Preparing for the Hurricane Season
3 min. read
By: FCU Team
The 2020 hurricane season is officially here. Have you made your preparations yet?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reported that it’ll be an above average season, meaning we’ll see more storms than usual. Last year alone saw 18 different named storms, including three major hurricanes and it’s projected we’ll see three to six of those this year. This means it’s more important than ever to have a hurricane preparedness plan in place, but where to start?
Whether you live in a house or an apartment, preparing your living space for a storm is of utmost importance.
The first and most basic preparations are your supplies, including food and water. It’s recommended that you have a three-day supply of non-perishable food to consume during and in the days following the storm. You may want to opt for a propane stove for cooking those items in the likely event of power loss. It’s also recommended that you store a gallon of water per day, per person for the three days. Food and water amounts should be adjusted to factor in any extra people and pets. And remember, it’s always better to have and not need, than to need and not have.
Make sure first aid kits are stocked with adhesive bandages, gauze pads, antiseptic disinfectant and any other medical necessities someone in your home may need, including over the counter and prescription drugs.
You should have some combination of flashlights, lanterns and candles for dealing with low light situations in the event of a loss of power. It is equally important to have plenty of batteries (including portable chargers for phones!) for flashlights and household electronics like radios. Sandbags may also be necessary to prevent flooding in your home.
Feel free to view and print this checklist to make sure you've got everything you need!
If you own a home, protecting its exterior has to be at the top of your priority list! Start by storing any outdoor furniture indoors. The more powerful the storm, the higher the likelihood that winds can blow away your outdoor belongings. You should also take a look at your gutters and clean them out to protect against your roof flooding and causing water damage. Trees around your home always pose a danger, so make sure to cut down any tree limbs that might be easily broken and fall on your roof. Finally, installing shutters or wooden boards on your windows will protect from incoming debris.
These guidelines are operating under the assumption your home will be hit by a smaller hurricane. As this video from The Weather Channel demonstrates, the stronger the winds you apply on a house, the more catastrophic the damage. Evacuation is always a better alternative than staying in a home that may not be able to withstand higher wind thresholds.
An often forgotten, but important, part of hurricane preparedness is entertainment. When the winds and rain come, the power will most likely go out, meaning our precious sources of usual entertainment like streaming services will not be available. This problem can always be compounded if you have children who aren’t storm veterans. Thinking ahead and having a generous supply of things like books and board games can go a long way!
Finances and Information
While you can always access your funds through online and mobile banking, withdrawing some cash from a local branch or ATM is a must. Florida Credit Union has an extensive hurricane preparedness plan, but storms are always unpredictable. You should also make sure any important documents like IDs, passports, insurance information and other similar items are accounted for and protected from water damage.
You should also be prepared to take these items with you in the event of an evacuation. The time to look for these documents is not when you decide to evacuate, but days before. We’ve all seen how clogged the interstate gets when evacuations are announced, and it’s better to leave as early as possible if it gets to that. Before leaving, you should also have a plan of where exactly you’ll go. Friends and relatives can provide the shelter you need, so check in with them early before storms are even a threat.
Hurricane Preparation in the Era of COVID-19
This specific hurricane season is markedly different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw early-on how fear caused a shortage of toilet paper of all things, as people bought much more than they actually needed, leaving others scrounging. Do your research and begin preparation early! Disaster response systems are already stretched, and a hurricane could be the breaking point. It’s more important than ever to do your due diligence when it comes to protecting yourself and your family.
Also consider that the potential economic impacts of a hurricane on an economy already ravaged by the pandemic could mean far worse outcomes than usual. Making smart financial choices, like saving money and living more frugally, along with extensive and comprehensive preparations will ensure that you’re ready for the coming storm. If you have not been impacted by a storm in 2020 and you look at your ample supplies; don't think you worried about nothing:
You should be thankful that you didn’t need any of them in the first place!
Click here for the State of Florida's The Essential Guide to Hurricane Preparedness webpage.