In just a few days Hurricane Irma may be making landfall in south Florida. Your SRQ Wealth Team thinks that now is a perfect opportunity to review steps you and your family can take to prepare for a potentially disastrous hurricane.
Summer is here in Florida and that means an abundance of opportunities for enjoying the sunshine and outdoor lifestyle that makes this state so unique. It also means that it is officially hurricane season. Many seasoned residents of Florida are well aware of the dangers associated with this tremendous force of nature and that planning ahead for that next big storm is just another part of everyday life here in the tropical Southeast.
Historically, the greater Tampa Bay area has been very lucky when it comes to hurricanes. According to the National Hurricane Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the cities of Sarasota, Tampa, and St. Petersburg have not suffered a direct hurricane hit since 1946 when a Category 1 hurricane last swept through town. Additionally, we may all take a small collective breath of relief, as the NOAA predicts that the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will be a relatively quiet one, with only nine named storms likely to develop over the course of the season. But that does not mean that Floridians should not prepare themselves for the possibility of a big landfall.
It is important to remember that adequate preparation for the onset and aftermath of these storms is crucial. Here are some tips to help you and your family prepare:
- Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs until November 30. Numerous hurricanes can and have blown through the state of Florida in a single season, such as 2004 when four major hurricanes made landfall in the state, causing billions of dollars in damages. The possibility of one or more storms hitting the state is something every resident needs to be mindful of when preparing for a hurricane.
- The most dangerous and life-threatening phase of the storm is the initial landfall and wind surges that threaten buildings, roads, and infrastructure. The initial surge takes more lives than flooding, tornadoes, or other associated injuries combined during the course of the storm. However, it is important to remember that even once the storm has passed, the danger has not. Flooding and power outages can continue to contribute to the loss of life and property.
- Anxiety is often very high prior to a storm. Meteorologists and storm watchers have a much clearer picture of the threat 24-48 hours before the storm makes landfall. It is a good plan to have yourself and your property prepared well in advance with the basics rather than rushing out the week before and spending your time, money and energy fruitlessly if the storm redirects itself out of harms’ way.
Protection for the family
- Evacuation Plan – If prompted by local or state authorities to evacuate, you need to know well in advance where to go, how long it might take to get there, and what you should (or should not) plan on taking with you. If you are able to, contact a friend or family member that resides well outside the path of the storm and make a plan to relocate there for the storm’s duration. You should be prepared to:
- Take with you any important legal documents such as Wills, Trusts, Insurance Policies, Medical Documentation, Passports, Titles or any other documents that you must secure in a safe place. Please note that, as part of our services, you can have these documents encrypted and stored electronically with us at SRQ Wealth Management, so you do not have to worry about the safety or accessibility of your important personal or legal information.
Through our Wealth Vision Vault service, these important documents can be accessed by clients via the internet 24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
- Plan on having enough cash on hand for 5 to 7 days of expense needs and secure it in a safe place that is accessible to you. Access an ATM or make a withdrawal from your bank well before the onset of the storm in preparation of potential power outages.
- Supplies – Food and First Aid should be at the very top of your list of preparation supplies.
- Have an ample supply of fresh water and canned or imperishable food that can be sustained for at least 3 to 5 days.
- Bring a well-equipped first aid kit, as you can never know the types of injuries that may come about during sever weather or its aftermath.
- Make sure to have any prescription medications refilled and stored somewhere accessible to you well in advance.
- Do not forget to pack food, water, and any necessary medications for your pets. These supplies may need to last for several days.
- A comprehensive list of necessary hurricane supplies can be found on the Center for Disease Control’s website. Click here to read more.
- Information for storing safe drinking water can be found at the CDC's website. Click here to read more.
Protection for the home
- Wind shutters and Hurricane Glass – Building codes in Florida require that hurricane strength glass be installed in every building in the state, which will mean that our infrastructure is much better prepared for a major storm than in the past. It is important however, to have these windows inspected and well maintained.
- Flood/Hurricane Insurance - In the state of Florida it is very important for residents to have adequate property, wind, and flood insurance to protect the value of their homes in the event of a major hurricane. It is extremely important to note that some forms of windstorm and renter’s insurance do not cover flooding and this type of policy will need to be secured separately. Speak with your qualified financial advisor for more information or if you have questions with regard to your existing policy.
- The NOAA ‘s National Hurricane Center website is one of the leading resources for up-to-date storm tracking, news, and useful preparation tips.
- The CDC’s website contains a trove of vital information, including survival preparedness, disease prevention tips, and other useful information.
We hope that these simple tips help guide you along on your path to safety and security in this beautiful state that we call home. Keep in mind that these preventative and planning guidelines are but a few of the many important steps that you should consider taking as you prepare for a major hurricane or other significant weather event. The entire SRQ Wealth Management team wishes you a safe 2017 hurricane season.