With endless beaches, turquoise water, sunny skies and endless outdoor activities, there is no denying that life in Florida is a little slice of paradise. But even paradise occasionally has bad weather, and for Florida that means hurricane season. With Hurricane Matthew quickly approaching, here’s a quick refresher of what to do before, during and after a hurricane:
Unlike tornados, hurricanes give plenty of time to prepare. Take this head start seriously and begin preparing as soon as a hurricane threat arises.
- Walk around the perimeter of your home and bring in any patio furniture, barbeques and anything else that can become airborne in high winds. gov points out that while you may be tempted to store your propane tank in your garage. Instead, anchor it outside – never store propane tanks indoors.
- Stock up on batteries, locate your flashlights, get cash out of the ATM, restock your emergency supply kit, purchase at least one gallon of water per family member, fill your car up with gas, stock your car with emergency supplies and make sure you have plenty of non-perishable food.
- If you have a saw, make sure to pack it in your car. If you are evacuating or coming back after an evacuation, a saw will help to navigate tree-blocked roads.
- Keep your cell phone charged and have a back-up charger ready
- Cover all windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood or custom fit hurricane shutters.
- If you are in an area that is being told to evacuate, evacuate sooner than later.
- If you are not in an evacuation zone, make sure to close the storm shutters and stay far away from any windows and skylights and ride out the storm in your most interior room with no windows, such as a walk in closet or bathroom.
- Keep your battery operated radio nearby and frequently turn it on to check for updates.
- Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting possbible and keep the doors shut to maintain the cold in case power is lost.
- If you think your home may flood, Florida Travel Expert Dawn Henthorn suggests turning off the electricity at the main breaker as a precaution.
- Above all, do not go outside until all clear has been given.
- Only return home after the all clear has been given.
- Be vigilant about downed power lines and trees and do not walk or drive through water as it may be electrically charged from downed power lines, according to gov.
- Take pictures of your property for your insurance company. Many insurance companies won’t cover damage that occurs after the hurricane, so make sure you have photos to prove what damage was caused by the storm.
- Only call 911 for life threatening emergencies and call the utility company to report downed power lines.
- Take steps to immediately prevent further damage, such as sealing broken windows or preventing more water from getting in through a damaged roof.