Here in Central Florida, we celebrate many of the same seasons and holidays that our northern counterparts do, although sometimes in a different way (like wearing flip-flops to Christmas dinner.) However, there is one season that is pretty much limited to gulf-side residents, especially Floridians.
Have you guessed what it is?
Yep, it's hurricane season. Hurricane season typically runs from June 1st to November 30th. While these dates aren't cemented in concrete, they are a pretty good gauge of when hurricanes typically roll through the Atlantic and/or into the Gulf. Preparing your home, and yourself, for a hurricane is wise if you are a Polk County resident. Even though we don't live on the coastline, we are still susceptible since hurricanes can travel across the entire state due to its narrow shape. So, what should you do to prepare for the 2016 hurricane season?
1. Review Your Insurance (and/or Your Lease)
If you rent your home, or live in an apartment-type situation, you need to take a close look at your lease for any hurricane-related details and provisions. If you have personal property damage due to a hurricane, and are assuming your landlord's insurance will cover it, you could be left out in the rain (literally and figuratively!). Make sure you ask questions, and are fully aware of what is/is not taken care of in the event of a natural disaster.
If you own your own home, you need to review your insurance policy closely, and check for hurricane coverage. Additional policies can be added on to cover your home and property, but might not be necessary based on your main insurance policy. Speak with your insurance advisor and make sure you are ready for whatever comes your way.
2. Batten Down the Hatches (Prepare Your Home)
There are a few things you can do to give your home a helping hand in withstanding a hurricane or other strong storm. This includes:
Take down any decor that could be blown away in a storm, such as flags, lawn decor, outdoor furniture, etc. Large items (like trampolines) should be taken down if possible, but if not, they need to be anchored and secured.
Check your shingles. This seems like a minor detail, but shingles are often not secured down in such a way to stand up to hurricane-force winds. If yours have loose edges, purchase an appropriate adhesive at your local hardware or big box store and take the time to adhere the places that need extra help. You'll be glad you did!
Secure windows and other glass panes (like french doors) with wind-resistant shutters. Basic plywood also works for this. Make sure that whatever you choose, whether shutters or plywood, is strong enough and secure enough to resist not only the wind, but also flying debris. You can test this by leaning against them and seeing if they "give" at all. If so, they won't be strong enough to hold up.
Secure additional openings that are considered "weak points" such as doors, garage doors, etc.
If you need additional advice in securing your home and making it "hurricane resistant", call on a professional home inspector to give you assistance. Not only can they evaluate your home for weaknesses you might have missed, but they can also evaluate your current hurricane protection and determine if it's adequate and offer extra help where needed.
3. Protect and Prepare Yourself
Protecting yourself, and making sure you're taken care of, during a hurricane is just as important as your home! Make sure you...
Follow any evacuation orders that are issued. Don't ignore the warnings of danger!
Stockpile for the storm if you're not evacuating. This means keeping enough water on hand for several days (for each person in your family) in addition to non-perishable food and other basic necessities of your family (medications, diapers, wipes, etc.).
Fill up your bathtub with water before the storm is due to hit. In the event that you lose water, this gives you a supply of water for flushing toilets, and other tasks that would waste your clean drinking water.
Have plenty of lanterns and batteries, or candles, on hand.
If you have a grill, or a camp stove, make sure they are ready and in working order (and that your propane tank is full!). These can be invaluable in the event that you lose power for several days and need to cook food to keep it from spoiling in the freezer or fridge.
We hope these tips give you a place to start when preparing for this coming hurricane season. If you need the aid of a professional inspector to help you ensure that you are ready for whatever storms head our way this year, give us a call! AllPro is proud to serve our Polk County friends and neighbors with top-quality service, and since we are locals just like you, we understand the need to be prepared for hurricanes and other large-scale storms.
Stay safe and be ready this 2016 season!