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The Florida Homeowner’s Guide to Hurricane Safety

Is Your Home Ready for a Hurricane? Take our Quiz!

Focusing on hurricane protection for your home is a top priority for anyone living in Florida. Fortunately, recent advances in residential storm protection have given homeowners much more confidence in keeping their homes safe against the destructive winds of a hurricane.

Let’s look at how you can ensure you and your loved ones’ safety during hurricanes. We’ll show you steps to take before a storm, what to do during severe weather, and how to handle the aftermath of a hurricane. We’ll also cover how you can take additional steps to further protect your home when future hurricanes threaten your property.

1. Before a Storm

Florida has experienced many hurricanes over the years. Focusing on planning and safety beforehand is essential for anyone living near the coast. A little preparation now can result in both money and lives saved in the long term.

Hurricane season in Florida officially extends from June through November, with stronger storms usually occurring towards the end of the period. It is also worth noting the frequency of hurricanes continues to increase due to climate change.

Recent Hurricanes in Florida

Hurricane Andrew in 1992 is one of the most well-known hurricanes, as it caused over $25.5 billion worth of damages to South Florida. The destructive impact of Hurricane Andrew resulted in Florida establishing stringent building codes throughout the state.

The 2004 hurricane season was also infamous, as hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne caused extensive damage to the state.

Hurricane Michael in 2018 was a Category five hurricane that produced catastrophic destruction, as it was the third most robust cyclone to make landfall in Florida.

Understanding Types of Hurricane Watches and Warnings

Understanding the various types of watches and warnings during hurricane season is critical, as knowing the differences between these categories of storms is a vital aspect of hurricane safety.

Tropical Storm Watch

A tropical storm watch occurs whenever there is a potential for sustained winds between 39 to 73 MPH within 48 hours. These conditions may create a storm surge or produce coastal or river flooding.

Tropical Storm Warning

A tropical storm warning happens if sustained winds between 39 to 73 MPH are expected to impact an area within 36 areas. Preparing your home in advance against these strong winds is essential to limiting damages.

Hurricane Watch

A hurricane watch is a possibility within a specific area due to the potential of sustained winds of 74 MPH or higher. Preparation is key to hurricane safety, as the NHC will issue a hurricane watch at least 48 hours before it anticipates tropical-storm-force winds.

Tropical Storm Warning

A hurricane warning is issued whenever sustained winds of 74 MPH or higher can impact a specific area. The NHC will issue a hurricane warning 36 hours in advance of tropical-storm-force winds to give you additional time to prepare your home. Following evacuation orders is also essential to maximize your safety.

Understanding Storm Surge Zones

One of the deadliest aspects of a hurricane is the significant rise of ocean water pushed on to the shore. One of the primary keys to hurricane safety is to understand your storm surge planning zones. These zones divide into five categories, which include Zone A, B, C, D, and E. Zone A is at the highest risk of a storm surge for Category 1 or greater while Zone E has the potential for storm surge due to Category 5 storms.

Take time to learn the zones of both you and your loved ones by consulting Florida’s Division of Emergency interactive map.

Home Preparation Tips

Understanding how to prepare your home for a massive storm is critical to hurricane safety. Bringing all of your outside furniture and other items inside is also important to limit the amount of flying debris.

Installing storm shutters or putting plywood over windows is critical if you have not installed impact-resistant glass. Always taking the time to prepare your home in advance can significantly limit damage and save you a lot of stress.

Learn More About Steps to Take Before a Storm Hits

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2. During a Storm

A hurricane can create massive damage to your home in only a short amount of time. Many times it is recommended to evacuate further inland to avoid the dangers of a hurricane. However, understanding a few hurricane safety tips is critical in keeping you and your family protected if you plan to stay home and weather the storm.

Family Safety Tips

Safety for you and your family is the number one priority during a hurricane. Always monitoring your radio or television is essential to receive real-time weather updates and additional instructions from public safety officials.

Staying indoors during a storm is critical to your safety, as finding a room with no windows gives you the best protection against flying debris. It is also good to keep an emergency kit nearby that includes non-perishable foods, water, medications, flashlights, and batteries.

Pet Safety Tips

Planning is the best way to keep your pets safe during a hurricane. Purchasing a carrier or a crate to keep your pets indoors is always smart for hurricane safety. You can also reach out to a veterinarian or a kennel beforehand if you are unable to keep your pets in your home.

Leaving your pets outdoors should be avoided at all costs, as they are most likely to get killed or severely injured during a hurricane. Taking the extra time to create a plan for keeping your pets safe is always well worth the effort.

Evacuations

Many times the local government will order an evacuation for areas in the direct path of a hurricane. Checking out the Miami Dade website or the local news station is a great way to receive updates as soon as possible. Evacuees are often encouraged to stay with friends or family members that live further inland in a non-evacuation area.

Staying at a hurricane evacuation center is another option if you are unable to find shelter elsewhere. Following government guidelines and evacuating as early as possible is essential to your safety and will save you a lot of stress. These evacuations usually roll out by zones or partial zones.

Checking out the Storm Surge Planning Zone Finder is the easiest way to determine if your home resides in an area at risk for storm surge. You can also download the Storm Aids for Everyone (SAFE) app to locate nearby evacuation centers, bus pick-us, disaster assistance centers, operational hospitals, and distribution points for food and water.

Making sure your vehicle has plenty of gasoline is a good idea, as gas may not readily available due to disruptions in the supply chain. Keeping cash with you is also important, as banks and ATMs may be temporarily closed. Following these simple tips plays a crucial role in making your life easier while keeping stress minimum.

Learn More About Staying Safe During a Storm

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3. After a Storm

Understanding hurricane safety is essential for anyone living in Florida. An intense hurricane can cause massive damage to homes and property while also threatening human lives. Many times these damages cost over billions of dollars while significantly disrupting economic activity.

Following hurricane safety guidelines after the storm is over is critical in keeping you and your family safe. Often, you will still be dealing with structural and environmental hazards due to the destructive force of a hurricane. Following a few safety tips in mind is always a good idea in helping you stay safe and avoid an accident.

Structural Hazards

Many times the aftermath of a hurricane will create numerous structural hazards. Downed power lines are always a significant safety concern, as reaching out to the local authorities is essential to report these safety hazards.

If you suspect a gas leak, it is critical to turn off the main gas valve, open all of the windows, and leave your home immediately. Report the gas leak to your gas company, and do not go back to your home until told it is safe to return.

A powerful hurricane can also cause significant damage to your roof and windows. Giving your home a thorough inspection is essential to assess the extent of the loss accurately.

Filing an insurance claim and reaching out to a local contractor for repair work is your safest option. However, you should always be aware of scams from out of town contractors, as price gouging is an all too common problem for areas impacted by a hurricane.

Environmental Hazards

Understanding the various environmental hazards is also essential to hurricane safety. You should never drive or walk through standing water, as it may be much more profound than it appears and may be contaminated with various chemicals.

Mosquitos are another common problem due to the excessive amount of standing water. Keeping your swimming pool maintained and reducing the amount of standing water around your home is critical in reducing mosquito populations. You should only drink from bottled water during the aftermath of a hurricane due to damaged water pipes.

Clean-up Tips

Choosing to wait until daylight is a good idea before you attempt to clean-up after a hurricane. You should also take plenty of photos for insurance claims. Wearing protective clothing, such as waterproof gloves, electrical hazard boots, and a hard hat, is essential for your safety. Looking for signs of water damage and checking out the exterior of your home is vital to assess the damage. The best way to prevent mold growth is to air out your house while also using fans to dry wet areas. You should also make it a priority to disinfect any items that came in contact with floodwater.

Learn More About Steps to Take After a Storm

  • How Many Florida Homes Are Ready for a Hurricane? Too Few

4. Preparing for Future Storms

Hurricanes are always a fact of life for anyone living in Florida. Staying proactive by preparing for future storms is a great way to keep your family safe. Creating a detailed checklist well in advance of a storm will save you a lot of time and make it much easier to follow hurricane safety guidelines.

The Evolution of Hurricane-Safe Homes

Architects and designers continue to use innovative ways to keep homes safe against the massive force of a hurricane. These hurricane-safe homes use various designs, such as square or hexagonal floor plans with multiple slopes on a roof for added protection against the strong winds of a hurricane.

An elevated structure on an open foundation also provides additional protection against flooding. Many homes utilize impact glass doors and windows for the ultimate protection against flying projectiles.

Safety Benefits of Hurricane Windows and Doors

Purchasing impact windows and doors for your home is one of the best investments for homeowners in Florida. These windows and doors are specifically designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane while also using an impact-resistant film to prevent the glass from shattering inside your home.

Impact products also undergo a rigorous testing procedure to ensure you have the best protection against a hurricane. The testing process divides into three areas: air pressure, water penetration, and structural testing. You will have the peace of mind to know that you remain well protected by using impact-resistant windows and doors.

Ancillary Benefits of Hurricane Windows and Doors

Impact windows and doors also include numerous benefits besides giving you state of the art protection from hurricanes. These products are an excellent way to reduce your energy bill each month due to their energy efficiency. Impact windows and doors come designed to reduce outside noise, which is highly beneficial for anyone living near noisy neighbors.

Another benefit of using hurricane windows and doors is that it gives you additional protection against UV light. These UV rays cause your skin to age prematurely and can also cause skin cancer. Fabrics and artwork can also fade due to excessive exposure to sunlight. However, the use of impact windows and doors is a great way to protect yourself from 95% to 99% of all UV light due to the laminated glass. The use of impact windows and doors is also an effective way to prevent break-ins due to their unique design. The two layers of tempered glass create a spider design on impact instead of causing the glass to shatter inside your home.

You can also choose from a variety of styles, as they are an excellent way to boost the curb appeal of your house. Many times you can also receive a reduction on your insurance premium, and various financing options are available.

Learn More Preparing Responsibly for Future Storms

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  • 3 Hurricane Doors For Protecting AND Beautifying Your Home
  • How Hurricane Glass Protects Your Home Compared to Regular Windows

5. Why Partner With Alco Windows & Doors?

Alco Windows and Doors is a family-owned and operated company based in Miami. We are a small business focused on giving homeowners and businesses the best protection against the devastating force of a hurricane.

Our main goal is consistently delivering top-quality work by using state of the art products designed to withstand the strong winds of a hurricane. We have over 200 five-star reviews, as we understand the importance of exceeding the high expectations of each customer.

Always being reliable and professional are core philosophies at Alco Windows and Doors. Satisfaction is guaranteed for each project, as we are a licensed distributor and a professional installer for all major name brands.

Our team of employees has over three decades worth of experience in the industry. We are licensed and insured, as we understand the importance of focusing on safety.

We take pride in always delivering high-quality work, as keeping your business or home safe against a hurricane is our number one priority. We are also happy to answer any of your questions and discuss the many advantages of using impact windows and doors.

We will provide you with a quote at the time of inspection while also providing you a detailed itemized list. Financing options are also available for impact windows and doors. We offer financial services through Ygrene, Renew Financial, and GreenSky Financing , as you can simply fill out a form to determine your eligibility.

Our company understands the importance of communication, as we will keep you well-informed throughout each stage of the process. We will always measure each window and door before we place an order, and we will discuss how you will need to prepare your property before the installation process.

We will cover all of your furniture and flooring during installation to avoid any damages. Once the installation is complete, we will conduct a final walk-through to ensure everything was completed correctly, and you are satisfied with the results.

Making sure each customer is satisfied with our installation of impact windows and doors is always a top priority. We offer a lifetime guarantee for waterproofing, mesh screen repair, and we will cover the costs of any damages during the installation process.

Impact windows and doors are available in numerous designs, as our team of experts can help you find the best style to match your home or business. We work with all major manufacturers in the industry, such as Mr. Glass, Eco Window Systems, and ESWindows.

Contact Alco Windows and Doors

To learn more about the importance of hurricane safety and install safe windows and doors in your home today!

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