The Atlantic hurricane season begins today, June 1st. Florida has been incredibly lucky in the past ten years, as fewer storms and no major hurricanes have made landfall. This calm has allowed Floridians to become complacent with hurricane readiness and storm preparation plans. However, a single storm can have devastating consequences and cause major disruptions, as was the case of hurricane Wilma in 2005, which resulted in over $29.3 billion in damage and the single largest power outage in Florida's history when it made landfall, catching residents off-guard and unprepared. Over 97% of affected residents lost electricity and were forced to stand in long lines to obtain basic needs - including water and ice. Our streak of good luck is sure to run out, and when it does, we must be ready to face any weather-related hazards.
Weather service and government agencies are attempting to promote hurricane preparedness and safety awareness via the social media campaign #HurricaneStrong, a new public outreach campaign formed through a collaboration between Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)®, FEMA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and The Weather Channel. This initiative provides lifesaving information, mitigation information, and risk assessment links used to determine your property's hurricane vulnerabilities in an effort to minimize the threat to your life and property by providing tips to properly secure your home and keep your family safe and protected.
Taking the appropriate actions before and during a hurricane will increase your chances of survival and minimize devastation to your community:
- Prepare a family evacuation plan. Know your evacuation zone and plan alternate routes to safety in case roads are blocked.
- Be sure your homeowners' insurance is up to date - with the right coverage - and purchase a flood policy if you are in or near a flood zone. Keep in mind there is a mandatory 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy can become effective.
- Build a disaster supply kit with enough supplies to last at least three days for each person in your family. Don't forget the unique needs of children, elderly, and pets in your family.
- Strengthen your home. Put away or secure outdoor furniture and loose items. Keep trees and shrubs well-trimmed to minimize damage from broken branches. Have hurricane shutters ready and easily accessible.
- Encourage your neighbors to get hurricane ready and offer assistance to those in need.
Be sure to involve small children in all hurricane and storm preparations, as this can be a scary time for them. At #HurricaneStrong Kids they can learn about storms through an interactive mock-hurricane tracker, participate in a mock Hurricane Drill, and other activities. Stay informed with weather alerts, safety tips, and assistance with locating shelters or recovery centers by downloading the FEMA app on your mobile device. The better prepared we are, the easier it will be to recover from the aftermath once the storm has passed. Keep in mind, it only takes one storm to cause devastating damage!
In the event of an approaching storm, stay up to date with these local and national weather and emergency information resources. Keeping your family and home safe and protected is Edison Insurance Company's number one priority. We have taken a bright and innovative approach to homeowners insurance with coverage options allowing you to customize a policy to best suit your needs. Click here for a list of coverages provided by Edison Insurance Company.