Hurricane Preparedness Tips For New Floridians

Long-term Floridians are well-versed in hurricane prep and planning; however, in the last few years, Florida has gained new residents from states where hurricanes are not commonplace. Below are a few safety and preparedness tips to become familiar with. Be sure to check out our full hurricane checklist which can be viewed or printed here.

  • Create an evacuation plan and speak with family and friends about your plan, what methods you will use to communicate, and how often you will communicate with them.
  • PLAN TO EVACUATE. DO NOT ASSUME YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO LEAVE. Those living along coastal areas or in a manufactured home are the most likely to be evacuated and the first to be evacuated, so plan ahead accordingly if you fit these requirements.
  • If you are unsure, check if you are in a flood zone. If you are in a flood zone or near one, be prepared to evacuate, even if it is not mandated by the state so you are not stranded at home. Hurricanes carry a lot of rain with them and even areas surrounding a flood zone can be badly affected.
  • Check with your local fire department or city office to see if they will be distributing sandbags to the public. Sandbags are a great resource for keeping the heavy rains from sneaking in under doorways.
  • Review our hurricane checklist and begin to gather the items necessary to complete the list.
  • Trim trees back from your house and vehicles. Cut the wood into small pieces that can be used to make a bonfire, which can be handy for cooking should you lose power.
  • If you have storm covers for windows, install them into place. In a pinch, plywood does work fairly well to cover glass doors and windows.
  • If you have a generator, make sure it is in working order and purchase gas for it. If you do not have a generator, either purchase one or scout your friends, family, and neighbors to see who does have one. It is very common for power outages to occur and last for hours (or days if a power line goes down). A generator will not only help keep you in comfort but can also keep your refrigerator running and help to prevent losing any food.
  • Take pictures of all your valuable items. Do a thorough video walkthrough of your home to document all property (including vehicles) and valuables. This can help the filing of an insurance claim to go more smoothly.
  • Should you lose power, use up perishable items in your fridge and freezer, starting with the more expensive items so that they do not go to waste. A generator can help power your fridge but without one, your food has a safe consumption timeframe. Keeping the doors closed, food can stay safe for up to 4 hours in a refrigerator and up to 48 hours if the freezer is full, 24 hours if it is only half-full.
  • Put a full tank of gas in all of your vehicles a few days prior to the hurricane estimated to make landfall (or evacuate if you are in a high-risk area). Gas shortages are common as many residents plan to evacuate, collect fuel for their generators, and fuel up their vehicles.
  • Get out as much cash as you can. If the power goes out, you won’t be able to use debit or credit cards for gas or food. If you can, keep some change on hand as well—the cashiers will appreciate the exact change whenever possible.
  • Make sure you have a first aid kit on hand.
  • Make sure there are fresh batteries in all your flashlights and hurricane lamps and purchase extra batteries to have on hand.
  • Purchase (or locate if you already have one) a crank radio or battery-operated radio so you can stay up to date on weather reports and warnings. This will help save the battery on your phone/tablet, especially if the power goes out in your area.
  • Charge all phones/tablets/electronics and any external batteries to keep them charged if the power goes out.
  • Fill all tubs with water. Fill any buckets or other vessels (like reusable water bottles) with water. You can use this water to bathe, cook, or flush toilets if access to water is lost.
  • Get something that will allow you to boil water over a fire (or grill) like pots used for camping.
  • Purchase charcoal or propane for your grill. It will become a great way to cook perishables if you have an electric stove and lose power.
  • Wash all clothes in advance. This will ensure everyone has clean clothes to wear for an extended period.
  • Once everything has been washed, fill your washer with ice and use it as a cooler! This works best in top loaders (front loaders may make a mess once the ice melts and the door is opened).
  • Fill all coolers with ice/ice packs and move food/drinks over to the coolers roughly 6 hours prior to when the hurricane is predicted to hit. Turn the thermostat in your fridge down to its lowest setting and only open it in an emergency.
  • Eat cold perishable items first before breaking into the pantry items so that the food does not go to waste.

These tips are collected from the internet, clients, followers on our social media, friends, family, and neighbors. Always act with safety in mind first.

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