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The ABCs of Florida Storm Protection

We’re just entering the month of July, but it’s not too late to get your home prepared for hurricane season! If you find that your home is lacking storm protection, indoors or out, follow these tips to keep you and your family safe this summer:

Always keep an eye out for potential storms: Part of being prepared for hurricanes is knowing when they might be coming, so watch the news for updates on storms as they develop.

Batten down the hatches: Of course, before a hurricane you’ll want to cover your home’s windows with hurricane shutters and secure any loose toys, roof shingles, and other potential debris.

Car safety: To keep your car protected during a storm, park in in a garage if possible—or at least as close to your home as possible. You can place a cover on it to shield it from superficial damage. Take out your registration and any important documents to keep safe in case you need to go to insurance.

Dogs and cats: Our pets are like family to us. To keep them safe during a storm, make sure that you have enough food and water to last them for over a week, and keep them inside during the storm itself.

Electricity: The power in your home may go out during a hurricane. Pick up a generator before a storm is announced so you can be sure you have one on hand in case this happens.

Food: Canned food and other nonperishables are the way to go! Stock up now on staples like canned soup, granola bars, crackers and other items that don’t need refrigeration. Make sure you have at least a gallon of water a day for each family member as well.

Gas: Whether it’s for your generator or car, get gasoline in anticipation of an approaching hurricane. You may not be able to do so afterward if there is damage or too-high demand at the gas station.

Helping out: Even if your home is protected and ready to go, lend a helping hand to neighbors, family and friends who may need assistance preparing themselves and their homes for a hurricane.

Insurance: Take photos of your insured items and make sure you have access to any important documents (and that they are up to date).

Just do it: Hurricane preparedness might not be everyone’s favorite task, but it really is best to stay one step ahead of the storm. Stock up on supplies now and start covering your windows as soon as you see that a hurricane is on its way.

Keep up with the news: While pre-storm coverage is important, it’s equally important to listen for updates during and following the hurricane. If your TV is out due to a power loss, use a radio!

Lights: Because you may lose electricity during the storm, make sure you have plenty of flashlights and candles for after the storm. Of course, this also means stocking up on all the necessary batteries as well!

Medication: If you or a family member takes medication, be sure to fill up your prescription before the storm.

Numbers to know: Take note of any emergency numbers before the hurricane. You know 911, but your city or county may have its own set of numbers for questions about the storm, downed power lines, cleanup issues and more.

Observe: Stay alert during the storm and watch your home and family to keep both safe and sound!

Phone: A landline phone will work even if the cell towers don’t, so it can work great in emergencies. Have a cell phone on hand as well—even if it isn’t in service, it should be able to make emergency calls to 911.

Quick cleanup: After the hurricane—and when it’s safe to go outside—pick up any easy-to-lift debris and outdoor objects. This will make larger cleanup easier on your community.

Refuel: When you fuel up your generator or car, only do so when you really need to. After a big storm, your gas station may be out of service or clogged with high demand, so use gas sparingly.

Safe space: During a tornado or especially high winds, head to an interior, first-story and preferably windowless spot in your home.

Technology tips: If your home is out of power, use devices like cell phones, computers and other chargeable items only when you really need to. Protect that new HD TV set by taking photos of it—if it’s protected by insurance, these photos may be necessary in filing a claim.

Unplug: You’ll want to unplug things like your TV, computer and other sensitive electronics to keep them safe from power problems during and following the storm.

Vigilance: Monitor your home for problem areas, keep an eye (or ear) on the news for weather alerts, and trust your instinct if you feel that something is unsafe.

Watches and warnings: Know the difference between a hurricane watch and warning, and know when to take cover according to these advisories.

X is the unknown. Since hurricanes are unpredictable in nature, prepare yourself for any possibility by stocking up and readying your home now.

Young kids: Are there young kids in your family? Pay special attention to them, since a hurricane can be an unfamiliar event for them. Provide a few toys or a security item (like their favorite blanket or pacifier) to help them be comfortable and at ease.

Zero in on better preparedness next time. We don’t always get everything right the first time... and that’s okay! If you notice spots for improvement during one storm, follow through and solve them in case there is another.

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