While most natural disasters within South Florida are minor, at best, it is great practice for when something powerful and destructive is upon us. The chances of Hurricane Irene hitting shore along the coast of Florida is only 20% as of this afternoon, but the state and nation are watching as it grows and nears our coasts.
The National Hurricane Center has a “Hurricane Preparedness Checklist” that can be viewed here that includes reminders that we need items such as clean drinking water (at least one gallon per person for 3 to 7 days), non-perishable food items, first aid kits, and flashlights, radios, and batteries, among other things.
As for the safety and protection of your home and belongings, most homes in South Florida are equipped with either Hurricane Shutters over the windows, glass doors and/or lanais, or impact-glass. If you don’t have any of these, simple plywood screwed into the concrete block of the home is a better option than nothing. A simple, do-it-yourself guide to plywood shutters can be viewed here.
Lawn and garden furniture can often be placed in the pool during hurricanes, as long as the furniture doesn’t feature glass or other easily-breakable materials. You’ll want to prune trees and shrubs before the storm and bring any potted plants indoors. Brevard County, Florida features an article on their government website teaching residents the value of Landscaping in Hurricane Prone Areas.
During any natural disaster, it’s important to locate important documents within the home and transfer them to a safe place, like a safety deposit box. Keeping important phone numbers on hand will be handy as well, such as a local clean up service/transfer station to dump debris after the storm or insurance adjusters/contractors in your area in the event of household damage.
We haven’t forgotten about your furry friends, who will need special care during and after the storm, too. Make sure that you have a supply of food, water, and a traditional can-opener to keep the animals well fed. You’ll also find more information on Pet Preparedness from the National Hurricane Center here.
Being prepared for a storm that never comes is a safer bet than not preparing for a storm that can ruin your home, your belongings, and even injure you and your family.