People often talk about the calm after a storm. If you live in an area affected by hurricanes, you must use the time of calm before the storm to Plan and Prepare, Protect, and Practice so you will be able to Proceed to safety when the need arises.
1. Make a written Plan and Prepare the information and supplies you will need to have to follow your plan.
Your written plan should include:
- Location of shelters.
- Evacuation route with alternative directions in the event the route is impassable.
- A checklist of all items you will need. Place small items in large plastic storage bags. Food and water should be replaced every six months.
- A week’s supply of water for each person in your family (a gallon a day for each person). Note: If it is not necessary to evacuate, fill all bathtubs and sinks with water when a hurricane is imminent.
- A week’s supply of non-perishable food for each person.
- Any necessary medications.
- A First Aid kit.
- Hand sanitizer.
- Pet food, if applicable.
- Formula or baby food, if applicable.
- Diapers and wipes, if applicable.
- Several coolers.
- A manual can opener.
- Several flashlights and extra batteries.
- A radio, either crank-style or battery-operated, and extra batteries.
- A full box of 13-gallon trash bags.
- Toilet paper and hygiene supplies.
- Non-electric cell phone chargers.
- Important documents. Keep the originals in a waterproof box. Also, take pictures of those documents for backup.
- Driver’s licenses or identification cards.
- Social security cards.
- Insurance policies.
- Birth certificates, passports.
- Mortgage papers, deeds, leases.
- Stocks and bonds.
- Living will.
- Recent tax returns.
- Pet’s vaccination records.
- Review your insurance policy. Confer with your agent to make sure you have adequate coverage. Ask your agent about the possibility of premium reductions if you have a wind abatement system installed.
2. Protect. Be proactive regarding the ability of your home to withstand the power of a hurricane and the devastation it can cause.
- Keep up with landscaping on a regular basis. Weak or diseased tree limbs can cause damage in high winds.
- Make sure your home is as hurricane-resistant as possible. Protection systems such as those provided by Armor Screen (http://armorscreen.com/systems) provide maximum safety against wind and rain. Their wind abatement systems are Florida Building Code and Miami Dade approved. Armor Screen is the Original Patented Fabric Hurricane Protection.
3. Practice. Review your hurricane response procedures with family members. Be matter-of-fact with children and give them responsibilities in the planning and compiling supplies. Taking part in the process will give them a sense of control over the situation and pride in their ability to help.
4. Proceed. When hurricanes threaten, keep up to date with the latest forecasts. Keep your gas tank full. Stay calm and focused. Whether you are on your way to a shelter or sheltering in place at your home, your preparation and practice will serve you well and your loved ones safe from the storm.