In May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their predictions, calling this hurricane season “above normal”, while naming fourteen to twenty-one expected storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. The Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project also released their predictions and agreed with NOAA stating that they expected an “above-average” season. Although hurricane season in Florida began on June first, there is still time for residents to prepare for this season’s storms.
How To Prepare For the 2022 Hurricane Season
After reviewing the damages of past Florida hurricanes, Florida’s Division of Emergency Management recommends that residents keep at least seven days’ worth of supplies per person. Examples of supplies include nonperishable food, water, medicine, and batteries. For a complete disaster supply kit checklist visit floridadisaster.org/planprepare/hurricane-supply-checklist.
Residents should keep emergency numbers posted in a place where every individual in a home can access them. It is now common practice to save all phone numbers in a cell phone, but they should also be physically printed in an accessible place in the event the cell phone loses battery and there is nowhere to charge it. According to WFLA, the following emergency numbers should be on hand:
- American Red Cross Disaster Assistance: 1-866-438-4636
- Florida Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): 1-800-525-0321
- Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services: 1-800-435-7352
- Florida Department of Financial Services Consumer Helpline: 1-800-342-2762
- Florida Division of Emergency Management: 1-850-413-9969
- Hurricane Helpline: 1-800-227-8676
- National Flood Insurance Program: 1-888-356-6329
- Poison Control HotLine: 1-800-222-1222
- Traffic and Travel Information: 511 (FROM CELL PHONE)
Hurricane Evacuation Zones
Individuals must know their evacuation zone to effectively stay clear of an incoming storm. Knowing their evacuation zones keeps Florida residents safe from deadly storm surges and flooding. Because of Florida’s many low-lying and coastal areas, Florida is particularly vulnerable to the devastation brought on by storm surges during hurricanes.
The best way to stay safe before a storm is for an individual to know their evacuation zone and plan an evacuation route along with their family well before a hurricane makes landfall. Residents in designated flood zones may also be ordered to evacuate before a storm. For a complete guide to evacuation and flood zones, visit floridadisaster.org/knowyourzone.
If evacuating to a public shelter, an individual should not travel to the location until the public shelter has been announced by public officials. When evacuating to public shelters, individuals should carry all of the supplies listed above in addition to pillows and blankets or a sleeping bag, clothing, personal hygiene items, a flashlight, radio, batteries, and childcare essentials if needed.
FEMA has a text message service that can be used to search for nearby emergency shelters or disaster recovery centers. Subscribers also receive safety tips that help them prepare for imminent disasters. To access the service, residents must download the app at fema.gov/about/news-multimedia/mobile-products.
Preparing a Home For a Hurricane
Residents should survey their dwellings in preparation for an upcoming storm. Trees and large plants should be pruned to ensure that strong winds do not cause branches to injure individuals or property. Shutters, roofs, and fences should also be inspected and repaired if necessary. Homeowners should also check to make sure that they have home and flood insurance, that the policy is up to date, and that they have sufficient coverage.
As a general rule, anything around the exterior of a home that is not anchored down should be brought indoors. This includes patio furniture, pets, and potted plants. Anything too large to be brought indoors should be secured to the ground. Cars should be parked in a safe location where they are less likely to incur damage. In addition, boat owners should properly secure their boats whether at home or in a marina.
Whether weathering the storm at home or moving to a safer location, residents should put shutters on their windows if the windows are not hurricane-proof. In the case of individuals who do not have shutters or hurricane-proof windows, 5/8 -inch plywood should be secured over the outsides of the windows.
Fill Gas Tanks, Secure Supplies, and Keep Cash On-Hand
The moment a hurricane or tropical storm is announced, individuals must fill the gas tanks in their vehicles, charge power banks, buy any missing supplies, and withdraw cash. Gregory Brinkman, president of Brinkman Financial in Tulsa, Oklahoma, advises his clients to keep one to two thousand dollars in cash, in the event banking operations are shut down due to an emergency. Families should also take into account the financial needs of each family member over the course of seven days to help determine the right amount to withdraw.
Stay Safe This Hurricane Season
These are just a few tips to help South Florida families stay safe this hurricane season. As with storms of years past, it is always best to stay informed by watching or listening to the local news and following the recommendations of local authorities.
At Panter, Panter, and Sampedro we hope you stay safe before, during, and after a storm. However, if your property is damaged, look to us in your time of need. We have the resources, knowledge, and dedication to pursue insurance claims, and get our clients the compensation they deserve. To speak to an attorney, call (305) 662-6178.
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