Floridians are no strangers to extreme weather conditions. From the brutal humidity and super-hot temperatures to severe summer storms and hurricanes—we know disaster can strike.
Read on to learn how to prepare yourself and your property so you’re ready for whatever heat, wind, and water come your way the rest of this year.
Protect Yourself & Your Home Against the Heat
First, let’s talk about heat. According to climate models tracking weather patterns, this year could be one of the hottest on record. Wear your SPF clothing, sunscreen, hat, and glasses when outdoors to protect your skin from sun damage and cancer risks.
Increase your water intake during the summer months to stay hydrated, avoid sitting in parked cars, and try to stay indoors or in the shade during the hottest hours of the day — which is typically noon to 4 PM. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and know what to do in case of emergency.
Now is the time to contact a trusted HVAC company to check your air conditioning unit to make sure it’s functioning well. You certainly don’t want it to break down in the summer. We recommend changing your air filters inside the house every 30 to 60 days to prolong the life of your unit and help it run efficiently. Also consider switching to a programmable thermostat to save on energy costs.
For an extra boost of cool air, many companies sell portable units. While it doesn’t take the place of a central HVAC system (because it doesn’t cool the whole house), a portable unit is a great option for cooling a single room or smaller space. They’re cost-effective, easy to install, and require no permanent installation. And it could be a lifesaver if your main unit breaks during the heat and you have to wait for it to be repaired or replaced.
If you need HVAC help and don’t know who to call, contact Straight Line Construction for a local recommendation with a licensed professional you can trust to offer quality and timely customer service.
Prep Your Home for the Rainy Season
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) thinks there will be somewhere between 12 and 17 named storms this hurricane season, which started June 1 and runs to November 30, 2023. And of these storms, “5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or higher).”
The good news is that this prediction by NOAA conforms to their expectation for this hurricane season to be less active than those of recent years. Still, it helps to be prepared for whatever might happen. In Florida, our regular summer thunderstorms can be severe enough to cause damage.
It’s a good idea to check around the house for branches or trees that could be a problem. If the limbs are near the roof, trim them. If the branches or trees are weak or dead, they could topple with high winds or heavy rains. Clear out your roof gutters so water drains well, and remove any yard art or debris that could become a projectile in high wind.
Be Ready for Hurricanes in Florida
It’s important to have an evacuation plan just in case. Like they say — better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. And the Red Cross reminds us that “mobile/manufactured/trailer homes and recreational vehicles (RVs) cannot provide safe shelter from tropical-storm or hurricane-force winds.”
Know where you will go, how you will get there, and where you will stay. If you are planning to leave your home, there are things you can do to protect your property while you’re gone such as taking inventory of valuables and moving to higher ground anything that might rust or corrode. Learn more from this article by Consumer Reports.
If you choose not to evacuate, the Red Cross advises that you prepare to shelter safely and “practice going to a designated safe shelter for high winds. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room in a sturdy building on the lowest level that is not likely to flood. And be ready to live without power, water, gas, phone, and internet for a long time.”
Storm Readiness Items to Keep on Hand
According to Ready.gov, your emergency items should be stored in airtight plastic bags and kept in one or two easy-to-carry bags. They also recommend that your basic supply items include the following:
- Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
- Food (at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food)
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
- Manual can opener (for food)
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
It’s a good idea to also prepare any prescription medications, important family documents and bank account information, activities for children if you have a family, as well as any baby items or pet items you might need to care for your loved ones.
The main thing is to have a plan to stay safe — and to stay safe.