Hurricane Season 2019 – Are You Prepared?

Hurricane Season 2019 is well underway. With the arrival of the first storm of the season, we want to make sure our clients are prepared for what may come this season. Being prepared for a storm will greatly affect the impact on your household in the event that a storm does hit our area. Below is a list of things that every Floridian can do to prepare themselves and their home for a major storm emergency.

Make sure your home is ready. Window and door protection is a major component in protecting your entire home. If a window or door is compromised, wind entering the home causes uplift, which could potentially blow the roof off of the structure. Replacing the windows with impact glass is the preferred method, but a variety of shutter options are available at every budget.

Hurricane clips or straps in your attic also dramatically reduce the risk of structural damage. If an opening is compromised, these metal connectors will ensure that your roof stays firmly attached to your walls. If your home does not have them, they can be installed for a few hundred dollars over a weekend. Any storm-mitigating features like shutters or hurricane clips/straps can also reduce your insurance premiums with a Wind Mitigation Inspection.  

If you want to know how to install clips to your older home, please call and we have information we can send you that will show you what to do.  It can save you money on your homeowner insurance premium too.

Food and Water – Stock at least 2 weeks of non-perishable food and water for each member of your household, including pets. After a major storm, it can take days or weeks to restore power in heavily damaged areas. Dehydrated food that is typically used for camping rations is a great choice as it can sometimes last for several storm seasons before it expires.

Fill your bathtub and other buckets, pots, and dispensers so you can flush your toilets in case there are plumbing feed line breaks. 

Super-chlorinate your pool, don’t drain it! – Draining an in-ground pool or spa all of the way could seriously damage it. If a storm is on the way and flooding is your concern, drain your pool a maximum of 6” to alleviate these concerns. Adding extra chlorine to your pool before a storm allows you to use the pool water as a source of potable water in the event of damage to public water lines. The extra chlorine will also prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the standing water. If you have an above-ground spa, add extra chlorine and cover the spa. The cover will protect your water supply and covers are very inexpensive to replace if damaged.

Practice Generator Safety – First, make sure that your generator is appropriately sized for the appliances that you intend to run off of it. Some generators are large enough to power most of your home, while others are just large enough to power a few small appliances. Most generators are available for $300 to $4,000 depending on the size. You can even have a generator permanently installed to your home for $12,000 – $20,000, depending on your needs. Do not attempt to permanently install a generator yourself, it requires the installation of a transfer switch, which must be installed by an electrician to prevent sending power back up the line. 

Make sure that any extension cords that you are using are for outdoor use and are appropriately sized to handle the load. Make sure that the generator is at least 10 feet away from the home. Exhaust fumes can enter the home through soffits and windows. Never run a generator on a porch or in a garage, even if the door is open, because carbon monoxide, a toxic odorless and colorless gas, is a by-product of generator use. Install carbon monoxide detectors in each sleeping area to protect your family from this silent killer. 

Your generator will need to be protected from rain by a small roof or other covering that does not touch the generator or trap exhaust fumes. When plugging in appliances, always start with the largest loads first, like a refrigerator or air conditioner. Never attempt to re-fuel your generator while it is running as a fire could occur.  

Make sure that you have made shelter arrangements, for you and your pets. – Storms can pick up intensity very quickly, often changing plans to ride out the storm at home. Which shelters are open depends largely on each emergency and how many people it will affect. It is a good idea to identify at least 3 shelters in your area since not all of them may be open in an emergency. Many animals are displaced during storms because their owners could not take them to the shelter with them. Pet-friendly shelters do exist, and most take up to 4 caged domestic animals. Few are furnished, so bring lawn chairs, cots, bedding and folding tables. There are only 3 pet-friendly shelters in Manatee County, they are:

Braden River High School – 6545 SR 70 East, Bradenton

Manatee High School – 1000 32nd Street West, Bradenton

Mills Elementary School – 7200 69th Street East, Palmetto

The items that you will need for each of your pets are:

  • Copies of licensing, microchip and vaccination records
  • Two weeks supply of any medications they require and a list of any medical conditions/allergies
  • Two weeks supply of food and a manual can-opener (if you use canned food)
  • Kitty litter (not just for cats, great if an animal throws up for instance) and litter box with cleaning supplies
  • Tag, leash and harness
  • A picture of you with your pet to prove it is yours
  • Portable carrier/crate with food and water dishes that attach to it
  • Pet first aid kit

When leaving for the shelter, there are many things that you and your family will need for your stay. Each family member should have an “Emergency Bag” labeled with their name and filled with the following:

  • A change of clothes
  • A flashlight with an extra set of batteries
  • Travel size toiletries – mouthwash, deodorant, hand sanitizer, body spray, etc. Showering is not typically an option at most shelters, bring what you need to meet your hygiene needs and prevent the spread of germs.
  • Two bottles of water
  • A poncho
  • A roll of duct tape
  • A whistle
  • A small battery-operated radio with extra batteries
  • Granola bars or other portable, non-perishable foods that do not require cooking. Meal times are structured at shelters, and you may become hungry long before meals are served. MRE’s, ready-to-eat meals used frequently by the military and campers, come as a complete meal with their own means of cooking that do not require power, just water. Apple sauce that comes in a pouch is tasty, convenient, keeps for months, and great for kids who may balk at other options.
  • A copy of the person’s birth certificate and identification
  • First aid kit
  • A least a week’s supply of any required medications, two weeks is preferred. Put these in a zip-lock bag with a list of that family member’s known medical conditions and allergies.
  • For children: also include names and cell phone numbers for parents, grandparents, and close family friends in case they get separated. Make sure your child knows where this information is in their bag. Also include crayons and a coloring book to help keep them entertained while you wait for the storm to pass.

If you need more information about wind mitigation and hurricane preparedness, home inspections, preparing for inspections, or preparing your home for sale, visit our full-service website at www.ManateeHomeInspection.com or call us at 941-749-1152 to speak with our friendly and knowledgeable staff.