To receive text message updates about Hurricane Matthew from the state emergency response team, Text FLPREPARES to 888777
Here are some last minute tips you can do to mitigate property damage and minimize danger and disruption to family, neighbors and loved ones.
Secure all passports, identification, birth certificates, insurance policies in plastic bags and put them in a safe place.
Secure and brace external doors. Closed doors will help prevent ongoing damaging hurricane winds from entering rooms.
Avoid using wax candles as a source of light because of risk of fire. In the 1980's and 1990's, candle-related deaths from home fires after hurricanes actually caused three times more deaths than the direct impact of the hurricane itself. Please be careful and save the candles for another evening.
Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, sinks, and plastic bottles. Water is the single greatest need following a natural disaster. If your tub is filled with water, you can also use to flush your toilets if the water gets cut off.
If the power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce the power "surge" when electricity is restored.
Be alert for tornadoes which can occur during and after a hurricane passes over. This happened to my Titusville law office in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew.
The safest part of your home is in the interior of the home, on the first floor, away from windows.
For those of you who are new to Florida, please know that the calm in the "eye" of the storm is deceptive. The storm is not over. The worst part of the storm is actually once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Do not go outside.
After the Storm:
Because hurricanes are so unpredictable by nature, property damage may still occur no matter how many precautions you take. It's crucial to take steps as soon as possible after the storm to mitigate any damage. This will help minimize the effects on your home and its actually required pursuant to your insurance policy.
If you have evacuated your home, make sure you perform a thorough inspection to figure out where the damage occurred. If your home is flooded, do not enter your home until you know the power and gas has been shut off. This is extremely important because of risk of electrocution
Contact reputable professionals to assess and repair the damage caused by flooding, wind, fire, or power loss. Water damage is notorious for causing mold growth and/or deterioration of your home's flooring, walls, and furnishings.
This is not the time to save a buck. Always, Always make sure your contractors are Florida licensed, bonded, insured, and are well-established in the industry.
Be aware of the Storm Chasers that will flood into Florida to swindle your reserves from your association. Similar to looting and other crimes that can occur during the aftermath of a natural disaster, unlicensed and unqualified vendors who may seem like "professionals" will pray on victims of storm damage. Please contact us if you need any recommendations. We have longstanding, personal, and trusting relationships with many statewide vendors who can help you restore your home to pre-storm condition quickly, causing less disruption to your daily life.
As we've stated before, don't take your insurance companies estimate of repair at face value. You may be entitled to more money if the insurance company is lowballing you. Know that you are always entitled to independent representation
*Remember - in the event local officials advise evacuating, they truly believe your location is in danger. It is very important to follow their instructions as soon as possible.