We are halfway through hurricane season, if you haven’t already, now is the time to get prepared. As longtime Florida residents, my family has sheltered through numerous storms from Category 5 Hurricane Andrew, in South Florida, to the most recent Category 4 Hurricane Matthew last fall, that luckily was not a direct hit to Central Florida.
This weekend we are preparing our home and our family for a possible storm. Here are few tips and strategies from the Springer family:
Start Early - We are currently a week out from a predicted storm. Now is the time to get ready. Do not wait until the day before when all the store shelves are empty.
Know Your Home - We don’t live in flood zone but our back porch retains water during a normal storm, so we will be placing sandbags at the back door as a precaution. Think through your home’s weaknesses and prepare for them now.
Prep Your Outdoor Areas - One of the greatest threats during a storm are projectiles hitting your home. A small flower pot traveling at 60 miles an hour will cause unbelievable damage. All outdoor items should be moved inside. If it’s not rooted into the ground it needs to come in. We move our grill into the garage and our patio furniture into the house.
Be Prepared for Clean-Up - Most injuries and deaths during hurricanes occur during clean-up. Never go outside before officials have given the all clear. Use power tools with caution and always wear protective gear.
Be Helpful to Each Other - Check on neighbors both before and after the storm, especially the elderly. Share resources in your neighborhood and offer a lending hand, when possible. I remember when Andrew hit, back in high school, our block was one of the few with power. My parents delivered coffee to neighbors and offered our home for showers. Small acts of kindness build our community.
Finally, remember your life is more important than any item. If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately. Your delay, or non-compliance, puts your family and our first responders at risk. Stay safe and be kind to one another.
Orange County Sheriff Disaster Preparedness - full of local resources and checklists