Hurricane Preparedness in Florida
If you live in the beautiful state of Florida, you have much to be thankful for – but you also have to know how to prepare yourself for hurricanes. Taking the time to prepare for a future hurricane can give you the confidence you need to weather the next big storm that comes our way. If your home, property, or business has been damaged in a hurricane, don’t delay obtaining the professional legal counsel you need from an experienced Panama City insurance claim liability lawyer today.
Know the Terms
Before you can prepare for a hurricane, it’s critical that you understand the terms associated with hurricanes, including all of the following:
- Tropical Depression – A tropical depression is a cyclone that has wind speeds of up to 38 miles per hour.
- Tropical Storm – A tropical storm’s wind speeds can range from 39 miles per hour to 73 miles per hour.
- Hurricane – A hurricane has a wind speed of at least 74 miles per hour.
- Tropical Storm Watch – A watch means that the conditions make a tropical storm possible. In other words, you are watching for a tropical storm.
- Hurricane Watch – A hurricane watch means that the conditions make a hurricane possible, and such watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated hurricane. In other words, you are on the lookout for a possible hurricane.
- Tropical Storm Warning – A tropical storm warning means that such a storm is expected in your area. In other words, you’ve been warned.
- Hurricane Warning – A hurricane warning means that a hurricane is expected in your area, and these warnings are issued 46 hours in advance of the storm-force winds. When a hurricane warning is issued, you should consider yourself warned.
Generally, the center of the storm that moves around its eye (the upper-right quarter) is the most violent. The greatest dangers associated with any of these storms are the winds themselves – as well as the wind-driven storm surges and flooding.
Your Insurance Coverage
If you live in Florida, you need proper homeowner’s insurance with supplemental hurricane coverage. While most homeowner’s policies cover wind-driven damage, the fine print can become very confusing very quickly, and some insurance providers exclude damage caused by hurricanes outright. A further consideration is the fact that even those policies that don’t exclude hurricanes altogether may exclude any damage that is caused by flooding and rising water, which includes groundwater surges, overflowing bodies of water, and tidal surges. You likely need additional flood insurance on top of your hurricane provision. The first step you should take in preparing for a future hurricane is to make sure your homeowner’s insurance is up to the task, including being up to date.
Have a Hurricane Kit
The next order of business is preparing a hurricane survival kit that you can grab if you’re forced to evacuate your home in the event of a hurricane. Even if you’re required to wait out the storm inside your home, your hurricane kit can prove invaluable. One certainty with hurricanes is that, in the preceding hours, everyone in the area runs out and buys emergency supplies. If you prepare your kit ahead of time, you won’t have to run out in the eleventh hour and can devote your time to securing your home from the ravages of the impending storm.
Consider all of the following for your hurricane survival kit:
- Enough water to last your family for at least three days
- Enough nonperishable food to last your family for at least three days and a manual can opener
- A well-stocked first-aid kit that includes any prescription drugs
- A radio that can run on batteries plus a stash of appropriately sized batteries
- Personal hygiene and sanitation products
- Flashlights and a stash of extra appropriately sized batteries (a collection of candles can also be useful but only if the rules of fire safety make them feasible)
- A waterproof container that contains cash and important legal documents, such as birth certificates, insurance policies, and financial documents
- Several lighters and a supply of matches
- A good-sized cooler and ice packs (that should be kept frozen until needed)
- Any specialty items such as pet food, baby formula, or anything else you might need
- Games and books and anything else that can provide recreation
Taking the time to craft a well-equipped hurricane kit is worth the effort. If you never need to use it, all the better. If you do, however, it’s ready when the time comes.
Securing Your Home
If you’re forced to evacuate your home or to prepare your home against high winds, all of the following can help you prepare for the onslaught and better protect you and your home in the process:
- Cover every window with either wood or hurricane shutters
- Tape the glass in your windows to help prevent it from shattering everywhere if it breaks (the tape can’t prevent the breakage itself)
- Keep your trees and shrubs trimmed back
- Keep your rain gutters cleared
- Reinforce your garage doors with wood
- Bring everything that’s outside and can be brought indoors inside, including garbage cans, outdoor furniture, yard decorations, and more
Finally, make sure that you and your family have a place to go in your home where you are away from windows and where you can close, brace, and secure the internal door. It’s a lot to think about, but hurricanes are extremely powerful storms that can wreak extremely serious damage, and the steps you take now can go a long way toward protecting your family and your home in the event of a dangerous hurricane.
It’s Time to Consult with An Experienced Panama City Insurance Claims Lawyer Today
If a hurricane or another kind of disaster leaves your home, business, or property damaged, the legal team at Ged Lawyers, LLP, is on your side. Our dedicated Panama City insurance claim lawyers are committed to building your strongest claim in. We’re here for you, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 850-684-4000 for more information today.