Hurricanes in Florida are most active in August, September and October. So don’t sit back and relax just yet – hurricanes can occur at any time during the season.
Granted, we get plenty of notice when a hurricane is approaching, unlike tornadoes and other phenomena I grew up with (earthquakes). Having plenty of notice doesn’t always make a big difference in our preparation. It’s human nature to wait until we “know for sure” before getting ready to leave or brace.
It’s a pro tip to have a “go” box ready. It’s one last thing you won’t have to think of at the last minute. Once we get the notice to evacuate, it’s easy to forget things as we rush to get ready. Experts at the Weather Channel, FEMA, Ready.gov and the University of Florida have put together some great tips to help you prepare your “go” bag. Some of the items may seem unnecessary, but if needed, you’ll be glad you had them ready to go as there’s a chance that you may be on your own for a few days after the hurricane passes and you’ll need these supplies.
Here’s a compilation of all the lists into one checklist.
- The Go Box. Make sure your box is waterproof and large enough for everything. A large plastic tote or waterproof duffle bag that has pockets for organization is ideal.
- Place your important papers together in a waterproof container (see more about important papers below).
- Preplan your evacuation route and inform all family members of the route. Keep a copy of the evacuation route in your go box.
- Pack an extra cell phone charger and a/c adapter.
- If the power fails, ATM’s etc. will not work nor will credit card machines. Pack at least $50-$100. In a crisis… cash rules.
- Spare set of house and car keys.
- Water and Food. It’s recommended to pack a minimum of several bottles of water, non-perishable meal bars, and a few canned foods with self-opening tops The rule of thumb is to have one gallon of water and food per person for three days. (Our family gets a case of Chef Boy R Dee each year and home water delivery, so we keep extra 5 gallon jugs during the season).
- Pet bowls and food.
- First-Aid kit that includes extra medications for at least seven-days.
- Pack the basics like deodorant, dry shampoos, etc.
- Battery-powered radio.
- Extra batteries.
- Can opener.
- Change of clothes.
- Moist towelettes.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Spare contact lenses or extra pairs of glasses.
- Plastic utensils, paper towels, cups and plates.
The University of Florida offered some tips on important papers to pack that could easily be overlooked and are sure to be needed in the event a hurricane hits. Note that if you have evacuated, you may not be able to return to your home without proof of identity. You’ll also need these papers to help in the recovery process. Your list of documents should include:
- Photo identification
- Birth certificates
- Social security cards
- Immunization records
- List of current medications
- Insurance and financial information (homeowner’s insurance, car insurance, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds)
- Digital or photo record of personal property
Feel free to download our FREE HURRICANE CHECKLIST and print a many copies as you need.
During the evacuation last year, we made digital copies (scan or smart phone photo) of all our important documents. Then we uploaded them to a cloud server (like Dropbox) for safe keeping. That way, if we lost our phones or computers, the images were still accessible from any computer.
Hurricane Irma taught us another big lesson last summer – she showed us that we are vulnerable. We’re sure that many of you wished you had a better “go” box as a good portion of the state of Florida was without power for days and even weeks. We were near Clearwater and without power for 12 days, as was the local stores and pharmacies.
Schedule a talk with your insurance agent to make sure your policies are up-to-date and ample for your needs. Remember to ask him or her questions about hurricane preparedness. We’re here to help you – in the good times and bad. Fortunately we specialize in the bad, and plan in the good.
This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. Should you have any questions or would like to discuss your risk exposure with your flood insurance, please contact the insurance pros at ARCW Insurance. We are here to help.