Norway Nautical Hurricane Prep

Life on Florida’s sunny, wave-kissed coast can be idyllic–until it’s not. The flipside to beach living is hurricane season with powerful storms that can move from the coast to inland locations with surprising speed and force. Both residential and commercial property owners must take hurricane preparedness seriously and make reliable emergency management plans in order to protect themselves, their structure’s occupants (and pets), and the properties themselves from the ravishes of powerful storms that may be reminiscent of Hurricane Ida and other hurricanes that made landfall along Florida’s coasts. 

The Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico can spawn severe weather any time of year, but during hurricane season, storms can be particularly fierce for coastal property owners. In order to protect your property, use the following tips to safeguard yourself, your family, or your employees and customers from severe weather. While you can’t stop a hurricane or tropical storm from battering Florida’s coast, you can take tried-and-true measures to protect what you can in your little corner of the state. 

Create a Natural Disaster Plan

Whether you’re a homeowner or business owner, you need a carefully thought out natural disaster plan. Unlike the West Coast where earthquakes and forest fires are more likely to occur than hurricanes, Floridians must focus on the potential of a tropical cyclone or extremely powerful storm systems that can produce storm surges and flooding. You can guard against the ravages of a hurricane natural catastrophe by, first, making a hurricane prep plan that includes all the steps you need to take and supplies you need to purchase to ensure reasonable safety during severe inclement weather. While many plan steps for residential and homeowners will necessarily overlap, some will differ. First, we’ll discuss general hurricane preparedness steps and then explore some unique steps that different types of property owners should take to protect their homes or businesses.

General Hurricane Preparation Measures

Think about your hurricane disaster plan as a course of action to prioritize. Don’t wait until the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or National Hurricane Center tracks a hurricane en route to the Miami coast if at all possible. Supplies run out quickly for items like plyboard and even bottled water. Rest assured–tropical storms that require emergency preparedness will affect Floridians at some point (and probably more often than you’d like). The sooner you create your plan and put it into action, the sooner you can relax, knowing you’ve done what’s best to safeguard your property.

Gather Supplies

To properly prepare for a hurricane, you’ll need a wide range of supplies, including:

  • Battery-powered device to track forecasts and the hurricanes track
  • Flashlights with batteries (also candles, oil lamps, and matches)
  • First aid kit (should include antiseptic and bandages)
  • Protection for windows (i.e. storm shutters / boards)
  • Waterproof containers (to stow valuables, including smartphones, connective devices, family photos, medications, etc…)
  • Food and water (Enough for 7 days–and choose items that do not need refrigeration such as boxed and canned foods)
  • Appropriate formula / baby food and supplies for toddlers and infants
  • Extra toiletries
  • Pet food
  • Extra batteries or portable battery charger for rechargeable batteries

Tips for Residential Property Owners

If the weather prediction calls for hurricane prepping, you’ll want to take the following steps to protect your home and everyone in it:

  • Fill your car tank in case evacuations are called for
  • Have a pet crate or carrier on hand for your pet(s); be sure to have your pet’s leash and immunization records on hand too
  • Set aside spare cash for unexpected travel (ideally, keep a credit card set aside for emergencies too)
  • Keep all of your important documents in watertight containers; be sure they are handy in case you have to quickly leave your property
  • Be sure your grill works and keep extra propane / charcoal on hand as well as paper plates
  • Ensure each household member has a backpack ready with essential clothing changes and personal supplies in case you need to leave your home
  • Remove outdoor furnishings and children’s toys; stow them in a garage or shed so they can’t become ‘missiles’ if the wind takes them airborne
  • Update your homeowners insurance policy if necessary 
  • Clean your gutters to ensure they function properly with heavy rainfall
  • Keep some emergency kits on each level of your home and in your vehicle
  • Boat owners should remove their boat from the water or take measures to safeguard it
  • Trim dead tree limbs that could easily fall from trees during periods of high wind and heavy rainfall and could cause damage to your home or vehicle
  • Keep emergency response and recovery numbers handy
  • Protect your vehicle. If you can’t stow your vehicle in your garage, park it in the safest location you can. Move it to a higher elevation if possible to reduce the risk of it being caught in high water
  • If you have pets, take care to find out about pet-friendly shelters in your area
  • Involve family in your plan; be sure you know their evaluation plans
  • Learn which neighbors have medical training
  • Find out which neighbors are highly vulnerable (i.e. have a disability or mobility issues)
  • Designate the safest spots in your home where you and your family can weather the storm

Tips for Commercial Property Owners

If the Hurricane Prediction Center forecasts a hurricane or severe tropical storm, be sure your business or commercial property is prepared. You may wish to take the following steps:

  • Hire a risk consulting firm to help you devise or assess your hurricane disaster plan
  • Periodically conduct risk assessments to update your disaster plan
  • Tune in regularly to weather prediction centers
  • Understand the potential damage risks associated with hurricane force winds or wind traveling within a certain range of miles per hour
  • Remove outdoor items that could become airborne during a hurricane such as outdoor vinyl signs or seating
  • Be sure trees are trimmed; take care to remove dead or dying tree limbs
  • Assess your cyber risk; be sure that your electronic assets are backed up and insured. A risk consulting firm can help you secure your electronic records and hardware
  • Be aware of your legal obligations; as a commercial property owner, you are responsible for maintaining your property. Any glaring problems could become liabilities if anyone is injured on your premises even during a hurricane. For instance, take care to adjust your hours and evacuate your business if power is affected by the storm

During the Storm

Once severe weather strikes your area, it’s important to monitor the situation. That’s why you need battery-operated devices that allow you to tune in to your local and national weather prediction center. You’ll want to pay attention to factors like the wind miles per hour, ocean current and storm surge predictions, local conditions, information issued by the Coast Guard, information about storm shelters (which could change during the storm and its aftermath), roadway information (also subject to change depending on area conditions like flooding), and evacuation warnings. The National Weather Service provides information related to hurricanes forecasts for people in affected areas. 

Marine Safety

Be sure to consider marine safety when weather services issue severe storm or hurricane warnings. Vessels at sea should take every measure to avoid the 34 KT wind field. Use ocean current tracking equipment and always track the weather carefully when sailing because of the inherent marine risks of storms. When a storm is tracked, continually plot its course to be aware of any shifts that may occur and affect your vessel’s course. Also, record barometer readings each hour. If possible, switch from auto-controlled steering to manual steering. 

Other marine safety measures to take with your boat include:

  • Practice boat evacuation drills
  • Maintain boat safety devices, life vests, and first aid kits
  • Keep food and water stowed on your boat (ideally, enough for three days)
  • Be sure your boats radio is fully charged
  • Stow important paperwork like boat registration and emergency contacts in watertight container
  • Review your boat insurance policy

If a hurricane is forecast, you’ll have to decide whether to remove your boat from the water or anchor it in position. If you decide to leave your boat in the water, use at least two anchors to secure the bow so that it faces the direction of prevailing winds. Cover engine vents and plug the stern’s exhaust pipes. If you have a small craft, use a boat launch to remove it from the water and move it inland to a protected area if you can. Do not leave your boat on a hydraulic lift, however, during a hurricane.

If you live along the Eastern and Southern coasts where hurricanes and tropical storms are known to strike, you must take hurricane preparedness seriously. With a good disaster plan in place, you’ll be ready when the next hurricane strikes. Use these tips but be sure to track all storms that head toward your section of the coast, and revise your plan as needed. Need advice about boat launches or seawalls? You can consult with Norway Nautical for advice and help with your marine projects.