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Finances, Bug-Out Bags, and Staying Sane Before Hurricanes

June through November marks hurricane season in Florida.  Although we’re off to a quiet start, now is the time to prepare your family and home. Keep reading for tips, tricks, and resources to get ready for hurricane season.

Before the Storm 

  • Review all of your insurance policies to fully understand how each policy protects your home, car, or other personal property. Familiarize yourself with the claims process, as some policies require you to document the “before” condition of the item. There will be a high volume of claims coming in after the storm; maximum preparation beforehand will help you get your claims fulfilled as quickly as possible!
  • Set up automatic payments for recurring bills, as internet, power, and snail mail could be out for extended periods of time. Consider that you may be out of work for a few days when planning monthly budgets. Plan for additional fees including repairs or yard cleanup. Learn more about planning for finances during a natural disaster by reading this article from the Penny Hoarder.
  • Keep yourself up-to-date on the hurricane’s movements through NOAA’s National Hurricane Center. The website is updated every four hours. Know your flood zone and pay attention to local news to see if your zone has been issued an evacuation order. 
  • Make sure your first aid kit is up-to-date and nothing is expired. Include items like sunscreen, bug spray, and hand sanitizer. Click on this link to access a first aid and non-prescription drug checklist, created by Get Ready, Florida! and the Fair Foundation. Fill prescriptions in advance. 
  • To reduce your reliance on plastic, use containers you already have as water jugs. Prepare at least three days’ worth for everyone in your family using water from your faucet or filter.
  • Stock up on hurricane-friendly food that can be safely stored without refrigeration. Check the labels to ensure quality nutrition and low sodium levels. Don’t forget your family’s favorite comfort foods!
  • Pack an emergency go-bag (sometimes called a bug-out bag) with the above listed items including copies of birth certificates, insurance policies, and other family documents. This bag should be packed, zipped, and ready to go should you need to leave immediately.
  • If you have a pet, make sure you’re stocked up on supplies. Do not leave your pet at home if you need to evacuate. Hundreds of pets went missing during Hurricane Florence. Do your research on pet-friendly evacuation facilities, including hotels.
  • Lastly, keep you and your household sane with entertainment that doesn’t require power, such as board games, cards, or books!

While this list may seem exhausting, preparation is key to stay safe during a natural disaster. Curious about how hurricanes form? Visit this article from NOAA to learn about the science surrounding the storms.