Volusia County’s coastal communities are preparing for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, from June 1 through November 31 with storms peaking in August and September. Hurricane Matthew (October 2016) and Hurricane Irma (September 2017) are noted as major storm systems to have directly affected the area. In some cases, many Volusia homeowners are still finalizing repairs from those hurricanes. This year, as in every year, locals hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Ideally, residents already have emergency plans in place for themselves and their properties. A plan includes methods for emergency communication with family, preparing emergency supplies, checking the property’s insurance coverage and identifying a community’s evacuation plan. The internet is conveniently packed with digital hurricane preparedness toolkits to help the general public establish a sound emergency plan.
The website, Ready.gov, is a national public awareness campaign launched in 2003 and is “designed to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters. The goal of the campaign is to promote preparedness through public involvement.” The website includes links to graphics, videos and social media posts regarding hurricane preparedness.
To prepare a home, it is recommended to make sure the property is in good repair and meets local hurricane building codes, declutter drains and gutters, trim trees, secure loose outdoor items and loose doors and plan a safe location to move vehicles during a hurricane.
In the event of damaging wind, storm surge and flooding, a homeowner can secure their property by covering all windows with hurricane shutters or wood (tape does not prevent the window from breaking, only shattering), secure the roof using straps or clips if possible and reinforce garage doors.
If forced to evacuate, create a kit of supplies that can travel well. A kit will also be helpful if residents are able to stay in their homes, but are affected by the storm, such as a power outage. A common trend during approaching hurricanes is a widespread panic. People rush in large numbers to get supplies. Preparing a kit ahead of time can alleviate potential stress and chaotic situations.
It is recommended to plan for 72-hour survival and to include the following items in a hurricane kit: non-perishable foods, water, first aid kit, personal hygiene and sanitation items, flashlights, extra batteries, waterproof wallets and file folders for cash and important documents, manual can opener, lighter or matches, special needs items for pets and young children, coolers, ice packs and a plan in case family members are separated.
Follow these hashtags on social media platforms #HurricanePrep #ItOnlyTakesOne and #HurricaneStrong for several discussions, lists, photos and links to take action this hurricane season.