Hurricane season in Florida starts in May and lasts until the end of November. Hurricanes in Florida are no joke. Floridians have the preparation down to a T, but new residents are always moving to the state. To all our new Floridians, we can fill you in! Hurricanes can be devastating especially when you are not fully prepared for it.
Everything you need to know about preparation before and what to do after a hurricane is outlined below so you can feel confident when experiencing your first hurricane!
How to Prepare for a Hurricane
Hurricane kits are essential when you are making sure you are prepared for a hurricane! When curating these kits for you and your family, please keep in mind to NEVER WAIT LAST MINUTE TO PREPARE. Keeping your family safe is the number one priority!
Essential items like bottled water, toilet paper and canned foods get cleared out quickly. You definitely do not want to miss out. For items like water and canned foods, you should always plan for at least 3 days without power.
When collecting bottled water, it is smart to store at least half in the freezer days before the hurricane hits. This way you will have ice cold water to drink and ice to keep some foods cold if needed!
Other items to have on hand:
- First aid kit
- Sanitation items
- Flashlights, candles, lighters
- Battery powered radio
- Can opener
f you have a pet or baby/small child, you also need to gather items special for them! Pets need their own food and water supply. For babies/small children, you would need diapers, baby food/formula, and possible medications for them if they were to be injured or become sick.
Other things you need to consider in advance are in relation to electronics and vehicles. Power outages can and will happen during and after a hurricane. Gas can become very scarce when preparing for a hurricane, so it is important to make sure your vehicles are fully fueled, and you have some gas canisters filled as back up!
Please do not wait until the last minute to find and fill up on gas. For your electronics, you want to make sure you have them fully charged before the hurricane strikes. It is a great idea to have some backup batteries charged as well to recharge these items. Also, whatever you do, AVOID open your fridge or freezer often during these power outages. Any food that was not used up before the hurricane that is a perishable item will spoil quicker if the coolness escapes from the fridge or freezer.
The last thing you need to do when preparing for a hurricane is making sure you have enough disposable water. What do we mean by disposable water? This would be water to use when needing to flush toilets! By filling up either sinks or a tub with water prior to a hurricane, you will be able to continue using the restroom.
Preparing Your Home and Belongings
A tropical storm is different from a hurricane, but tropical storms can become hurricanes if they pass over warm waters. Tropical storms have wind speeds ranging from 39-73 mph while hurricanes have wind speeds higher than 74 mph. Normally, warnings for hurricanes are issued 36 hours in advance for the expected affected areas.
When preparing for a hurricane, your house has some options! First make sure to gather any loose furniture, toys, plants, etc. and bring them inside your home or place them in storage temporarily. This will help you avoid losing personal items and prevent loose things from bring flung against your house or windows. Shutters are a must when protecting your windows from damage. Metal shutters tend to be the most popular in Florida and accordion shutters tend to be installed on most Florida homes. If your home does not have shutters, you have other quick options to choose from:
- Plywood – this can be a quick and semi-affordable option for your windows for easy setup and easy removal but often cannot be reused
- High Tech Fabric Panels- this option allows for easy installation and can be reused over and over again
Making sure the trees that surround your home have been trimmed so there are no loose branches is essential. The wind speeds will have no problem ripping those branches off and send the flying into your home. This goes for palm trees as well! If you have any sick or dying trees, it would be in your best interest to have them removed professionally than having them removed by a hurricane and potentially falling on to your home.
For your vehicles, the damages that can affect them are flying debris and flooding. Storing your vehicle in your garage (if you have access to one) would be your best option. But if a garage is not available, parking your vehicle on an area with elevation will help protect it against potential flooding if your area is flood-prone. For flying debris, parking your vehicle under or next to any type of covering is a great alternative as well.