Don't Forget: Now Is the Peak of Florida Hurricane Season

Posted by Julian Yates on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 at 5:22pm.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 1st. While there is a big media blitz every May to prepare local residents for hurricane season, by September -- the climatological peak of storm activity -- much of this important advice may have been forgotten.


So let's take a few moments out, dig up that hurricane preparedness kit that may be buried beneath beach toys in the garage, and go over some important tips that could help keep your family, your home, and your property safe in the event a major storm appears on our local weather radar.


Before we get started, I want to stress that hurricanes are not the only danger to your home during storm season. Even tropical depressions should be taken very seriously and monitored closely as they approach. The word “hurricane” gets so much focus that often residents will put down their guard when a tropical depression moves into the area without developing into a named storm. This can be a very big mistake; even if there are no hurricane-force winds, flooding and resultant water damage sustained from any tropical storm can often be just as destructive.


Tip #1: Make sure you are properly insured

As mentioned above, flooding can cause tremendous damage -– so much so that insurance companies don't include flood insurance on typical homeowner policies, instead treating it as a separate policy. Having an up-to-date homeowner's policy is not enough. Make sure you know whether or not you are living in a flood zone and determine if you have adequate flood insurance as well. Keep in mind there can be a 30-day waiting period before any new coverage takes effect.


Tip #2: Have an escape plan

In the event of a severe hurricane, you may be instructed by local officials to evacuate your home. Don't wait until the last minute to develop an escape plan should this situation arise. This should be a written plan with copies for every family member that contains the following information:


  • A Plan A and Plan B so that family members who are separated can find one another

  • Emergency contact numbers

  • Phone numbers of family and friends (include someone out-of-state who can act as a main contact)

  • List of area hurricane shelters

  • Evacuation routes

  • Pet vaccination information, descriptions, and photos for identification

Keep in mind that you may not be home when emergency situations arise. Family members may be at school or work, so allow for these possibilities in your plan.


Also, pets should not be left at home if you have to evacuate. Check with local hurricane shelters to find out their policies. If they don't allow pets, make alternative plans. Make sure you have the necessary supplies your pet may require, including food, litter, bedding, leash, collar, identification tags, and medications.


Tip #3: If it seems likely that a hurricane will hit

  • Bring in anything from your yard that could be caught by the wind and inflict damage or injury. This includes lawn furniture, planters, grills, and bikes.

  • Secure all doors and windows. If you don't have hurricane shutters, plywood can be used to board up doors and windows.

  • Turn off any gas lines.

  • Buy bags of ice for your freezer, and turn both freezer and refrigerator up to their coldest settings to keep food from spoiling if the power goes out.

  • Charge up all battery-operated electronic devices.

  • Unplug all small and non-essential electronics and appliances.

  • Fill your car's gas tank.

  • Put all valuable documents (including insurance policies) and data storage devices into an easily-portable, watertight container.

Tip #4: Have emergency supplies

When it comes to hurricane supplies, the early bird gets the worm. Don't wait until the last minute or you may only find empty store shelves. Some recommended items include:

  • Food, water, and dry clothing to last at least three days

  • Battery-operated radio

  • A flashlight for each family member

  • A battery-operated lantern (avoid candles, kerosene lanterns, or any light sources dependent on an open flame)

  • Extra batteries for all devices

  • First aid kit and any essential medications

  • An adequate supply of cash

  • An automotive emergency kit including flares, Fix-A-Flat, and jumper cables.

Tip #5: What to do if a hurricane strikes your home

  • Stay away from windows, French doors, and sliding glass doors. Ideally you should move to an interior room with no windows.

  • Use phone lines sparingly. If you do need to make a call and the lines are overloaded, try texting.

  • Closely monitor weather and instructions from local officials by radio, Internet, or television if available.

  • If you are told to evacuate, do so!

Remember, September is the peak month for hurricane season in Florida. Be prepared!

If you have questions about the Sarasota area and Florida life in general, consider Julian your resident expert. Feel free to get in touch by email or phone.


Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist

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