Preparing Your Home for Hurricane Season
Hurricane season officially begins in early June and peaks in mid-August. But it's not a time for panic, it is time to prepare! Florida residents will well recall last year's season when Hurricane Michael marked the third consecutive year for fierce storms across the state.
Are you prepared for 2019's hurricane season? If so, kudos! If not, now's the time to get started. Here are some suggestions you can quickly put into action.
Locate Your Utility Shutoffs
Find your home's emergency water shutoff valve, remove any obstructions like shrubbery around it, and test it to make sure it's operational. Also learn how to turn off the hot water heater and unplug it. Everyone in the home should be taught to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at their sources.
Invest in a Generator
A backup generator can be a life saver. If you're a first-time buyer, find out how much wattage the appliances you'll want to run need. A permanent generator is a good investment because it supplies more power than portable ones.
If you prefer a portable generator, keep it dry and don't use it in rainy or wet conditions. It should be operated on a dry surface under a canopy-like structure. And expect to burn some fuel-a five- or six-gallon tank runs for about eight to 12 hours.
Fill Your Gas Containers
Gas is one of the most important supplies you'll need. Store some extra fuel in a safe location. A good rule of thumb is to keep all your vehicles filled with at least a half tank of gas or more during the entire hurricane season of June to November. Not only can you tap into the supply, you'll be prepared to evacuate without having to wait in long gas lines.
Have an Evacuation Plan
Evacuations are a serious matter-know the details for your area long before a storm strikes. Duval County's evacuation zones are more complex than those in most other counties, with three major routes leading west from the beaches and two interstates traveling north and west.
Duval County's hurricane measures are always being improved and updated, so be sure to stay up-to-date. The JaxReady mobile app can help you easily find your Evacuation Zone. If you or a family member need help evacuating, you can register with the city ahead of time.
Gather Emergency Supplies
It happens every time. As residents prepare for the impact of hurricane, stores are packed, and shelves quickly become bare. Get your key items together in advance and avoid the rush (and panic).
Don't forget the unique needs of seniors and pets. And make sure there's enough food, water, and other supplies that enable you to survive on your own for up to 72 hours after the hurricane passes. Other suggestions experts offer:
- Have a small secret supply of cash so you don't have to deal with long bank lines or inoperable ATMs.
- Keep all prescription drugs in a zip-lock plastic bag. Be sure to print out the documentation for every prescription and place it in the bag, too.
- Keep all important documents such as insurance papers, IDs, and other vital information together in a waterproof container or zip-lock bag.
One of the best ways to prepare for hurricane season is knowing the risks before the storm appears. Be aware of its expected path and intensity. Use reported information to decide whether to stay or go and, if recommended, move to another, safer location.