As Hurricane Irma barrels towards Florida we have compiled a list of reminders, tips, and advice that we have gained through our experience living through multiple hurricanes here on the Emerald Coast that we believe will help you as you prepare!
First things first–if an approaching hurricane is a Category 3 or greater…leave. Governor Rick Scott put it best when he said, “We can rebuild your home, but we cannot rebuild your life.” Do not put your life at stake. Take what you need–and only what you need–and evacuate.
Before Evacuation or Hurricane Hit
- Follow the hurricane closely and stay informed. You can never be over-prepared.
- Make sure you have enough water (1 gallon per person per day), non perishable foods, batteries, flashlights, and other hurricane supplies to last you at least 3 days without power.
- If you have a pet, make sure you have enough food, water, and supplies for them.
- Walk through your home with a video camera or take pictures, ensuring that all closets and drawers are open. If you’re forced to file an insurance claim, this will help you quantify your belongings–because who really knows how many shirts and cups you own?
- Plan an evacuation route with alternatives if the storm path changes.
- Do not go north of a storm because although it won’t be a direct hit, you could still lose power in the path of the hurricane.
- Share these plans with friends and family so they know where you’re headed.
- Begin using up all of your perishable groceries or throwing out those that will spoil if power is lost.
- Start running your ice makers and bagging up ice in your freezer. You want to fill up your freezer with as much ice as possible to help it stay cool if power is lost.
- Freeze regular tap water in Tupperware for pets, cleaning or drinking.
- Move all outdoor furniture (including trash cans, fire pits, and anything that could possibly become airborne during the storm) into the house and garage or secure it down.
- Decide if you will board up your windows and doors (if you have hurricane-rated, you may be off the hook), and make sure you have a contact person who can do the heavy lifting (installing the wood boards, closing large hurricane shutters, etc.)
- Secure all firearms and ammunition properly.
- Get cash from the ATM (at least enough for tolls and gas to get you out of town).
- Make sure to also call your bank if you plan on going out of state so they don’t freeze your account for “suspicious” out of town transactions.
- Screenshot and email all important documents to yourself (passports, titles, insurance policies, vet records for your pet(s), etc.) and take the originals with you in sealed plastic bags.
- Fill up all vehicles with gas, check tires, and oil (download GasBuddy.com to find gas stations with gas along the way).
Day of Evacuation or Several Hours Prior to Hurricane Hitting
- Put your fridge and freezer on the coldest setting.
- Fill up bath tubs with water to help store large amounts for drinking, flushing toilets, etc.
- Freeze a cup of water and place a quarter on top of it. This will tell whether your food has spoiled. Quarter on top–food is safe. Quarter on bottom–it all needs to be trashed because the water and food thawed.
- Consider putting heirlooms and photos in plastic bins in high places, on the second floor, or in safe rooms if you don’t plan on taking them with you.
- Make sure all of your windows and doors are securely shut. Place beach towels on window sills and by exterior doors–even the best shutters can have water seepage in high winds.
- Close all interior doors in the house. A new IBHS (Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety) testing proves closing interior doors can reduce pressure on roofs and help houses stand up better in high winds.
- Turn off your gas and water–this can help avoid further damage if a pipe or line is broken in the storm.
- Unplug all household electronics including TVs, appliances, etc.
- Mark your arm in Sharpie with name and emergency contact information.
- IF YOU ARE EVACUATING FROM DESTIN OR SANTA ROSA BEACH, MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE PRIOR TO WINDS EXCEEDING 35MPH. THE BRIDGE AT 331, THE MID-BAY BRIDGE, AND TOLL BRIDGES CLOSE AFTER WIND SPEEDS REACH 35MPH AND YOU WILL BE STUCK.
We strongly suggest you follow storms closely and always stay ahead of it by preparing early.
Please call or email us if you have any questions.
Storm Tracking : https://weather.com/storms/hurricane-central
National Hurricane Center : http://www.nhc.noaa.gov