How to Prepare for a Hurricane 

Chris Rich

Storm Watches vs. Storm Warnings

Anytime severe weather is predicted, stay tuned into Orlando or local media channels for developments. Have plans in place for times when conditions deteriorate. Your safety is the most important consideration. Know the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning.

A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible in a stated area. Experts announce hurricane watches 48 hours before they expect tropical storm winds (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) to start.

A hurricane warning is more serious. It means hurricane-force winds are expected in a stated area. Experts issue warnings 36 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected in the area to give people enough time to prepare for the storm.

Severe Weather Preparations

Long before hurricane season, review these safety precautions:

  • Select Your Home’s Safe Room

Find an interior room, closet, or area without windows that’s large enough for everyone in your family. Make sure everyone knows this is the gathering point during severe weather. Stock your safe room with a storm kit, including the items below.

  • Purchase and/or Test Existing Generators

Unfortunately, the damage created by severe storms may leave you hunkered down for a long time without electricity. Have a generator on hand (and the fuel to run it) well before you think you might need it.

  • Get Battery-powered Appliances 

Having battery-powered smaller appliances can keep you connected and more comfortable while reducing the strain on your generator. Common items that can operate using regular batteries include radios, TVs, lanterns, hotplates, flashlights, and fans.

  • Use Watertight Containers for Additional Storm Kit Material

Keep watertight containers on hand to store extra batteries, candles, matches, and lighters. Ensure you have space in watertight containers for important documents, identification, medicines/prescriptions, and anything else that should be kept safe and dry.

  • Stock Shelf-Stable Food and Bottled Water

Ensure you have several days’ worth of non-perishable goods (think canned food, crackers, MREs, camping meals, or protein bars) for your family. Store at least one gallon of drinking water per person per day. Factor in water and food for pets as well. 

  • Stash Comfort Items

Ensure you have a blanket and pillow available for every family member. Pets tend to ride out storms better when contained in carriers or on a leash. Ensure your pets have ID tags with your name and phone number.

  • Test Safety Equipment

Test carbon monoxide detector batteries to prevent CO2 poisoning. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and ensure the entire family knows how to use it.

Steps to Take Ahead of an Impending Storm

Keep a checklist in your storm kit of steps to take before a storm hits landfall. 

Staying Safe at Home

If you choose to stay and ride it out, stay inside (even if the weather looks calm). Stay connected to local news media for developments, and follow all recommended precautions and instructions.

  • Check items in your storm kit for working order, expiration dates, and fresh batteries.
  • Gather insurance documents, passports, and other important papers in a waterproof container.
  • Secure pets inside (if it’s not safe for you outside, it’s not safe for them either).
  • Secure all outside items. Bring inside anything loose that could become a projectile in high winds (toys, patio chairs, trash cans, etc.). 
  • Review your Resident Benefits Package as a tenant through The Realty Medics.
  • If you have time, top off the gasoline in your car, get cash from the bank, and refill any prescriptions.
  • Unplug appliances. Be prepared to shut off the main power line if flooding or down lines occur in your neighborhood.
  • Make sure you take out renters insurance that includes flooding (it rains a lot in Florida after all)

Evacuating the Area

Because weather forecasts can predict storms hours or days before they hit, many plan to evacuate the area. If you choose to do so, carry a smaller version of your storm kit with items above and following this checklist below. Again, stay connected to local news media for developments, and follow all recommended precautions and instructions, including evacuation orders.

  • Take all recommended precautions by the local news media and storm bulletin publications.
  • Take pets with you. Don’t leave them alone in a house.
  • Turn off the main breaker, water supply and main gas lines to the house (Call the power company for instructions).
  • Secure all outside items. Bring in the swing sets, play houses, small planters, anything that could turn into a flying object during high winds.

The Realty Medics want to ensure all our tenants stay safe during central Florida’s severe weather. Proper planning can make all the difference. We can always fix or replace damaged rental property after the initial emergency passes.