One of the realities of living in Florida is dealing with hurricane season.
While it’s been quite a while since a hurricane has actually passed directly over Jacksonville, it’s still important to be ready in the event that it does happen.
That’s why we’ve come up with a handful of helpful tips on how to be prepared for any big storm coming to town.
The first thing you should do to prepare is to stock up on essential grocery items.
Obviously, the most crucial item to keep around is bottled water. Depending on the impact of the storm, tap water may either be unavailable or contaminated, and going to the store for water at that point would obviously not be practical.
In addition to water, canned foods and other non-perishables are things you’ll definitely want to have around in the event of a major storm.
The key here is to stock up at the early stages of hurricane season. Everyone else is going to be doing the same thing, so acting quickly is important — you don’t want to be in a position where there’s a storm coming and you have to fight the crowds at Publix or Winn-Dixie to get the essentials.
Prepare to Lose Power
In any big storm, losing electricity is extremely likely.
You’ll want to be prepared for this by having flashlights or candles available. You’ll also want to make sure you have plenty of backup batteries — for both your flashlights and any other household items running on battery power.
You also might want to invest in a hand-crank charger for mobile devices, so as to have a way of communicating in an emergency or checking in with friends to make sure they’re okay.
Break Out the Old Tech
In the event of a major storm, not only are you likely to lose electricity, you also may find yourself without cellphone service.
Obviously, without cell service or power to operate a television, it can be extremely difficult to get access to crucial information and weather updates.
The solution is to make sure you have a weather radio. A weather radio is a radio designed to constantly deliver weather and emergency updates during storms.
Although not as important, having a radio in the event of a storm can also provide entertainment value. Being stuck in a house without power is never fun, so any opportunity to be distracted from the situation at hand is worth pursuing.
Again, the key here is making sure you have batteries, or some sort of hand-crank charging method, to ensure that the radio will keep functioning throughout the power outage.
Know Your Surroundings
Identify potential danger areas around where you live. Do a survey of the surrounding property, looking for trees with weak branches, any large unsecured objects, or anything else that seems like it could potentially cause problems in the event of a hurricane arriving.
Then, come up with a plan to eliminate these dangers. If you own your property, it may be as simple as fixing the problems yourself or paying someone to help. If you live in an apartment complex or on rented property, you’ll want to reach out to your landlord and explain your concerns. There may be some initial resistance, but be sure to clearly state the potential dangers — and if they still resist, point out the potential legal liabilities on their part.
Have an Exit Plan
Of course, if the storm is going to be too strong, sometimes staying at home is simply not an option.
For this reason, you should always have an evacuation plan in mind. Your plan will likely need to be based on the individual storm — you’ll want to note it’s expected trajectory, as well as the path to exiting town where you’ll encounter the least of the bad weather.
Before leaving home, you may want to board up windows and secure any large and valuable objects if possible. Anything particularly valuable should be taken with you if possible, in case of flooding or other damages.
Obviously no one wants to leave home, especially during a dangerous storm, but sometimes it’s the only safe option.