Hurricane Season Preparation in Florida – Lessons Learnt from Hermine

 
 

Hermine was the first hurricane to hit the state of Florida in a really long time. The hurricane made landfall in the Big Bend region on 2 September. It was characterized by 80-mph winds. Communities along the coast had to evacuate and many areas had to live without power for as long as a week. Before the hurricane season begins, you must make sure that you are aware of the evacuation routes, have a hurricane shutter installed, if you already have a shutter installed then ensure that it is in proper working condition, stock yourself with supplies, have a first aid kit handy, keep a stock of batteries and flashlights, ensure that your car is running and fueled up, and have spare dry clothing.

When a watch or hurricane warning is issued, you must immediately move to higher ground. Shutter your property, and secure any objects lying outside or move them in. Once you have weathered the storm, do not venture out. There will be debris and also broken electricity cables and wires. Wait for the floodwaters to recede. Maintain hygiene.

Ensure availability of clean drinking water. Of all the precautions and steps listed here, the most important one is to have hurricane shutters installed. Hurricane shutters stand between fierce winds and rain on one hand and extensive property damage and loss of life on the other. Glass doors and windows can break easily during a storm. Hurricane shutters protect them. The same holds true for garage doors. In the past, Hurricane Andrew caused extensive damage to unprotected garage doors. Your best bet with shutters is to choose ones that are easily installed, are affordable, and provide protection.

The weight you accord to these attributes will depend on your requirement. In an area that is exposed to heavy winds and rain, you need a sturdy shutter. If you live in a multistory house or are feeble, then you need shutters that can be managed remotely. Aluminum panels are a good alternative because they are not only easy to install but also very strong. But you need to check if they satisfy the building codes of your area.

It is worth remembering that whatever the kind of shutters you choose, they will be only as good as the installation. Make sure that experienced and qualified workmen install the shutters. The best hurricane shutters are those that are a part of the structure, and the best time to install shutters is when the house is being constructed. If that’s not possible, then get the shutters installed when the hurricane season is still some months away.

You’ll find that installers have more time during off season, and will be able to do a good job at your premises. Also, it’ll cost you less. Once, hurricane season arrives, you should check your shutters to ensure that they are working smoothly and lock correctly. Paneled shutters should be checked for any signs of warping or damage that could impact the structural integrity of these shutters.

If you stay in a condominium, your condominium association cannot stop you from installing shutters. Chapter 718 of Florida Statutes of the Condominium Act (1991) permits each board of administration to adopt specifications as to color, style, etc., but all specifications “shall comply with the applicable building code”. The Florida statutes further state “… a board shall not refuse to approve the installation or replacement of hurricane shutters conforming to the specifications adopted by the board.”

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