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Hurricane Preparation Tips and Reminders

Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty has been in business on Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast since 1998, and while 30A and Destin have fortunately been spared significant impact by hurricanes and tropical storms in recent years – the last being Hurricane Dennis in 2005 – our team has gathered first-hand experience preparing for and evacuating from multiple storms that we’ve collected here for you.

First things, first…

If an approaching hurricane is expected to make landfall as a category 3 or greater – evacuate!

Florida 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 risk. Take what you need – and only what you need – and evacuate.

Before Hurricane Evacuation or Landfall…

  • Follow the storm closely, and stay informed. You can never be over-prepared in the case of a hurricane.
  • Make sure you have at least 1 gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, batteries, flashlights, and other hurricane supplies to last at least 3 days without power.
  • If you have pets, make sure you have enough food, water, and supplies for them.
  • Take video or pictures of your home, 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 a hurricane evacuation route with alternate routes in case the storm path changes.
    • Don’t travel north, as this may not take you out of the storm’s path.
    • Share your evacuation plans with friends and family so they know where you’re headed.
  • Begin using up all of your perishable groceries and throw out anything left that will spoil if power is lost.
  • Start running your ice makers and bagging up ice in your freezer. Fill up your freezer with as much ice as possible to help keep it cool if power is lost.
  • Freeze tap water in Tupperware for pets, cleaning, or drinking.
  • Freeze a cup of water and place a quarter on top of it. This will help determine if your freezer loses power and food thaws. If the quarter stays on top, your food is good. If the quarter is at the bottom of the cup, trash everything.
  • Move all outdoor furniture (including trash cans, fire pits, and anything that could become airborne during a storm) into your house and garage, or secure it.
  • Decide if you will board up your windows and doors. If your windows and doors are hurricane-rated, you may be off the hook. Make sure you line someone up to do the heavy lifting, such as installing the wood boards or closing large hurricane shutters.
  • Secure all firearms and ammunition properly.
  • Get at least enough cash out of the ATM to cover tolls and gas to get you out of town.
    • Make sure to call your bank if you plan on leaving town so they don’t freeze your account for “suspicious transactions.”
  • Photograph and email all important documents to yourself, such as passports, titles, insurance policies, vet records for your pets, etc. and take the originals with you in sealed plastic bags.
  • Fill up all vehicles with gas, check tires, and oil levels. Download Gas Buddy to find gas stations with gas along your route.

On Evacuation Day or Hours Before Hurricane Landfall…

  • Set your refrigerator and freezer on their coldest settings.
  • Fill up your 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.
  • Consider placing heirlooms and family photos in plastic bins in high places, such as on a 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 shut securely. Place beach towels on window sills and by exterior doors – even the best shutters can’t keep all water out in high winds.
  • Close all interior doors throughout your home. A new Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety test proves that closing interior doors can reduce pressure on roofs and help homes stand up better in high winds.
  • Turn off your gas and water. Doing so can help avoid further damage if a pipe or line is broke in the storm. If you need contact information for our local utility companies, look no further than our handy guide.
  • Unplug all household electronic devices, such as televisions.
  • Write your name and emergency contact information on your arm in Sharpie.
  • If you are evacuating from Destin or 30A, make sure you leave prior to sustained wind speeds reaching 35MPH. At that point, the Highway 331 Clyde B. Wells Bridge and the Mid-Bay Bridge will close. Once wind speeds reach 40MPH, Destin’s Marler Bridge at East Pass, the Brooks Bridge in Ft. Walton Beach, and the bridge at Lake Powell east of Inlet Beach in Bay County all close, at which point you will not be able to leave the Destin or 30A areas.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1st and ends November 30th.

We recommend following storms with The Weather Channel or the National Hurricane Center, and staying ahead of them by preparing early!