank and are the most dangerous.
When a storm starts to approach, it is imperative to follow hurricane tracking services for updates in your area. We use the following resources when tracking live hurricanes:
- National Hurricane Center (www.NHC.NOAA.gov)
- The Weather Channel Florida (Weather.com)
- Florida Weather Radar (www.AccuWeather.com)
- Hurricane Tracker App (www.HurrTracker.com)
Below are helpful tips for preparing for a hurricane in Florida. Start as soon as possible with your hurricane preparations. Being prepared will help relieve stress when the storms approach.
Gather Supplies Before a Hurricane
Having the right supplies beforehand is very important. Stock up on water and nonperishable foods before the mad rush when a storm threatens your area. FEMA recommends you have enough food and water on hand for each member of your family for at least a week. When preparing for a hurricane, also consider the time right after the storm. Even when a hurricane has passed, your area may not have power and/or water for days or weeks.
Ready.org suggests the following food and water quantities at the least:
- One gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation
- Several-days supply of non-perishable foods for each person
It is also wise to ensure your medications do not get too low during hurricane season. Make sure you have enough as a precautionary measure so you do not run out.
Purchasing a generator and fuel to supply power to your home in case of an outage may also be considered.
Florida’s Hurricane Preparedness Tax Holiday
The state of Florida helps with the expense of preparing for hurricanes. For a limited time you can buy qualifying items sales tax free. 2022’s Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday starts Saturday, May 28th, 2022 and ends Friday, June 10th, 2022. Florida Department of Revenue has the following PDF available for more details. 2022 Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday: Frequently Asked Questions for Consumers.
Hurricane Preparedness Checklist
Use this checklist for hurricane preparedness to check-off items you have. This will help you keep track of the items you still need.
Remember to get certain items before a storm approaches to avoid them selling out. This will help relieve anxiety once the storm has arrived. Bottled water, plywood to secure your home, and batteries sellout the fastest. Also, make sure at least one vehicle has a full tank of gas in case you need to evacuate.
Safety in Your Home During the Storm
If you choose to stay in your home during a hurricane, identify the safest place to be. Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Do not venture outside during a hurricane. Once the hurricane has past, be aware of fallen debris, moving water, and downed power lines.
Put Together Your Hurricane Evacuation Kit
Preparing for a hurricane includes an evacuation kit. Your hurricane kit is time-saving in case you need to evacuate on short notice. Items like essential documents, medicines, bottled water, and small first aid kit. You should also include blankets, flashlights, and phone charger with cables.
Don’t forget cash in small bills, sentimental items, and anything else your family may need. Everything should be in one area so you don’t have to spent time hunting for them if the worst happens.
Hurricane Evacuation Kit Checklist
This hurricane preparation list is for gathering your evacuation kit. Check-off the items you already have on the list. It will help your keep track of items you need to get.
Make sure your essentials are convenient to carry in a backpack. Small travel bottles of hygiene products like shampoo, toothpaste, etc. work well.
Find Hurricane Shelters Near You
Locating a shelter near you is crucial when preparing for a hurricane. One of the most critical decisions made during an emergency is whether to leave or stay in your home. If you plan to evacuate (or mandated to), find out the shelters near you beforehand. You can find this information by calling your County Emergency Directors’ office.
Plan an Evacuation Route
An option to finding a shelter is to evacuate by leaving the area. Evacuating ahead of the storm can be stressful so plan out your route ahead of time. Mapping where you go and how best to get there saves time and stress.
In the past, interstates become parking lots during a hurricane evacuation. So many people on the same road at the same time causes jams. It is smart to get a map and plan out alternative routes to your final destination. This will cut down on the worry of having to out run a hurricane in a traffic jam.
Take Care of Your Elderly Loved Ones
If you have an older person in your life that lives in Florida, there are a few things you can do to prepare them. Whether you live near or far away, you can ensure they have the proper resources.
- Make sure they have a written (not an electronic) list of their important contents. Medical information, medication list, ID, birth certificate, passport, deed or lease, and insurance policies.
- Ensure that all medicines are in excess. The American Red Cross recommend having at least a 7-day supply. Having extras of their medication also helps stress relief.
- Secure their pets in a carrier or on a leash. Encourage your elderly to do this before the storm hits. This way they are not trying to track down a scared animal during the chaos.
- If they live in a facility, contact the office to ask about their emergency plan for hurricane season.
Read more about Hurricane Preparation for Your Parents or Elderly Loved Ones.
Include a Pet Plan in Your Hurricane Preparations
If you are a pet owner, ensure you have food for them for at least a month. Also, prepare an emergency supply of medications. A one-month supply of medicines like flea, tick and heartworm prevention will do.
In the event of an evacuation, it may be difficult to find shelter for your animals, so plan ahead. Do not wait until disaster strikes to do your research. Many cities are developing shelter plans for animals. Check if your local emergency shelter plan includes pets.
Prepare and Protect Your Home and Property
Take a look around your home and remove items that could be a projectile in hurricane force winds. For example, if you have large trees near your home, trim them back. This can help lower the chances of them falling on your home during a storm.
Major hurricanes rank Category 3 or higher. Their wind speeds are well over 100 miles per hour and do the most damage. This hurricane wind scale chart by the NOAA shows wind speeds for each category rating. Make sure you consider this when preparing for a hurricane.
If you have hurricane shutters, inspect them to make sure they are in working order. An alternative is to use plywood to protect your home’s windows and doors. Buy plywood now and store it in your garage to avoid the rush and risk of plywood running out.
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale
|3 (Major)||111-129 MPH|
|4 (Major)||130-156 MPH|
|5 (Major)||157 MPH or higher|
Hurricane Preparedness Checklist for Your Home
This home hurricane preparation list is to ensure tasks get done beforehand. Check-off items you have completed on the list to help you keep track of tasks you still need done.
Preparing your home and property for a hurricane can save you a lot of money. Even the simplest tasks like clearing out your gutters and drains can be huge. This will help keep water away from your home and lower water damage. Also, consider other hurricane preparations needed for your specific situation.
Check Your Home Insurance When Preparing for a Hurricane
Don’t wait until it is too late to check that the status of your home insurance coverage is active. When a hurricane is coming, your area could get placed under moratorium. During this time, you can not buy a new policy, make changes to your existing policy, or upgrade your coverage.
Did you know Florida homeowners’ insurance alone does not cover flood damage? This includes water damage caused by a hurricane. Look at your homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy for specific flood coverage. If something isn’t clear to you, contact your agent and get an explanation of exactly what your policy will provide for you. Ask what your hurricane deductible is and if you have flood coverage.
Review your policy with a knowledge insurance agent to protect your home and family. Check your coverage amounts and deductible. Ensure your current coverage is enough to replace your belongings if lost due to a hurricane. You may also get living expenses to help cover food and hotel costs. There is also food spoilage coverage in the event of a wide spread power outage.
Be Proactive with Your Home Hurricane Coverage
Being proactive is important because flood policies can take up to 30-days to take effect. Keep in mind, flood insurance is not available if there is a tropical storm less than 250 miles off the coast.
Make an inventory of home, furniture, and belongings. Take cellphone photos or videos to show proof of ownership. Be sure to include each room, the outside of the home, and your roof if possible. Your photos and/or videos are tangible proof that can help if you need to file an insurance claim later.
Finally, keep a copy of your insurance policy with you if possible. Take a photo of these documents on your phone or other device. Doing this will provide quick access to them if you are ever without internet.
Need help with your home insurance or flood insurance? Caton Hosey agents are here to help with over 70 years of insurance and hurricane experience. Our staff can answer questions and provide valuable insight into home insurance. Contact us for more information or call us at 1-800-767-3161 today.
Preparing Your Mental State for a Hurricane
Dealing with a hurricane can cause strong emotions and stress. These feelings can be even more intense due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anxiety and loss of control can seem overwhelming at times. It is wise to get help coping with these natural feelings. Seek council from family, friends, and professionals when necessary.
People with pre-existing mental health conditions should continue their treatment and/or medication. Also be aware of new or worsening symptoms during hurricane season. Reach out to a doctor or professional if you feel conditions worsen.
In closing, our aim is to help with a guide we can all follow to prepare for hurricanes. We hope the hurricane preparedness checklists help you organize your items fast. Please feel free to share this with your family and friends. Preparing for a hurricane can be stressful. But, we are confident using this info can better manage the stress of hurricane season.