Now is the time to start planning for the 2018 hurricane season

With hurricane season officially beginning on June 1, it’s a good time to start thinking about hurricane preparedness.  The latest report issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting a 75-percent chance that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be near- or above-normal. That means this year’s season could be close to or on par with what we saw last year. 

Mark Wool, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Tallahassee office, said the pre-season outlook should remind people to do storm planning.

“You want to be self-sufficient for up to 72 hours. You want to have non-perishable food items, batteries, battery-operated flashlights and radios. You want to make sure you’ve got a first-aid kit (and) enough prescription medications to get through the event,” Wool said. “Some of the most likely outcomes in these things, especially around here, is a power outage that can last a substantial amount of time.”

Below are some tips to help prepare for the upcoming hurricane season:

First and foremost, stock up on basic supplies such as batteries, flashlights, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, medication and prescriptions, personal hygiene essentials, rain gear and plenty of clean drinking water. This will come in handy if your home is not located in a flood zone, or the storm doesn’t merit an evacuation order. It is recommended to have enough supplies per person to last for a minimum of three days. Once the storm comes, fill your bathtub with water. This can be used to fill toilets for flushing if water service is disrupted.

Fill up your shopping carts and take advantage of the tax-free holiday starting on June 1st and going through June 7th. During this time, you’ll be able to purchase hurricane essentials such as batteries, tarps, coolers, radios and even portable generators without paying any sales tax. For more information on the tax-free holiday, please visit the Florida Department of Revenue’s website.

Establish some form of emergency notification for when the weather starts to turn. This could be as simple as turning on your tv or radio and tuning it to the local news or weather station. There are also several hurricane specific smart phone apps, such as the one from the Red Cross (search for Hurricane in the app store) that includes notifications for locations you can set across the country, tips for preparing before, weathering during and recovering after the storm.

Know if your home is located within a flood zone and its evacuation level. You can look up your evacuation level on either the Sarasota or Manatee county website. A storm can quickly change patterns so it’s important to be prepared in the event you must leave your home in a hurry. Keep a “to go” bag ready with your basic hurricane supplies plus extra clothing, important documents, enough medication to last up to two weeks, road maps, bedding and some cash.

Work with your family to create an emergency plan and a designated meeting place in case of an evacuation. Pick a specific location and ensure everyone knows where it is in the unfortunate event of separation.

Videotape or photograph your property and personal possessions, especially valuables. This will help with any insurance claims if the storm causes any loss or damage. Important documents such as birth certificates, insurance policies, insurance cards, social security card, important family and business contact numbers, health records, mortgages, deeds, titles, financial documents should be kept in a secure, protected place. Back up your important computer files to cloud storage.

Remember to remove all items from outside areas, balconies, pools and lanais. Bring in outdoor furniture, potted plants and anything that could be picked up and thrown by the wind. Unsecured items could pose a risk to other homes, vehicles and people (not to mention your items getting damaged). Close and lock all windows and move all items away from them.

NEVER leave your pets behind during a storm! Bring pets with you to a friend or family member’s home or locate a shelter or hotel that allows pets (many shelters loosen their restrictions as necessary during an emergency). If necessary, plan to have your pet boarded somewhere that can protect or evacuate them safely for you. Pack enough pet food, proof of current pet immunizations, leash, muzzle, medications, pet bowls, and water.

Most importantly, don’t forget that your possessions can be replaced, and properties can be repaired. Evacuate when advised by emergency officials. Don’t put your life at risk by trying to “ride out the storm” if you are in a mandatory evacuation area. Be smart and stay safe!

If any damage is sustained during a storm, please report it to Ryntal Property Management via the Tenant Portal or call (866)995-5772 to reach our Maintenance line and create a work order. A property manager will be out to assess the damage and arrange for any necessary repairs.