A massive storm system headed for the Florida coast may cause an official evacuation order. In some cases, you may have a day or two to prepare, while other situations might call for an immediate evacuation.
Thinking ahead and discussing a potential evacuation with your family is vital to ensuring that you can evacuate quickly and safely in case of a major weather event.
Prior to an Evacuation
In Florida, the most likely reason for an evacuation is for an anticipated hurricane landfall, or high risk of a storm surge. You should:
- Have a go-kit packed and in the trunk of your vehicle in case of an evacuation. This should include basics like flashlights, batteries, a weather radio, a spare set of clothes, nonperishable food, and water bottles. Keep your tank full of gas as there may be a shortage of fuel.
- Keep a secondary grab bag in the house, filled with important documents and extra cash (as ATMs and card processors may stop working during a bad storm).
- Decide on a central meeting place, and a plan put together to stay in touch with each other, assemble as a family, and secure needed items.
- Stay on top of the latest severe weather alerts and messages from authorities. If an evacuation order is pending, determine if it would be wiser to head out in advance of a mandate.
- Secure your home, if there is time, by unplugging all electrical appliances and possibly flipping the main breaker to your home. Tape windows and secure loose outdoor furniture and grills.
During an Evacuation
The evacuation itself can be hazardous, as roads become packed with cars and people are stressed out and distracted. You can:
- Be familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
- Know where your nearest shelters are along your exit route in case you run out of time to evacuate.
- Make sure your vehicle has an emergency supply kit and that you bring any needed medications for your family.
- Have flotation devices for everyone in case of rising flood waters.
- Plan ahead if you have pets as only service animals may be permitted into a shelter.
After the Evacuation
Before you return home:
- Check local news to ensure the route home is clear.
- Acquire extra cash, gas, and batteries before heading back into an affected zone.
- Charge up devices and power banks.
- Let friends and family know before you leave and when you arrive.
- Bring non-perishable food and plenty of clean water.
- Watch for downed power lines and report them immediately; they may be live.
- If you need to use a generator, position it well away from your home and never try to hook it to your home’s power grid.
Evacuation in advance of a hurricane that doesn’t actually end up making landfall isn’t wasted time and effort. It’s better to have evacuated when not necessary than to fail to evacuate and be caught in a catastrophic event. Being prepared for a hurricane – including a potential evacuation – is the best way to protect yourself and your family.
About Olympus Insurance Company
Headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, FL and founded in 2007, Olympus Insurance Company specializes in Florida property insurance. Through its independent agency force, Olympus insures $40 billion worth of residential and investment property including homes, condos, rental property, and valuable personal property, with umbrella coverage and Spartan Enhanced Coverage available. Coverage for individual risks up to $5 million in total insured value is provided on one of the most comprehensive coverage forms in the industry.
For more information, visit olympusinsurance.com.