I Bet You Never Heard This Before
Living in Central Florida, certainly has a great deal of perks. So many, that listing them all could make this an awful long read. But living in this highly desirable area of the country, comes with challenges as well. Namely the heat, mosquitos, daily thunderstorms, the tourists visiting our many theme parks and the added traffic. Oh, and did I mention the heat? And let us not forget that annual event, and no I am not talking about the arrival of Love Bugs which is actually twice a year. If you don’t live here or have not experienced the love bug season, I will leave that for another day. The thing I am talking about that happens each year, starting on the first of June and lasting though the end of November is Hurricane season. Each year the National Hurricane Center issues a list of names for the storms that brew up in the warm waters of the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Once they reach a certain strength, the name is affixed to the storm.
The seasoned veterans of Florida, (long time residents) often shrug off these storms because they happen so often. Some of the same people do not recognized the danger they face with these storms. Here is my quick list of things to consider before a named storm is being talked about. This is not an exhaustive list meant to be all encompassing for everyone. Just a few quick hitters to help you be more prepared.
INSURANCE: Take the time to make sure you have the needed coverage. Make a quick call to your local agent and discuss the coverages that you currently have and ask if he or she feels you are adequately insured for your lifestyle and all of your belongings. If you’re not, they can point you in the right direction to purchasing additional coverage(s). Do not wait until that named storm is approaching because by then, it is too late. The insurance company can not write you a policy when a storm is about to hit, it is just not going to happen.
Next, do a HOME INVENTORY. There are Apps for Android and IOS devices that you can download onto your smart device to help you complete your own inventory. Lots of pictures folks, lots of pictures! Someone once said to me, “You will not know what you lost, until you have lost it all.” These words ring so true whenever you see the horrific stories on the news. Catastrophic storms hit and decimate entire towns. You see the aftermath from a helicopter flying overhead showing you the devastation. These are the people living this nightmare. If it happens to you, the insurance company is going to hand you a book of forms to fill out and to detail everything you lost. A great example I use with folks is to sit in any room of your house. Now close your eyes and describe everything that is in that room. When you think you have thought of everything, open your eyes and discover all the things you forgot or missed. Once your case is settled you can’t go back and say, "Oh yeah, I forgot something."
Get the ROOF CHECKED. One of the most vulnerable parts of the home envelope is the roof. Wind and water have a way of finding the weak points in your roof structure. Holes, cracks, splits missing shingles or tiles are just a number of things the wind and rain will exploit.
SECURE YOUR BELONGINGS. On a daily basis in Florida it’s going to rain. Sometimes on the other side of the street. Usually the rain is accompanied by a brief spurt of high winds as the warm moist tropical air creates these daily disturbances. Loose items lying about your home can become airborne missles damaging siding, automobiles, windows etc.,
Each spring before the warm weather and daily storms set it take the time to SEAL UP YOUR HOME. Heat, moisture, and everyday use, all contribute to the detorioration of the weather seals on your home. As I said about your roof, the same is true about the exterior walls and openings on your home. Wind and rain have a knack for finding their way in. And when they do, the results are often not good. Make it a habit to protect your home from these two elements. Also check any other wall penetrations that you have on your home such as vents, cable entrances, spigots, drains and make sure they are sealed up as well. A tube or two of calking can save you a lot of money down the road if a leak develops and is unchecked.
VEGETATION around your home is often beautiful but can also be dangerous during high winds. Make sure that any trees that surround your home are kept trimmed so that branches swaying in the wind are not going to strike the home. Also, tree branches that hang over homes are subject to breaking in high winds and can puncture the roof surface and cause large amounts of damage. If you have this issue, consider hiring a tree service company to help you out on this one.
GARAGE DOORS are often another area in strong winds that fail. Many older homes in Florida that were built prior to Hurricane Andrew in August of 1992 were not built with strong hurricane rated panels and attachments to the wall structure. Hurricane Andrew came onshore in South Florida with 174 mph winds and not much of anything built prior to this storm survived. Garage doors are not built to handle these types of winds. But you can purchase vertical and horizontal support panels and beams to help support the structure. Usually when garage doors fail the roof is going to follow with the uplifted winds raising it off the foundation walls.
These are just a few of my suggestions of things to do before we have a storm. It is just a matter of time and we will feel the affects of a named storm. The bottom line in these tips is for you to protect your property and yourself. If the warning comes that a particular storm is to dangerous to ride out, then GET OUT! Things can be replaced but YOU can’t.