Preparing Your Florida Home for a Hurricane

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Florida Hurricane Home Preparation Guide

The three main parts of hurricane home preparation are creating a plan, preparing your house, and preparing any vehicles or additional property you may have that may be at risk in the hurricane zone. The first priority of a hurricane preparedness plan is to safeguard you and your family, and then your property.

Preparing Your Home For a Hurricane

Evaluate your risks

The elevation level of your home is an important factor in determining whether your land is flood-prone. Check your elevation level to see whether it is likely for you to sustain storm surges or tidal flooding. 

A flood map from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can help you see whether you live in a zone with high flooding risks. Florida properties usually have substantial risks of flooding, which impacts everything from flood insurance rates to how homes are built. Learn all about FEMA flood zones.

Cover your windows

By covering your home’s windows, you can protect yourself from potential glass breakages and risks of glass shards in your home. The best way to protect your windows is usually to install permanent storm shutters. Another option is to board the windows up with plywood that is cut to fit. 

Tape does not usually provide adequate protection when it comes to covering windows.

Roof safety

Unfortunately during hurricane season, many roofs have the risk of being damaged. Roof damage may be reduced if you install straps or clips to fasten your roof more securely to the house structure. 

Trim your trees and clear clogged gutters

Trimming your nearby shrubbery and trees can help them become more wind resistant. If there are tall trees, be aware that they may fall onto your building in case of a severe storm.

Clearing clogged or loose rain gutters and downspouts can also help reduce damage to your property.

Reinforce your garage doors

Wind damage can be extremely serious. Reinforce the doors to your garage to potentially avoid dangerous and expensive structural damages.

Determine which room is the safest

No matter if you have a hurricane shelter area, it is a good idea to determine which room is the safest in your home. 

If you reside in a high-rise building, it is recommended that you take shelter below the 10th floor. 

Secure your additional property

If you own additional property and valuables such as a boat, make sure you have a plan in place for securing your boat and storing it before hurricane season. 

Install an emergency generator

You never know when power might go out. A safely installed emergency generator may be able to help you out.

Florida hurricane emergency planning guide 

An important part of any hurricane emergency plan is to make sure you and your family have an emergency kit, a communication plan, as well as an evacuation plan. Everyone should be on the same page ahead of time so that in case of an emergency, the proper safety procedures can be made.

What should you include in an emergency kit?

An emergency supply kit should be prepared well ahead of time and be kept in a safe location everyone is aware of. Essential supplies should include (but are not limited to):

  • Water - at least one gallon per day per person, enough for 3 to 7 days
  • Food - nonperishable food for at least 3 to 7 days
  • A can opener - for nonperishable foods
  • Radio - a radio and an NOAA weather radio with tone alert
  • Flashlights 
  • Extra batteries - for your battery powered devices
  • First aid kit
  • Medicine and prescription drugs 
  • Whistle 
  • Fully-charged cell phones - it is best to have backup battery power as well
  • Cash, traveler’s checks, and change - it can be helpful to have small bills and coins
  • Dust mask - in case of contaminated air
  • Duct tape and plastic sheeting 
  • Garbage bags, towels, and sanitation items 
  • Wrench/pliers 
  • Vehicles - along with fuel and local maps 
  • Copies of important documents - keep these in waterproof bags. Include information such as your identification documents, insurance policies, and bank account records

Sometimes, a hurricane can hit when you aren’t home or able to access the emergency kit. Keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car, home, and wherever you think one may be necessary. It is always good to be prepared. 

What needs to be in an evacuation plan?

Learn about local evacuation routes for hurricanes. Finding higher ground is often key to safety. Discuss with your family where you would go in case of an emergency, as well as how you would get there in case of a hurricane. 

What is a hurricane communication plan?

A family and/or friend communication plan is important in case of an emergency. This can include shared information such as where to go in case of a hurricane, evacuation routes, and emergency contact information.

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