Storm Readiness: A Guide for Before, During, and After Hurricanes

Storm Preparations

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, especially impacting Florida with 125 recorded hurricanes since 1851. Unlike fast-forming storms, hurricanes provide advance notice, allowing time to safeguard your property and family. Understanding actions before, during, and after a hurricane is crucial to minimizing damage. Learn how to protect against potential hurricane risks.

Preparing for a Hurricane

The best time to prepare for a hurricane is before the season starts, typically between November and June. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Review Your Insurance: Check your homeowner’s insurance policy annually, as it can change. Find out what it covers in case of storm damage. If it doesn’t cover flood damage and you’re in a flood-prone area, consider adding flood insurance. Remember that flood maps are updated every five years.
  2. Know Your Evacuation Plan: Determine your evacuation zone and locate nearby evacuation routes if you live near the coast. Map out your route and identify nearby shelters for easy access during a storm.
  3. Stay Informed: Keep an eye on hurricane warnings, which are usually issued about 36 hours before tropical storm-force winds are expected. This gives you approximately a day and a half to prepare for the impending storm.

During a Storm
If you find yourself in the midst of a storm and need to take shelter, identify a central area within your home, preferably on the ground floor, that is away from any windows, skylights, or doors. The most suitable options often include bathrooms, closets, and pantries situated in the interior of the house. If you have a basement and are not concerned about flooding, locate a space away from windows and secure something heavy to take cover under.

If the storm is anticipated to become severe, safeguard yourself by using a mattress, sleeping bag, or a substantial blanket to shield against potential debris propelled by the strong winds. Regardless of the circumstances, remain indoors at all times. Keep your radio on continuously, or utilize a television if the electricity remains functional, to stay well-informed about the storm’s location, intensity, and progression.

After the Hurricane

In the aftermath of a hurricane, exercising caution is paramount. Stay sheltered in a secure location until it is safe to venture outdoors. Even then, remain vigilant regarding potential dangers.

  • Hurricanes frequently bring about flooding, so it is essential to assess the accessibility of your surroundings, including roads and streets. Keep an eye out for fallen power lines or damaged utilities, as these could pose a severe risk of electrocution or even fatality. Additionally, be mindful that floods can attract wildlife, including alligators and other hazardous animals from nearby waterways. Furthermore, be aware that flooding may contaminate your home’s water supply.
  • Resist the urge to use candles for illumination, as damaged pipes or stoves may release natural gas, creating an explosion hazard. Instead, rely on flashlights for lighting.
  • Prioritize safety above all else. If necessary, remain indoors and promptly call 911 for emergency assistance or rescue.
  • Continue utilizing your emergency provisions, particularly bottled water, even after the storm has subsided. Storms and flooding often contaminate tap water, which could jeopardize your health if used for drinking or bathing.
  • Reach out to local friends and family members to ensure their well-being.

Once it is deemed safe to leave your secure location or return home, you can begin evaluating the extent of damage to your residence, possessions, and property.

Find a Full Guide to Get Prepared for the Hurricane Season Here