June Marks The Start of Hurricane Season, Are You Prepared?...
June is finally here and along with that marks the start of Southwest Florida’s hurricane season… are you prepared? Hi my name is Marcus Larrea with Palm Paradise Real Estate and we’re here to help you get your family and home prepared in case a storm comes our way.
As we enter hurricane season, we want to help keep you informed and prepared with the most up-to-date information. Here are a few key steps to help your family develop a hurricane safety plan for the 2021 hurricane season.
1. Develop a “Family Plan” - Every hurricane season you should review, practice and update your Family Plan. This means knowing what evacuation zone you live within, creating an emergency supply kit, composing a list of emergency contacts and taking precautionary steps to protect your home. By checking local maps to see which evacuation zone you live in, you can determine if and when you need to evacuate when a storm approaches. You should know where to evacuate with your family by prearranging plans to stay with friends or family that live within a hurricane-safe zone. In case you decide to evacuate, or there is a mandatory evacuation order, plan ahead to leave as early as possible and have an alternate route planned. Give yourself enough time to leave before the weather turns bad. If you decide not to evacuate, make sure that your windows are protected, your home is secured and your emergency kit is stocked.
2. Create an Emergency Kit - To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and place your entire emergency kit within one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag. A basic emergency kit should include the following: Water (Three gallons per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation), Food (at least a three-day supply of non perishable food per person) and a manual can opener, Battery powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio, Flashlights and extra Batteries, extra pillows and blankets, a basic first aid kit along with a change of clothes and personal hygiene supplies. In addition to basic emergency supplies, keep in mind that additional items may need to be added to your emergency kit such as: prescription medications, pet food and extra water for any pets you may have, cash or traveler’s checks, important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records that should be stored in a portable and waterproof container. Keep this emergency kit in a designated place that all family members are aware of, and have it readily available in case you have to leave your home quickly.
3. Protect Your Home - By taking specific precautionary steps, you can make your home safer and more durable to the forces of wind associated with severe weather. If your roof was built before 1994 and is gabled, brace all gable-end framing with horizontal and vertical beams. Bolt all doors with foot and head bolts with a minimum one-inch bolt throw length and replace garage doors with hurricane resistant ones. Covering all of your home’s windows is one of the most important factors in securing your home. Use securely fastened impact-resistant shutters or other approved window protection systems with proper mounting systems to protect your home from any flying debris that may be catapulted by excessive wind.
4. During and After A Storm - If you decide not to evacuate before a hurricane, personal safety is of the highest importance while sheltering in your home. Make sure that you stay indoors and find a safe room away from windows, skylights and glass doors until the storm has officially passed your area. Use extra caution when determining if the hurricane has passed or not, because you may actually be in the eye of the storm. It may seem calm, but the weather can deteriorate within 10-15 minutes. If you lose power turn off major appliances such as the air conditioner and water heater to reduce damage from the surge when power is restored, and do not used candles or kerosene lamps, as they are a fire hazard.
After the hurricane has passed, be patient and be cautious. It may take some time for emergency crews to reach your neighborhood and restoring utilities could take as much as several weeks. Open windows and doors to ventilate your home, let your out of town emergency contact know that you are safe and always supervise children. Take notice of downed power lines, broken gas lines or water mains, and avoid all water puddles near these hazards. If your home is damaged or flooded do not return until it has been officially inspected.
5. Insurance Information - An excellent homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy is critical. Make sure you discuss the following with your insurance representative: Complete a comprehensive home inventory with photos and video and ask about special deductibles for hurricane damage. Does your policy cover the actual cash value or replacement costs? and do you need flood insurance? Standard homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage (including storm surge) from a hurricane. If there is damage to your home after a hurricane, notify your insurance agent as soon as possible and have your policy number on hand. Ask when you can expect an adjuster to visit your home and have any receipts and estimates on hand.
Preparing for hurricane season can be an overwhelming experience for new Florida residents and first-time homeowners. By staying informed and being prepared ahead of time by creating a plan of action, you can be ready for any approaching storms that may affect Southwest Florida. We’ve experienced our own share of hurricanes here at Palm Paradise Real Estate and we want to make sure your family and home are safe and protected by sharing these hurricane season tips. Have a great day everyone and stay safe this summer!