Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, has the potential to make landfall in the state of Florida later this week. Although there is not a definitive trajectory yet, it is never a bad idea to prepare yourself for the possibility of a hurricane making landfall; and Irma is not a storm to take chances with. As a Category 5 hurricane, Irma has sustained winds of 185 mph, which could potentially cause catastrophic damage. Hurricanes are extremely unpredictable and can change course at a moment's notice. Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in response to Irma. Everyone should have a hurricane plan in place that is unique for your family and pets. We’ve got a few tips for you to keep in mind when making preparations for Irma, below.
Instant weather updates are your friend
You can sign up for Osceola County's Emergency Alerts here: www.alertosceola.org. Keep up-to-date with the weather on your mobile phone. You can sign up for updates on the Weather Channel app, or follow local meteorologists on Twitter for updates as they come in. Here are a few Central Florida accounts to follow: @BShieldsWFTV, @TMainolfiWESH, @MyNews13Weather, @RMcCranieWFTV.
You’ll need to keep these essentials stocked:
- Bottled water (enough to last three days per person)
- A first aid kit (including medications)
- Non-perishable food (and a manual can opener!)
- Battery-operated radios (with extra batteries)
- Candles, matches and flashlights
- Personal hygiene products
- A waterproof container for important documents
Prepare your house
Consider securing your home and windows with either plywood or hurricane shutters before the storm is projected to hit. These supplies can be picked up at your local hardware store. Taping glass can prevent some shattering, although it is not a 100% foolproof method for protecting your home's windows.
Sandbags, which are often free from your local government, should be used to line your home in case of flooding. It’s also a smart idea to place sandbags outside of a garage door.
Bring ALL loose outdoor items inside – patio furniture, plants, yard signs, etc. These items can become dangerous when wind speeds pick up, and can ultimately do damage to your or your neighbors' homes.
Keep your pets safe, too
Don’t forget about your furry family members in your hurricane preparations. Each pet should have a collar with an updated ID tag. In case your pet gets separated from you during a storm, you will have a better chance of being united if you have an up-to-date phone number on your pet's tag.
When gathering your own food supplies, don’t forget to get some for your pets, too. If they have special medical needs, be sure to have enough medication for at least a week. Most importantly, stay together. Never leave your animal alone. If you evacuate, take them with you. Remember that, in many cases, your animal is just as nervous as you are!
Make sure you’re covered
We often hear that hurricane deductibles are high in Florida, but for good reason! You can end up paying thousands of dollars out of pocket if you aren't covered. After the hurricanes in 2004, 2% deductibles have become the new normal. We work with a few companies that do offer lower hurricane deductibles if a high deductible is a concern.
If you have any questions about hurricane preparedness, or if you're looking for an insurance agent in Central Florida, feel free to message us on Facebook or email me!