If a hurricane approaches your area, are you prepared? Do you have an evacuation plan?
This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week and if you live in Central Florida, whether you are a homeowner, renting, or a business owner – it is important to make a plan NOW – before it’s too late.
According to the NOAA, The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season could be “extremely active”. They are predicting approximately 18 named storms, 9 of which are expected to become hurricanes.
Being a homeowner is a huge responsibility. More than likely, it is one of the biggest investments you’ve ever made. Don’t get me wrong, the first, and most important, part of being prepared is protecting yourself and your family. However, preparing for a hurricane and protecting your home could also save you a lot of heartache and grief after the storm passes.
Know the difference!
A Hurricane Watch is when hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans. Get ready to act if a warning is issued, and stay informed.
A Hurricane Warning is when hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.
Here are the steps to ensuring you are prepared:
To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communication plan to determine what you will do, should you get separated. You could assign single point of contact (friend or family member) and instruct each person to contact that person to let them know you are OK.
Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you need to evacuate.
Select a safe place for the family to “hunker down” – This may be a windowless location on the bottom floor of your home. If every room has windows, consider a closet. If there isn’t a safe place in your home, and you have young children, seniors or someone with special medical needs living in the home, contact your county to make prior evacuation arrangements.
Be sure to stock up on non-perishable food and water – You should have enough to last at minimum, a few weeks.
Have basic disaster supplies on hand – Items such as; candles, matches, batteries, flashlights, rope, tarps, plastic bags, appropriate clothing and other essentials to help you through once the storm passes.
Secure your property – Get your home ready before it approaches. Keep a close eye on the news and weather forecasts and be sure you don’t wait until the last minute. It may be too late. If you have hurricane shutters, make sure that you have everything you need to put them up. If you don’t, have precut plywood available to cover your windows, gather any items from your yard and store it inside.
Protect your valuables – If you have a lot of valuables in your home, even if they are in a safe, be sure they are easily accessible, in case you need to evacuate quickly. You could also consider storing them in a safety deposit box ahead of time and retrieve them once the storm passes.
Check your insurance coverage – Most insurance companies will not write coverage when a storm is approaching. Ensure that your homeowner’s insurance has enough windstorm coverage to rebuild your home at today’s market price. Also, remember that standard insurance doesn’t cover floods. You’ll need separate flood insurance from the federal government.
Make a plan to keep your pets safe – Most shelters will not accept pets. If you want to ensure your pets livelihood, you may wish to consider evacuating early to a friend’s home that’s in a safe area.
Keep your vehicles filled up – When a storm approaches, lines for gas will be long, and many gas stations will run out of gas, before the storm even hits. Be sure you have enough gas to safely evacuate, if necessary.
DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES TO HELP YOU PREPARE:
FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN
A two page form intended to help families document information necessary after an emergency.
Printer Friendly Family Emergency Plan
EMERGENCY SUPPLY LIST
A comprehensive list of suggested materials to use in order to prepare for emergencies in one’s home and for their families.
Emergency Supply List
A comprehensive brochure explaining the key steps to emergency preparedness, including: being informed, making a plan, building a kit, and getting involved.
“Prepare for Emergencies Now: Information to Get Ready”
A unique brochure containing information for pet owners and suggestions for proactive pet emergency preparedness.
“Prepare For Emergencies Now: Information For Pet Owners”
A unique brochure with information specific to Older Americans and tips on how to prepare for emergency situations.
“Prepare For Emergencies Now: Information For Older Americans”
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
A unique brochure with information specific to Americans with disabilities and other access and functional needs regarding emergency preparedness.
“Prepare For Emergencies Now: Information For People With Disabilities.”
OTHER DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES
Phone: (800) 621-3362