Hurricane season starts on June 1 and lasts until November 30, but nature does not follow a schedule. Although the peak of the season tends to be in August through September, it is better to start preparing for hurricanes long before they arrive in Florida. Consider the following tips as you prepare your home.
Sign Up for Notifications
To prepare for hurricane season, make sure you are signed up for weather notifications in your area. Miami-Dade county has free alerts you can sign up for on its website. You can get emergency alerts about tropical storms or hurricane warnings issued by the National Weather Service. The alerts can be sent as text messages or emails, so you never miss anything.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also has a free app that works on Apple and Android devices. FEMA’s app sends alerts from the National Weather Service and provides information on open shelters or disaster recovery centers.
Check Your Insurance
As you start to prepare, consider checking your home insurance coverage and what it will pay for in case of damage. For example, your policy should cover wind damage after a storm. Most insurance companies provide coverage for hurricanes, but it is still a good idea to verify it with your agent because storm surges and flood damage may not be included. You may have to purchase additional insurance.
Create an Evacuation Plan
You will need to make an evacuation plan for your household in Miami. First, decide where you will go as a family in case of a hurricane. You may be able to stay with a friend or another family member. Another option is a hotel or motel. A hurricane shelter may also be a possibility.
Second, you have to figure out how you will evacuate. Make sure every family member is part of the plan and decide what you will do if you are separated before a hurricane starts. Next, consider mapping out potential routes out of the city that you can use. Finally, create a communication plan that includes everyone and has backups in case phones are not working.
Keep in mind that an evacuation may give you no time to prepare, or you may have a few hours. In a state of panic, you may forget something important, so write down your evacuation plan and give all your family members a print and digital copy.
Make a Disaster Supply Kit
Every household in Florida should have a disaster supply kit. It should include a first-aid kit with all the essentials, such as bandages, scissors, antibiotic cream, gauze, antiseptic, over-the-counter medications and splints.
Items such as tweezers, disposable gloves, bug spray and eye drops may also be useful to include. As you put together your disaster kit, you can consult the Red Cross first aid app to make sure you have everything you need. The app has a list of common emergencies, like choking or allergies, and how to handle them.
However, a first-aid kit is not the only thing you will need to gather before a hurricane. You will need bottled water and nonperishable food to last at least three days. Other items include a radio, batteries, cash, prescription medicines, flashlights and chargers for devices. Some people like to have paper or plastic plates and utensils on hand, so they do not have to worry about dishes during an emergency.
Prepare for Your Pets
If you have pets, you do not want to overlook them in the preparation plans before a hurricane. They should be up to date on all of their shots and vet appointments. Make sure you keep all of their shot documentation in case it is useful. You should have extra food, water and medicines for your pets in storage along with your other supplies. Some comfort items like toys or blankets are also nice to have for pets. A crate that is large enough for them may be a necessity.
Hurricanes can be unpredictable and devastating. In addition to taking physical steps to get ready for one, you can also try to prepare emotionally. Consider signing up for or trying different relaxation processes well ahead of hurricane season, so you will be mentally strong. Some practices that may help include yoga, meditation and exercise.
The key is to prepare your brain and body at the same time. The stress of hurricane season can take a serious toll on both, so you have to stay strong. Do not neglect your emotional health during this time.
Before the hurricane season arrives, you can take steps to prepare. From checking your insurance to creating an evacuation plan, there are specific things you should do. It is better to be prepared months in advance of any hurricane.