Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Get started now, before storm season begins

Here's a checklist of things to start working on now to prepare for hurricane season. We offer more details in this section on many of these topics: window protection, documents to set aside, insurance, the gear and food you'll want to have ready.

• Start planning how you will protect your windows and doors. Shop for window protection (shutters, screens, rolldowns). If you decide to go the plywood route, buy it now, cut it to size, predrill holes and label the pieces. Learn how to protect your garage door.

• Repair to prepare. If your home needs a new roof, if the siding needs repair, if the chimney needs repointing, if the soffits need replacing — wait no longer. Clean out gutters and downspouts and keep them clear. Check your roof for overflow drainage so there's no pooling of heavy rain, especially on flat roofs.

• Plan how you will survive in your home for some time without power. If you think you will want a generator, buy it now and learn how to use it. If you don't know how to use a chain saw to cut down damaged trees, learn now.

• Find and read your insurance policy. Discuss with your agent whether you have sufficient coverage. Do you need flood insurance? Have you added window protection that will trigger a rebate or reduction in rates?

• Compile the important paperwork and a few irreplaceable items you will take with you when you leave the house. Place these items in an easy-to-carry, waterproof box.

• Prepare an inventory of your home's contents. Include receipts if available. Take photos (burn a CD, put on a flash drive or store remotely) or make a video to support an insurance claim.

• Learn how to secure your home if you have to leave, including where and how to turn off power, gas and water. Several family members should know how to do this in case everyone is not at home when an evacuation is called.

• Start stockpiling the materials you will need to make emergency repairs: tarps, duct tape, plywood, tools. Power may be out when the storm passes, so plan to use charged cordless tools or hand tools.

• Have trees trimmed to eliminate dead branches that could become missiles or could damage power lines. Have dead or rotting trees removed.

• Condo and homeowners associations should plan how to secure property in case of a storm, compile contact information for residents who evacuate or spend the summer elsewhere, and create a plan for emergency board meetings.

• Make a family communications plan. If you have only cordless and cell phones, get a land line that plugs into a phone jack in the wall. This may be your best option if the power goes out and cellular towers are damaged. Designate an out-of-state relative as a contact point and establish a family phone tree.

• Begin to stockpile items you'll need: a radio, flashlights and plenty of batteries for both; a grill to cook on, plus fuel; a first aid kit.

• Pick up a few items for the hurricane pantry every time you shop: bottled water, canned meats and fish, canned fruit, individual-serving puddings, powdered milk, toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, liquid soap, plastic bags, bleach.

Get started now, before storm season begins 05/16/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Insurance regulators fret over a spike in auto glass claims


    TALLAHASSEE — Three months ago, state regulators weren't tracking a surge in broken auto glass claims, particularly in Tampa Bay.

    The issue has their attention now.

    The Office of Insurance Regulation is taking on assignment of benefits abuse in the 2018 legislative session. Pictured is Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier. | [Times file photo]
  2. Rick Baker lowers expectations before St. Pete mayoral primary


    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Baker officially lowered expectations in the mayoral race on Tuesday, saying his “battle for the future of the city” against Mayor Rick Kriseman might last until November.

    Baker has consistently led in local polls and fundraising totals this summer. But at a fundraiders …

    Rick Baker addresses supporters on Beach Drive Tuesday
  3. What you need to know for Wednesday, Aug. 23


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, who grew up in Dade City, rose to prominence after creating the beat to "Swag Surfin'," a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today.
  4. Drawing nears for Powerball jackpot that's climbed to $700 million


    DES MOINES, Iowa — The estimated jackpot for Wednesday night's Powerball lottery game has climbed to $700 million, making it the second-largest in U.S. history.

    The estimated jackpot for the Powerball lottery drawing on Aug. 23, 2017, has climbed to $700 million, making it the second-largest in U.S. history. [Associated Press]
  5. 'Swag Surfin' producer: 'It's very weird… they're still playing the song' eight years later

    Music & Concerts


    Kevin Erondu doesn't often go to night clubs. Yet, across America, he drives people to the dance floor. He's 31 years old, but he still has the ear of college students, and while he's no pro athlete, they leap to their feet when he joins them in the gym.

    Originally from Dade City, music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, rose to prominence after creating the beat to Swag Surfin’, a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today.