Hurricane season runs from June 1 – November 30 in Florida, and preparation is critical to protecting your home, yourself, and your loved ones—and avoiding liability or unnecessary spending.
If last year’s Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole taught us anything, it’s that these storms are not to be taken lightly. If you’re new to the area, and even if you’re a longtime Floridian, a refresher on preparing is always a good idea.
Inspect Windows and Doors
Hurricanes bring two components with them: water and wind, both of which could cause severe damage if your doors or windows aren’t in good shape and sealed well. One of the first things you want to do is inspect the integrity of your windows and doors. Remember that the seals are just as important, so they should be inspected next.
Plan to reinforce windows and doors should a hurricane come along. You can do this using plywood and hurricane shutters. If you do not have plywood or hurricane shutters, we recommend getting them now rather than waiting until a storm is approaching. This way, you won’t have to worry about supplies running out or inflated prices due to demand.
We recommend Home Safety Solutions, a local company headquartered in Oldsmar, Florida for hurricane shutters, screens, and panels. They’ve been in the area since 1986 and offer various options to suit your unique home needs. Personally, we’ve used the Hurricane Screen Fabric Shields on all of our rental properties over the years. They are durable, lightweight, and easy to install.
Trim Your Trees
Grounds soaked because of non-stop rain and high winds mean that branches will come down. There’s no way around it. One way to reduce the risk of a branch or tree causing damage to your home is to trim the branches away from the home.
You also want to have the trees in your yard checked by an arborist or tree company to ensure that it is not dead or dying and at risk of falling.
Clear Out Gutters and Drains
Drainage is essential, so you want to ensure your gutters and drains are debris-free before a storm hits. Take the time to clean everything out and ensure water runs properly through your gutters and drains.
Inspect Your Roof
When it comes to dealing with high winds, having a secure roof is of utmost importance. Consider having your roof inspected by a professional to ensure that your tiles, shingles or metal are secure and capable of withstanding hurricane-force winds.
If necessary, ensure adequate repairs are made (by a licensed professional), and consider reinforcing your roof if needed.
Consider a Generator
One thing we know in Florida: loss of power is pretty much a given. It doesn’t take a hurricane to knock it out, either. You might want to consider having a whole-house generator installed. Yes, they are expensive, but major storms cause power outages that could last days.
If your home runs on natural gas or you can bury a propane tank on your property, a generator is worth it should a storm come through. We have them at our home and believe they’re worth every penny. We use the Generac brand.
Have All Supplies Ready to Go NOW
If you’ve been here for a while—or you were here last year for Ian—you know the pandemonium that is trying to find supplies at the last minute. From plywood to jugs of water to generators, the grocery stores and home improvement stores will be packed with people and run out of supplies. What’s more, you could run into stores charging much more for the everyday products that you need if a storm approaches.
Your best bet is to get everything you need now to avoid unnecessary stress and cost.
Avoid Unnecessary Costs or Liability
If you do need help securing your home as a storm approaches, make sure that you limit your liability risk by using a licensed and insured professional. Yes, you will see signs and posts from handymen, and using one in a moment of need is enticing, but the risk isn’t worth it.
Remember that you could be liable if something happens to the unlicensed, uninsured person you’ve tapped to help you secure your home. That’s the last thing you must worry about if a storm is approaching.
Know Your Resources
There are so many useful resources in and around the Tampa Bay Area. Make a list of them now so that you aren’t scrambling for them when you need them. Here are some of our favorites:
Know Your Evacuation Zone
Whether you leave or stay, having adequate supplies and knowing what you need ahead of time is important. It can be hard to remember in the moment, so have a checklist on hand.
If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to reach out. Alex and the team are happy to help walk you through hurricane prep. Remember: Alex has been in the area for over three decades and has invested in several properties. Hurricane prep is something he knows in and out!