Be Prepared This Hurricane Season: Helpful Tips for You and Your Family

July 9, 2018 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Be Prepared This Hurricane Season: Helpful Tips for You and Your Family

Useful Tips and Tricks to Prepare for Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is a yearly event, yet it catches people off guard time and again. Thoughts of I need to... or I'm going to... occur when the local news begins to remind residents to prepare. This year, get proactive; below, we'll explore a few helpful tips for ensuring hurricane season is one of preparedness, rather than panic.

Prepare for Evacuation From a Hurricane

According to the National Hurricane Center, evacuations occur when a storm surge approaches the coastline. The surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. A typical storm surge reaches heights over 20 feet, and covers hundreds of miles of coastlines.

Become familiar with the evacuation route for your immediate area. Conduct a test drive during good weather to avoid panic and confusion during an actual emergency. Evacuation zones apply not just to coastal areas; mobile homes and highrises often face evacuation orders as well.

Keep your car filled with at least half of a tank of gas at all times. Store flares, blankets, and jumper cables in the vehicle.

Carry a list of phone numbers. Landlines and cellular phone systems become overwhelmed during a natural disaster; a list of important numbers is handy for texting, or for use with unfamiliar phones.

Pack a Ready-To-Go Bag for Hurricane Evacuation

Pack a supply bag for each family member. Make sure the bags are easy to carry, and include the following items:

  • Clean clothes
  • Plastic bags
  • Hygiene products
  • Medications/first aid kit
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Personal identification

Other important items are phone chargers, insurance policies, cash and credit cards, or spare keys. Have one gallon of water per person in an easily accessible area near your car.

Protect Your Pets from Hurricane Related Injuries

Hurricane season is a stressful time for everyone, including family pets. Research pet-friendly hotels along the evacuation route. Be sure to pack pet food and extra water. For families unable to travel with their pets, check with local shelters for alternative solutions.

Sheltering in Place During a Hurricane

A hurricane emergency kit is vitally important for riding the storm out at home. Prepare your home by securing the following items in a waterproof container:

  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Whistle signals for help
  • First aid kit
  • Local maps

Turn your refrigerator to its lowest setting, and only open the door when necessary. These steps keep items colder longer in the event of a power outage.

Never use gasoline-powered equipment, generators, charcoal grills, or camp stoves indoors.

Pack an additional kit with clean clothes, water, and blankets for a possible shelter stay. Shelters often run out of supplies. A pre-assembled shelter kit is one more way to stay prepared.

Secure Your Home to Reduce Hurricane Damage 

Regardless of whether you evacuate or stay home, you must protect your home from hurricane-force winds. Loose shingles or siding can quickly become flying hazards during a hurricane. Take stock of outdoor items in need of repair, and fix them well before the season begins. At the moment of a hurricane watch or warning announcement, cover windows with plywood; doing so protects the glass from breakage, and helps prevent rooms from flooding.

Trim or remove dead tree branches and secure outdoor furniture. Inspect gutters for blockage or damage; gutters and downspouts help prevent water damage to underlying property.

Waterproof your basement, and consider adding battery backups to sump pumps.

Review Your Insurance Policies Regarding Hurricane Claims

Review your insurance policy to confirm the types of coverage included. Most standard home and rental policies do not include flood insurance. Adding flood coverage to a policy is an important consideration for hurricane season, and not just for residents along the coastline. Florida residents residing inland can also benefit from flood insurance during hurricane season. Most new policies take 30 days to become active; don't delay if you think a flood could hurt your home.

While reviewing your insurance, take a second look at your car insurance. Whether you evacuate, visit a shelter, or stay home, chances are you will leave a vehicle behind. If the vehicle remains outside, your current policy might not cover the damages. Comprehensive coverage can help abate the cost of damages caused by a hurricane; discuss your policy with your insurance agent.

Proof of Ownership in a Hurricane Insurance Claim

In addition to personal identification, make copies of documents proving home, auto, and watercraft ownership. Attach pictures with the documentation. Insurance companies deal with many claims after a hurricane—generally, the better the documentation, the smoother the process. Videos are generally better than pictures when documenting your houses integrity before a hurricane as well as documenting your personal belongings. Be sure to get the exact information on any personal belongings you are wary of losing so that an exact value for compensation can be determined. You don't want to give an insurance company any leeway when they determine value because they will always go for the least amount of payout as possible.

Hurricane Watch Versus Hurricane Warning

Understand the difference between a hurricane watch and a warning.

  • Hurricane watches typically mean conditions are possible within 48 hours.
  • Hurricane warning typically mean conditions are expected within 36 hours.
  • Stay up-to-date by subscribing to local alerts via email or text message.

After the Hurricane

According to, a significant number of people are injured or killed while cleaning up after a hurricane. Staying safe during clean up by following these steps:

  • Do not enter a building until it is inspected. Types of damage include electrical, broken glass, and gas lines, and must be verified by a professional before entering.
  • Do not wade in flood waters. Flood water sometimes contains broken glass, sewage, or gasoline.
  • Do not use electrical equipment if standing in water or if it is wet.

Stay safe no matter how anxious you feel about seeing your home. Hidden dangers, such as downed electrical wires, are serious hazards to you and your loved ones; remember, property can always be replaced.

Clearwater, Florida, Personal Injury Law Firm

Beautiful weather is a major draw for Florida residents and tourists. However, the Sunshine State can experience the wrath of Mother Nature come hurricane season. The Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA urges Clearwater residents to plan and prepare; hurricane season can bring property damage, bodily harm, or even death. Properly prepared Floridians can help protect loved ones and neighbors alike.

No one should experience pain and suffering due to another person's lack of preparation. If you or a loved one experience injury or loss of a loved one due to someone's negligence during hurricane season, call (727) 451-6900 to schedule a free consultation, or contact us online.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, Florida 33765 727-451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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