Hurricane season spans from June 1st to November 30th and with Hurricane Dorian on the move towards Florida we are reminded that we are not in the clear just yet. It’s been 2 years since Hurricane Irma hit us and I don’t think we can forget the damage it left behind. Are you prepared if another hurricane where to come? Financial plan, evacuation plan and safety plan? www.ready.gov is a great website to visit to make sure you and your loved ones are prepared before the stress and chaos rises.
Natural disasters are unfortunately a reality landlords and renters alike must face. Though landlords can provide the materials needed to protect a home during hurricanes, nothing in Florida law requires landlords to protect their home — or their tenants — in a hurricane. It’s a great question to ask prior to signing a lease to understand what is provided and what your responsibility as a tenant will be in case of a natural disaster. Ultimately, the tenant will have to take measures to protect themselves if they choose to weather the storm. If tenants live in an area that is under evacuation, we always urge them to obey evacuation orders.
If tenants choose to stay in their homes, there are precautions that can be taken ahead of time to prevent unnecessary damage like boarding windows, removing/trimming damaged trees or old branches on the property as these will quickly become dangerous debris during high winds. Secure any outdoor furniture like patio sets, grills, children's toys, etc. Declutter drains and gutters. There are also designated storm shelters to take refuge at. Even if your plan is to stay, you should have a plan B on how to evacuate if circumstances change and you need to leave. Become familiar with your evacuation zone, route and shelter locations. Don’t wait until the storm is at your doorstep, make sure you have a plan so when the time comes you know what actions to take.
A few things to consider before, during & after the storm:
- Keep up with the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
- Let family and friends know what your plans are and where you will be.
- Keep Important documentation in a safe place and waterproof container.
- Gather needed supplies for at least 3 days. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs including medication and pet needs. (Food, water, batteries, flashlights, lighter, candles, 1st Aid, clothes, etc.)
- Put up hurricane shutter and protection.
- Fill tubs with water for bathing and toilet flushing.
- Always have a plan to leave even if you are choosing to stay, circumstances can change quickly.
- Charge phones and any backup batteries if power is lost during/after the storm.
- Turn Freezer/Fridge to coldest setting and open only when necessary.
- Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors ONLY and away from any windows.
- Do not swim or walk through flood waters and stay off of bridges over fast moving water.
- Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective gear/clothing and work with someone else.
- Stay away from electrical equipment when near water and avoid wading in flooding water which can contain dangerous debris.
- Save phone calls for emergencies. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.