A Floridian’s Guide to Preparing for a Hurricane

As we all know, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have both devastated Houston, South Florida, and the Caribbean Islands. Being a native Floridian, I have lived through my fair share of hurricanes. Preparing for a hurricane is never easy as it is hard to know what to expect, but with my tips and experience hopefully you will learn some insight on how to stay safe (and sane) during a storm.

            My first set of tips is to prep your house and personal belongings. Depending on the strength of the hurricane and the area you live in, boarding up your windows might be a smart idea. If you have an outside patio area bring your grill, chairs, tables, etc. inside or secure them down with a rope or even a hose. This is a vital step to take if you have furniture outside because strong winds can carry your furniture into the air and potentially break a window or injure someone. Another pro tip is to get sand bags from your local fire department. Before a storm, my family and I would always grab a few bags to stack up by any doors we have to prevent water from entering our home. Something I’ve learned recently (that blew my mind), is that you can use your dishwasher to keep valuables safe during a flood. Emptying the racks from the dishwasher and using the appliance to store pictures, valuables, or anything you don’t want to get lost in a possible flood is the safest bet, as a dishwasher is sealed off to water. And lastly make sure your cars are parked in a garage to prevent damage from falling debris.

            My second set of tips is to make sure you have the necessary supplies readily available. During hurricane Charley in 2004, my family and I were left without power or running water for a few days but we were thankfully prepared. My mom would always fill the bathtubs with water prior to a storm just in case we needed to manually flush the toilets. We would also stock up on bags of ice so we could use our coolers as a make shift fridge if need be. If you don’t have a cooler, a washing machine can also be used instead of a cooler! This may be obvious, but not many people have an emergency supply kit in their homes. Always be prepared with one filled with medicine, flash lights, and first aid if you live in a hurricane prone area. Lastly, make sure you document the state of your home currently (inside and out) for insurance purposes.

            A storm can leave you without power for days on end. My last set of tips is to make sure you stay sane while you wait for the power to come back on. As a kid, being in my home without power did not phase me at all. My sister and I would spend the duration of the storm being entertained by our Barbies, but if I were without power today, Barbies just wouldn’t cut it. To prepare I would definitely make sure all my electronic devices and backup power sources were charged, and have a book readily available just in case the juice doesn’t last. As a Floridian, the best advice I can give you is a set of playing cards and a case of beer (if you’re of legal age!) is the best way to pass the time! Any Florida native would agree; alcohol will be your best friend through the few days without electricity.

            Hurricanes can be a terrible and devastating occurrence that no one wants to experience, but being prepared is one thing you can control through it all. If you live in a hurricane prone area please be sure to take the necessary steps to prepare yourselves, and if worse comes to worst, evacuate to a safe place. Hopefully these tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way will help you stay safe during the hurricane season.