Hurricane season 2022 is well underway, and every Floridian is encouraged to take notice. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center currently foresees an above-average level of activity during this year’s hurricane season. Between June 1 and November 30, experts believe we may see 14 to 21 named storms, 6 to 10 hurricanes, and 3 to 6 major hurricanes. If NOAA’s forecasts come to fruition, the Atlantic coast could see its seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season.
As we all know, hurricanes and tropical storms can do major damage. If you or someone you know is a homeowner in a state that is susceptible to hurricane damage, you may already be familiar with the problems that come along with storm damage. Loss of electricity, broken water pipes, and severe residential destruction can all take place when heavy winds and chaotic rainstorms collide in an area close to home.
No one can predict exactly how a natural disaster will play out, which is why preparedness and information are key to surviving the storm. Listening to local climate experts and their forecasts can give you an idea of just how severe the weather will be near your home, which will help you decide whether your family needs to evacuate.
If you’ve lived in Florida for a while, you know how devastating a hurricane can be. If you’re new here and not from a “hurricane state,” you may be unsure of what you need to do in the event of a natural disaster. In this blog, we’ll go over some of the resources you’ll need to be mindful of while preparing for hurricane season 2022, as well as give you insight on steps towards recovery if your home is affected by hurricane damage.
The heavy wind and rain that comes with hurricanes can cause your home to lose power, sometimes for days at a time.
If you lose power, you may be able to salvage some of your creature comforts, but only if you prepare correctly. All hurricane preparation experts recommend charging your phones, tablets, and laptops when anticipating a storm or power outage, but one initial charge will only go so far. If you want to be able to restore your device’s power after the battery is depleted, a portable charger is the way to go. Many of these devices cost less than $100, and they are typically able to be recharged by plugging them into your vehicle.
The Florida heat can sometimes continue well into September, which means that if a hurricane hits your home after summer is over, you may be forced to deal with high temperatures while navigating your power outage. Investing in numerous portable, battery-operated fans can help you and your family stay somewhat cool during peak temperatures. If your budget allows for it, we highly suggest a battery-operated air conditioner. These devices can cost hundreds of dollars, and they may not quite replace your residential HVAC system, but they can go a long way toward keeping your bedroom at a comfortable temperature for hours at a time.
Properly preparing for hurricane season 2022 requires you to ensure every vehicle in your household has a full gas tank. During a natural disaster, you never know when an emergency situation may arise. You may have to help a family or friend with transportation, or you may experience a medical emergency that requires you to rush a family member to the emergency room or urgent care center. Whatever the case may be, you must make sure you’re able to get into your vehicle and move quickly. If your family has numerous vehicles or if you are choosing to use a gas-powered generator throughout the storm, we suggest purchasing a few gas containers and filling those as well.
Even though it may be cloudy outside, in the daytime, you will typically have enough natural light to clearly see everything in your home. However, once the sun sets, you might have trouble safely navigating through your house. Having a large supply of flashlights and rechargeable batteries can be a huge help during a hurricane, but if you’re unable to recharge your batteries and your local supermarket is out of the disposable kind, consider investing in emergency candles.
Any candle can provide a source of light, but survival candles are what you’re looking for if you need hours of illumination without having any access to electricity or an electronic device. An emergency liquid paraffin candle can last for over 100 hours while burning cleanly, safely, and without any dripping. They’re also sealed in a plastic container, which means that if it accidentally falls to the floor, you won’t have to worry about a pool of broken glass making your dark home even more unsafe.
To make things easier, we highly suggest prioritizing non-perishable food over items that need to be frozen or refrigerated. Coolers and ice packs are great resources for keeping your perishable goods safe to consume, but they’re not a complete substitute for electric freezers. Depending on how long your power outage lasts, your ice packs may melt, which will lead to your cooler’s internal temperature rising, potentially spoiling your food and putting your family’s health at risk.
Nuts, canned soups, and dried fruits are some of the healthiest and most cost-effective non-perishable foods you can purchase in a situation like this. In addition to this, grocery stores tend to stay open as long as possible during hurricanes, unless their establishment is destroyed or the flooding poses a risk to their employees’ ability to safely commute to work and back. When possible, make a trip to your local supermarket to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables every few days. They may have a limited inventory due to a lack of staff or high demand from customers, but you can typically find some assortment of fresh goods available for purchase.
Experts recommend purchasing two weeks of food at a time, but you don’t want to overstock. Purchasing too much food can lead to you being forced to purchase an additional cooler or two, which will undoubtedly eat into your emergency savings. Furthermore, overstuffing your freezer with items can cause it to work harder to keep your items frozen at a safe temperature. When you have limited power, this could lead to your appliance failing and causing some (or all) of your food to perish.
While you’re at the store, make sure to consider any medical or hygienic needs your family may have. If a storm is coming your way, try to fill any prescriptions beforehand. During a hurricane, it can be much more difficult to access the medication you need due to closed pharmacies. Other miscellaneous items you will need on hand may include hand sanitizer, paper towels, diapers, matches, over-the-counter medication (aspirin), and vitamins.
Know When to Evacuate
Sometimes, stocking up on food and water will not be enough to keep you safe in the event of a hurricane. At times, the severity of the situation may call for you and your family to evacuate your home and seek a less threatening circumstance until the hurricane is over.
If you live in a “low-lying” area, you may need to evacuate depending on the severity of the hurricane. Though there aren’t maps that distinguish which areas in Florida are considered low-lying, the FEMA Map Service Center allows you to search your address to see if your home is in a flood zone. Individuals who live in a flood zone should also consider their area to be low-lying. Therefore, if an evacuation order has been made and you live in a flood zone, it is in your best interest to find shelter elsewhere to avoid severe flooding from a storm surge.
If you are forced to evacuate, make sure you have a plan. If you have pets and you’re going to a hotel or shelter, check beforehand to make sure your dogs and cats will be allowed into the establishment. You should expect to be away from home for weeks, which means you should carry along identification, important documentation, and any prescription medicine you need.
Know Where to Find Help (If You Need It)
If you choose to stay home during a hurricane and the elements are a bit more intense than you expected, you may find yourself looking for emergency assistance. For some, the only consequences of a hurricane are spoiled food and a yard full of tree branches and leaves. Replenishing lost food and redoing your landscaping can be an inconvenience, but if your house has been torn apart by the storms, getting back on your feet will be much more difficult than expected.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management helps Floridians who are attempting to get back on their feet after experiencing a disaster. Individuals, families, and business owners in Florida can lean on this division for support if a disaster declaration has been signed by the president. Once this takes place, you can then apply for federal assistance to help you recover from your damages and restore your residence or business back to its previous form.
After a hurricane, your first inclination will most likely be to contact your home insurance provider and submit a claim. Unfortunately, you can’t always expect an insurance company to properly compensate you for your loss. Insurers and their adjusters make their money by avoiding claims and lowballing their clients.
If you have any kind of damage to your home or business, your first call should be to a licensed Florida public adjuster. Public adjusters work for you, the property owner. A good public adjuster will meet with you to review your claim and then handle all negotiations with your insurance company. Most importantly, public adjusters can get you more money (up to 747% more) for your claim than if you handled it alone with your insurance company.
As a policyholder, you owe it to yourself to make sure you receive every dollar you are owed in the event of storm damage. Hurricanes can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, and if your insurance company is cutting corners in order to save money, this could ruin your financial standing.
Sentry Public Adjusting Is on Your Side
No two hurricane seasons are alike, and the damage they bring can never be predicted. As a Floridian, it is in your best interest to prepare for hurricane season 2022, even if the ensuing rainstorms are underwhelming. By taking your time to cover your family’s basic needs in the event of a worst-case scenario, you can make sure you stay safe, fed, and functional during a turbulent time in your life.
Sentry Public Adjusting helps Floridians get the insurance payout they deserve. Our team of in-house licensed public adjusters, claim specialists, estimators, and mortgage liaisons are ready to help you restore your home if it has been ravaged by hurricane damage. If your residence has been affected by a natural disaster and you don’t feel as though your insurance company is interested in properly compensating you for the damages you’ve experienced, we can help. Call us today at 800-780-6141 or contact us online to schedule a free inspection.