June 1 through November 1 is hurricane season. You need to be prepared if you live in southern Florida or anywhere else in the state. If you live in an area that could experience impact from a storm, you need to know how to keep yourself and your family safe. Here are some tips to help you do that.
One of the first things you need to learn is your evacuation zone. If you are told to evacuate, you don’t want to have to scramble to decide where you are going to be heading. You can easily discover where you are going to be forced to evacuate with a quick online search of the county you live in coupled with “evacuation zone.”
When you hit on your results, you will see your county and five colored rings. Each of the rings is labeled with a capital letter. A is the first area to be evacuated, followed by B, then C and so on. People who live in a manufactured home will be ordered to evacuate no matter which zone they fall in. Mobile homes are not built strongly enough to survive the force of a hurricane or other major storm.
You should already have a hurricane kit prepared. If you don’t, start putting one together one now. You don’t want to be one of the people who are running to the stores when a storm is imminent only to find that supplies are picked over and difficult to come by.
Consider not only what you will need when you are weathering the storm but after. Store shelves can be empty for weeks following a hurricane. At a minimum, you will need:
- Food and water that will last you for three days. Bear in mind that you will want to choose foods that you don’t have to cook and that don’t require refrigeration. You also don’t want to choose foods that will spoil if not kept frozen. If you choose canned foods, grab a manual can opener. When you are buying water, remember that you may have to use it to clean up in addition to drinking it. Plan on at least a gallon per person per day.
- You will want to put together a First Aid kit. Ice packs, bandages, splints and antibiotic ointment will be the very basic supplies in your kit. Gather more than that if you need to. For example, if anyone in your family takes regular medication, you will want to make sure you have this stocked as well.
- Gather your documents and keep them in once place. Things like titles, identifying documents, birth certificates and deeds should all be placed in a waterproof container.
- Flashlights and extra batteries can ensure that you and your family can see into the night if the power goes out. You can also buy things called puck lights at your local home improvement store. These are relatively inexpensive LED lights that can be stuck around your home or carried with you in your bag.
- If you have kids, think of ways you can keep them entertained without power. Coloring books, board games, books and whatever else you can think of should be placed in your kit.
Stock Up On Plywood
The winds aren’t the only thing that are dangerous about a hurricane. It’s often the flying debris hurled about by that wind that causes the most damage. Plywood sells out rapidly once a hurricane is announced.
Take a moment to measure your windows, decide what size sheets you will need and go stock up on plywood now. Cut the plywood to fit your windows and drill holes in the corners. That way, you can screw them up quickly if a storm is imminent.
Watch the Weather
Keep an eye on the weather reports, but make sure you are watching what is being broadcast or released by the National Hurricane Center and NOAA. While weather reporters try their best, they have been known to drop the ball when it comes to storm reporting. You don’t want to rely on mainstream media when it comes to your life and the lives of your family members.
Purchase a weather alert radio if you haven’t already. These can be indispensable if the power goes out. They are battery powered and will get alerts from NOAA every three hours.
Let’s face it: No one wants to leave their home behind. When you are ordered to evacuate, it’s because that’s the safest thing to do. Don’t ignore the order. The most important thing is your safety and the safety of those you love. If emergency is declared and you are asked to leave your home, grab your hurricane kit and leave. Go to the shelter you are advised.
If you are lucky, you will be able to return to an intact home. If you are one of the people who has major property damage, try to remember that’s what insurance is for. Staying at home would not have prevented the damage and may resulted in more tragic loss.
The thought of being involved in any type of major storm is frightening. There is nothing that you can do to prevent it from happening, meaning the best thing you can do is be prepared. Use the tips above to make sure that you and your family are as safe as possible this season and ready for whatever the weather may throw at you.
If you are injured during or after a hurricane due to someone else’s actions or negligence, you may have the right to seek compensation in a court of law. Contact a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney to set up a free case evaluation and discover more about your rights. We are here for you and your family during your time of need.