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South Florida Prepares for a Hurricane: Check List and Tips

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 14:04
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Hurricane PreparednessToday a hurricane watch was issues for South Florida which is our home state.

There are lots of check lists that advise what to do once a hurricane looks like it’s headed your way. We always suggest doing things at the beginning of hurricane season versus waiting until the last minute and finding yourself unprepared.  In most cases it’s things we should all be keeping up with anyway but have been procrastinating, so it’s time to get organized!

1.   Check your fire extinguishers. (something we should all do at least once per year). Why fire extinguishers? Some people have had accidents with candles starting unexpected fires.
2.   Check your tools.  Do you know where that drill is if you need to put up hurricane shutters? Have a small tool box set aside with what you would need if you knew that a storm was headed in your direction. A hammer to board up windows,sturdy nails, a shovel, rope, work gloves and duct tape are all good items to have. Include a pair of scissors as well.
Rain gear…it never hurts to have boots or a fold up panchos with your tools, as some storms bring rain days before they arrive and you will need to be outdoors preparing your home.
3.   Check your flashlights.  Make sure they are all working or replace them.  Try to have a few scattered around the house in case of power loss. Battery operated lanterns are a great option as well.
4.    Buy batteries.  You will be in a rush to get gas, water and ice, why not scratch batteries off the list?
5.    Trim your plants and trees, don’t leave oversized branches or anything hanging over your home or roof.
6.    If you have accordion hurricane shutters.  Make sure you to take a day and close each one – this way you check the locks and ensure that you have all of the keys. We had one master key made for our shutters which is nice, but easy to misplace from one year to another, so make sure you know where everything is.
7.    Purchase large garbage bags…these will come in handy for cleaning up after a storm.
8.    Keep up with your car.  Just in case you need to evacuate, you want to make sure you are up to date on your oil change and check your tire pressure as well. A few days before a storm arrives make sure you have a full tank of gas.
9.    Check your insurance policy.  Make sure there are no changes in coverage and that you understand your deductible.  Do you need flood or mold insurance separately? Photograph your valuables.
10.  Keep all of your important documents in one place.  Again if you are faced with leaving your home quickly, if you have all of your insurance documents, wills, passports, birth certificates, etc. in one place.  It will be easy to pack up. Even if you stay home, by having them all in one place you can put them in a ziplock bag to prevent water damage.
11.  If you don’t already have one, consider buying a small battery operated radio or tv.  You will need this to be able to keep up with the news if the power goes out.
12.  Make sure you have a cell phone charger that works in your car.  You may not have power for days and want to be able to stay connected with the outside world.
13.  Restock your first aid kit.
14.  Look over your kitchen items.  Make sure you have a manual can opener, hand sanitizer, a bottle opener and disposable pans for cooking.  Plastic ziplock type bags are great to have on hand as well.
15.  Make sure you have an old fashioned plug in phone.  Even if land lines are working, your cordless home phones won’t work without electricity.

Believe me, there will still be a lot to do if a hurricane approaches your area, but by having this list done you are sure to be more prepared and confident you won’t be missing important items.

Once a Hurricane Watch or Warning has been issued:

  • Have communication plan with friends, family and your job.  Power outages can also affect cell phones towers so don’t assume you can always use your phone.
  • If you have pets either consider a boarding facility or have plans for them to be able to use the bathroom inside the home while conditions outside are unsafe. (puppy pads)
  • Have about a gallon of water per person in your house per day – our suggestion is to have 3 to 4 days worth. Dont forget extra water if you have pets.
  • Have plastic plates, utensils and canned goods.
  • Make sure all of your prescriptions have been refilled so you have plenty on hand.
  • Make sure your cell phone, I-pads, etc. are fully charged
  • Fill your car up with gas.
  • Have cash on hand.  You may be able to buy groceries or food a few days after the storm, but often credit card machines won’t work when its a storm that has caused a lot of damage in your area.
  • Store extra water (such as filling bathtubs) that can be used for flushing toilets and cleaning after the storm.
  • Have bleach and hand sanitizer wipes available.
  • Stock up on things to do like books, games, a deck or cards, etc.
  • If you have a grill, make sure your propane tank is full. Have utensils as the grill may be the only way you can cook the first few days after a big storm goes through your area.
  • Turn fridge to coldest setting and try not to open.  Have a small cooler to keep snacks and drinks on hand without having to open the refrigerator.
  • Foods that are good to have on hand include comfort food (chips, cookies, granola bars,) canned milk, trail mix, box juice, peanut butter and jelly, canned veggies, beans, chili, soups or meats.
  • If you have them – put up your shutters.
  • Choose a safe room that has no windows if possible to stay in during the peak of the storm.

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