It is important to be aware and get prepared for the Atlantic Hurricane Season. While there hasn’t been two named storms before the official season start since 1908, this does not necessarily predict the severity of the remainder of the season. However, the fact that a hurricane has not made direct landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005, coupled with many new, inexperienced coastal residents can create a complacency toward preparation. But it is not difficult to do a few simple things to prepare and to overall make sure you have a plan for you and your family if a powerful storm does threaten Central Florida.
Make an emergency kit with items such as flashlights, radios, batteries and first aid. Also make a family communication plan and ensure everyone knows the plan in case of evacuation.
Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
Make plans to secure your property.
Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
Determine how and where to secure your boat.
Install a generator for emergencies.
If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
This is not an exhaustive list and there are many other things that you can do to ensure the safety of you and your family. For more information, visit the National Hurricane Center’s official website that includes much more in-depth guidelines as well as informative videos.