Don't wait until it's too late to gather supplies and develop your plan
Although Hurricane Dorian is not forecast to make landfall until Monday, AAA urges Florida residents to prepare now.
"A storm of this magnitude can create significant damage to your home, and endanger the people inside," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "It’s important to be prepared, because even if you do not face the brunt of the storm, peripheral winds and rain could knock out power for days. AAA urges people in the path of the storm to prepare their home, stock up on supplies, and follow the advice of law enforcement."
According to a recent AAA survey, three-quarters (76%) of Floridians make advanced preparations for hurricane season or severe weather. These preparations should include securing your home both inside and out.
Take Inventory of your Home
- Walk through your home with a video camera or smart phone.
- Keep a record of large purchases including the cost of the item, when purchased and model and serial numbers as available.
- These digital files should be stored on a cloud-based site or in a dry, secure place – such as a safe or safety deposit box for future reference when filing insurance claims.
- Secure windows and doors with hurricane shutters or plywood.
- Bring outdoor furniture and decorations inside.
- Bring in all bikes and children’s toys to prevent them from becoming projectiles or sustaining damage from the storm.
- Trim trees or bushes that could cause damage to your home in case of high winds.
- Moor your boat, trailer, gear and supplies.
Brace Doors and Openings
- Inspect the exterior of your home for minor repairs needed to roof, windows, down spouts, etc.
- Look for cracks of light around window or door frames, which need to be sealed to prevent water invasion.
- Brace your garage door from falling and close interior doors. An opening in the house during a hurricane causes depressurization, which can cause a house to collapse or lose its roof.
- Check with local authorities to determine if sand bags are being distributed to area residents.
- Fill and stack sandbags in front of doors and other openings to prevent flood waters from creeping inside your home.
Round up your Records
- Gather important documents such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, insurance and mortgage documents, medical records, etc.
- Make sure these documents are in a safe place that’s easily accessible.
- In the case of an evacuation, ensure you bring these documents with you.
After the hurricane passes, you may lose access to basic services, such as power and water; so be sure to stock up on essentials now and build a disaster kit to last you and your family for a minimum of 7 days.
- Water – Pack a minimum of 1 gallon per person per day for seven days.
- Food – Non-perishable packaged or canned food and juices you can consume without cooking, in case of power outage.
- Flashlights, Batteries and Chargers – Be sure to have flashlights, extra batteries, battery-powered radio, and cell phone chargers.
- Withdraw cash – Remember, banks will be closed during the storm. If there is a loss of electricity, ATMs and credit card machines will be inoperable.
- Keep your gas tank full. During extreme weather conditions, local gas stations may experience limited supplies, possible outages, and even closures. Make sure you are fueled up and prepared to respond to an emergency evacuation order.
- Have some packaged snacks, such as granola, peanut butter and bread, on hand to feed the family as you wait out the storm. Family games also help pass the time and occupy small children.
- Freeze some of your bottled water supply. Be sure to have coolers available in case of a power outage. Place the frozen water bottles in the cooler and then move food into it. The cooler should keep the food fresh for several extra hours.
- Identify a safe room or safest areas in your home.
- Other essentials - Ensure you have all other medications, first aid kit, blankets, toiletries, diapers, and baby food, and supplies for your pets.
- Download a full supply checklist from Florida Division of Emergency Management
Have an Evacuation Plan
- Know your evacuation route. Visit FloridaDisaster.org to track the recommended evacuation route for your region.
- Follow the advice of local authorities.
- Develop a Family Emergency Plan to include ways to contact each other, alternative meeting locations, an out-of-town contact person, and plans for your pets.
- Research your evacuation route.
- Don’t wait until the last minute.
- Know where you’re going and how to get there, before hitting the road.
- Call ahead to hotels or shelters to ensure there is room for your entire family, including pets.
- Tell family and friends where you’re heading.
- Bring extra cash and important documents.
- Watch your vehicle’s fuel gauge. Allow yourself plenty of time to find a gas station to refuel. Remember, an influx of evacuees can cause gas stations to run out of fuel.
- Pack an emergency kit including food and water in case you become stranded.
- Before you leave, FEMA recommends you shut off your electricity and water supply to your house, to protect against electrical fires and flooding from broken pipes.
- Pay close attention to weather reports. Do not attempt to return home until you know it is safe.