Last year, those of us who live in Orlando and the surrounding Central Florida area were lucky: we made it through hurricane season with minimal disruption and damage. Hopefully, we’ll have another uneventful year, but you never know what’s going to happen during hurricane season.
We can’t prevent major storms from occurring, but we can help minimize their impact on our personal lives. This year, let’s be prepared in case tropical storms or hurricanes hit our area:
If a hurricane or strong tropical storm hits the Orlando area, stores could be closed, and you could be without power for several days or more. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have necessities stored in your home so your family will be able to survive – hopefully, without too much discomfort.
First on the list of necessary supplies is food and water. Stock up now with at least 3 gallons of water per person in your household. This should be enough to last 3 days, if necessary. Also have a minimum 3-day supply of non-perishable, nutritious food items stored away with your bottled water. Make sure these food items are things that can be prepared easily, since you may be without power.
Next, think of your energy and technology needs if you are without power. Flashlights for each family member and extra batteries are extremely important for being able to get around in the dark and find what you need. Portable cell phone chargers and a cell phone, if you don’t always keep one on you, is also important for communication. In addition, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio will come in handy for keeping you informed about the weather conditions and environmental safety issues.
Besides a radio, cell phone and flashlight, your supply kit should include first aid supplies, medications, and personal hygiene items. Insect repellent and sunscreen are good additions to a basic first aid kit, while basic tools, extra clothing, and rain gear can help keep you and your family safe and secure. Finally, a camera should be included in your supply kit so you can take pictures of any damage.
When a storm is approaching, you need to be aware of its path and know the best course of action to protect your family and your property. Listening to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio will give you updated weather information so you can make good decisions about safety precautions.
Preparing your home should be done as quickly as possible. First, check your supplies to make sure you have enough food, water, batteries, etc., and replenish items as necessary. Also make sure you have a full tank of gas in your car. Then, bring in things from your yard that high winds could pick up. This includes potted and hanging plants, lounge chairs, bicycles, yard ornaments, and other items that could get damaged or cause damage.
Inside your house, turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting so that your food will stay as cold as possible if you lose power. Unplug small appliances and electronic equipment to prevent damage, and turn off propane tanks. Most importantly, close the windows, doors, and hurricane shutters, if you have them. If you don’t have shutters, board up the windows and doors with plywood.
Although you might want to stay at home and wait out the storm, doing so is ill-advised if local authorities have called for evacuation. In such cases, pack the family into your vehicle and leave the area. By all means, listen to the radio so you can try to avoid flooded areas and travel the safest, fastest route to a safe location.
Having discussed and agreed upon a family evacuation plan well in advance of a storm is a good idea, but, if you haven’t done so, evacuation time is not the time to argue over material things or directions. Your family’s safety needs to come first.
It’s natural to want to resume your normal routine at home after a hurricane has hit, but doing so is often impossible, unwise, and possibly, dangerous. Continuing rainfall and flooding can occur and continue for quite a few days after a huge storm, making roads and entire neighborhoods unsafe. Moreover, debris left from the storm, as well as downed powerlines, can be extremely dangerous.
When you do return home, make sure you take necessary precautions to keep your family safe. Stay away from any dangling power lines, and do not drink water from your home faucets until assured by local authorities that it is safe to do so. Caution everybody to stay away from debris and standing water.
In addition, if any of your property has been damaged by a hurricane or tropical storm, you need to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to get started on filing a claim. Take pictures of all damage and write descriptions of the damaged property, including type of item, purchase price, and place of purchase, so you have a visual and written record.
The more information you can provide and the sooner you start working with your insurance company, the better off you will be. Delays in repairing your home can, unfortunately, lead to further damage from flooding or mold. If your insurance company’s delays or negligence results in problems such as these, you may need to work with an Orlando hurricane damage attorney to get compensated for the additional damage.
Because insurance companies notoriously deny legitimate hurricane damage claims and do not cover repair costs that should be covered, consider talking with an experienced hurricane damage attorney about your hurricane damage as soon as possible after the storm.
The trusted homeowners’ insurance attorneys at Malik Law want to help you understand your rights and get compensated fairly for all damages. We know how destructive and devastating hurricane and tropical storm damage can be, and we want to make sure you’re treated with dignity and compensated fairly for the damages you’ve endured.
Call us today at 407-500-1000 or contact us online to talk with an experienced hurricane damage attorney who is committed to fighting for your rights.
American Red Cross. (2009). “Be Red Cross Ready: Hurricane Safety Checklist.” https://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4340160_Hurricane.pdf
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “Hurricanes.” https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes