We’ve been lucky so far. A major hurricane hasn’t hit us in years, but that doesn’t mean it will not come around this year. Florida’s population has grown massively and many new residents have no idea how to prepare. Let’s start with the basics.
- Tropical Storm vs. Hurricane: A tropical storm shows the same cyclonic action as a hurricane with sustained winds of between 40 and 73 miles per hour. A hurricane becomes a Category 1 when it has sustained winds of 74 miles per hour.
- Hurricane Watch vs. Hurricane Warning: A hurricane watch is an alert issued 36 hours for an area where the storm is expected to land. A hurricane warning is issued 48 hours before a hurricane makes landfall.
- Hurricane Strength: Category 1 has sustained winds of 74-95 MPH; Category 2 has sustained winds of 96-110 MPH; Category 3 has sustained winds of 111-130 MPH and is considered a major hurricane; Category 4 has winds of 131-155 MPH and is considered an extreme hurricane; Category 5 is classified as a catastrophic hurricane with sustained winds of 156 MPH.
How to Get Out and Where to Go
One of the first things you need to know is your evacuation zone and what route to take in the event of an evacuation. You should also be familiar with your county emergency management agencies. If you are evacuating, you may need to stay in an emergency shelter or go far enough out to find a hotel, motel, or Airbnb rental to shelter in until the evacuation order is lifted. If you have pets, you must take them with you or make arrangements for their care. If a situation is not safe for you, then it is not safe for them. You can find pet-friendly places to stay, and not leave your animals to a horrible fate.
What You Need
Start with the basics on this simple emergency checklist from FEMA or this slightly more comprehensive one from the US Army. You may also want to invest in portable solar panels and a generator or two. Yes, it’s expensive, but it will keep your phone charged, a fridge running, and keep some lights and even a DIY cooler on. You’ll need to create an emergency plan for everyone in the family to follow and drill with it until everyone knows what to do. There are lots of parts to an emergency plan. You’ll need to have a financial plan in place, document and insure your property in the event of loss, protect vital documents, and create a communications plan. Go step by step to help keep yourself and your family safe by knowing what do before, during, and after a hurricane.
Finally, stop in and see an independent insurance agent on how to best protect your home, your finances, and your valuables in case of a hurricane. The best insurance will help you get back on your feet and back into your home sooner with fewer losses. Call us today and let’s get to work on your peace of mind!