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Preparing for Hurricane Season in Sarasota, Florida

Jennifer Thompson

Hurricane season in Sarasota, Florida, spans from June 1st to November 30th, a period when the region is most susceptible to tropical storms and hurricanes. As the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico fuel these powerful storms, it’s crucial to be prepared every year, even if a direct hit is not always guaranteed. Proper preparation can ensure the safety of your family and the protection of your property. This guide provides detailed information on hurricane preparedness, including essential supplies, home preparation tips, and actions to take if a hurricane is imminent.

Understanding Hurricane Season

Living in Sarasota means being vigilant during hurricane season. While not every year brings a direct impact, the potential for severe weather is always present. Therefore, having a comprehensive plan and being ready to act is essential for all residents.

Hurricane Preparedness Kit

Creating a well-stocked hurricane preparedness kit is a cornerstone of effective hurricane preparation. Your kit should include basic supplies that can sustain you and your family for at least three days. Water is crucial, so ensure you have at least one gallon per person per day. Non-perishable food items are also essential, along with a manual can opener for accessing them.

Flashlights with extra batteries will be invaluable during power outages, and a battery-powered or hand-crank radio will keep you informed of emergency updates. A first aid kit should include bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications. Don’t forget to include a multi-tool for various tasks, sanitation supplies such as moist towelettes and garbage bags, local maps, and a cell phone with chargers, including a portable power bank.

In addition to these basics, consider adding personal hygiene products, baby supplies if needed, pet supplies, important documents stored in a waterproof container, cash in small bills, emergency blankets, a change of clothes for each family member, and tools and supplies for securing your home.

Supplies to Stock Up On

Beyond your preparedness kit, it’s wise to stock up on additional supplies. Extra water and non-perishable food for a two-week supply can provide added security. Ensure your car’s gas tank is full, and have extra gas cans for generators. Propane for grills and camping stoves, a minimum two-week supply of prescription medications, a fire extinguisher, and cleaning supplies to sanitize your home post-storm are all prudent additions.

Prepping Your Home for Hurricane Season

Preparing your home for hurricane season can significantly minimize damage. Start with the exterior: install hurricane shutters or pre-cut plywood to cover windows and doors. Secure loose items like outdoor furniture and decorations that could become projectiles in high winds. Trim trees and shrubs to remove dead or weak branches, and reinforce garage doors to withstand strong gusts. Check your roof for loose shingles and consider using hurricane straps for additional security.

Inside your home, review your insurance to ensure adequate coverage for wind and flood damage. Document your home’s condition with photos and videos for insurance claims. Identify a safe room, preferably an interior room with no windows on the lowest floor. Prepare for power outages by testing generators and stocking up on batteries and alternative light sources.

What to Do If a Hurricane Is Imminent

When a hurricane is imminent, immediate actions are necessary to ensure safety. If evacuation orders are issued, know your evacuation zone and plan your route with multiple options in case of road closures. Inform family and friends of your plan and destination. Make sure your hurricane kit is ready to go and easily accessible. Before leaving, secure your home by turning off utilities, unplugging appliances, and moving valuables to higher ground.

If you decide to stay home, stay informed by keeping tuned to weather updates and emergency instructions via radio or TV. Stay indoors during the storm, even if the eye of the hurricane passes over, as conditions can quickly worsen again. Use your designated safe room and conserve power by using flashlights instead of candles to prevent fire hazards.

After the Storm

Once the storm has passed, wait for official confirmation that it’s safe to go outside. Assess damage safely, being mindful of downed power lines, broken glass, and flooding. Document any damage with photos for insurance claims and contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Additionally, check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or those with special needs, to ensure their safety.

Hurricane preparation in Sarasota, Florida, is an essential aspect of living in this beautiful coastal region. By assembling a thorough hurricane preparedness kit, stocking up on essential supplies, prepping your home, and knowing what to do when a hurricane is imminent, you can protect your family and property during hurricane season. Stay informed, stay prepared, and stay safe.

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