There’s a lot to love about living in coastal Florida – sun, no snow, beaches, fishing, boating – you get the idea. All those wonderful benefits unfortunately come with the occasional hurricane or tropical storm. As those of us that have been through a couple storms have learned – planning for hurricanes or tropical storms is best done in advance. Below are our favorite tips on storm prep and links to a variety of area planning guides and websites on emergency preparation.
Favorite Tips from the Five Star Team
- Make a “go” box. Put important documents like passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, titles, etc. in one box/folder. Include phone numbers for utility companies, service contractors, insurance agents, etc.
- Know your zone, have an evacuation plan, and let family and friends know your plan.
- Store exterior items. Trash bins, hanging plants, and items can fly and be dangerous if left on a lanai or dock. If you really love that chair or hanging plant then bring it inside or you may never see it again.
- Fully charge your cell phone and consider having portable battery backups for mobile devices.
- Know where your flashlights are and be sure the batteries work and have extra batteries on hand.
- Have some candles around and have lighters and matches in a waterproof container.
- Fill or pick up any prescriptions prior to the storm.
- Have extra cash on hand. If power is out and internet is still down stores will not be able to use credit card machines.
- Fill your vehicle’s gas before the storm arrives.
- If you have a portable generator you may want to have some extra gas on hand. Be sure to test your generator on a regular basis to make sure it is in working order.
- Plan for your pets. Have extra supplies and vet records handy. Check out the pet disaster guide in Charlotte County’s guide – link below.
- Fill propane tanks for your grill. It’s a great way to cook when there’s no electric.
- Raise your boat life as high as possible and be sure to double up lines on your boat. When securing your boat remember to allow for storm surge.
- Fill bathtubs, sinks, and some extra containers with water.
- Stock up on non-perishable food and a non-electric can opener.
- Think about freezing some extra ice in bags. It can always be used for cooking, cleaning, etc. after it melts.
- Have extra lawn or garbage bags for yard clean up. Extra cleaning supplies may be useful also.
- Having extra sunscreen and bug spray is a good idea as you may be spending time outside on clean up after a storm.
Links to Local Area Guides
City of Punta Gorda: https://www.ci.punta-gorda.fl.us/residents/emergency-preparedness
Charlotte County Planning Guide: https://www.charlottecountyfl.gov/core/fileparse.php/476/urlt/charlotte-county-disaster-planning-guide.pdf
DeSoto County: https://desotobocc.com/departments/emergency_management
Lee County: https://www.leegov.com/hurricane
National Weather Service: https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane-plan