How to Prepare
Complete a disaster plan before the chaos of an approaching hurricane to be sure you have time to do it right. The information below and links to resources will assist you in your planning, but how well you do it is up to you. Take the time to prepare ahead, you'll be glad you did.
Here are some things you can do today to prepare for the hurricane season:
- Know Your Zone. Refer to the evacuation maps at Palm Beach County's Emergency Management's website, and locate where you live and your evacuation zone. Determine if and when you would have to evacuate. Remember: All mobile home residents must evacuate, regardless of location.
- Educate yourself by reviewing the information available on Palm Beach County's Hurricane Preparedness website and watching storm preparedness videos from Palm Beach County's Storm Watch Team.
- Decide now where you would go if ordered to evacuate (friend, relative, hotel, out of the region). Only use shelters as a last resort. If you choose to go to a hotel or travel out of the region, you must leave early.
- Palm Beach County has developed a Hurricane Survival Guide (PDF), which includes key information, such as important phone numbers to have on hand, shelter locations,pet safety information, as well as an Emergency Supply Kit that you should pack before June 1. Organize important papers so you can grab them quickly.
- Keep your home in good repair. Tack down loose roofing and siding, and trim dead or broken branches from trees.
- Make improvements needed to increase your home's safety. Do home improvements during the cooler days of the year. Contact a licensed engineer, licensed contractor or architect to inspect your home for structural integrity.
- Make plans and purchase materials to protect your home before the threat of a storm (plywood, window protection, plastic sheeting, nails, etc.).
- Purchase a battery-powered weather alert radio.
- Inventory your property and store the list with insurance and title papers in a safe place, or send a copy to a relative out of the area. Using a video tape is an excellent way to inventory your home.
- Make sure your address is clearly marked on your home.
- Review your insurance policies now, whether you rent or own your home.
While the strength of a hurricane is measured merely by the sustained wind speed, the dangers that hurricanes present include much more than wind damage. Hurricanes combine storm surge, high winds, heavy rains and tornadoes in a powerful and devastating combination.
Storm surge is an abnormal rise in the sea level that can reach up to 100 miles wide. It sweeps along the coast near where the eye of a hurricane makes landfall. This increase in sea level, topped by waves, is the greatest threat to life and property for those living on the coast. Remember: Most hurricane-related deaths are caused by drowning.
Hurricane force winds can destroy buildings and create missiles from loose debris, and these winds can remain at hurricane force well inland. If you do not have to evacuate, remember to secure your home and cover your windows before the storm. Mobile homes are extremely vulnerable to high winds and should be evacuated regardless of location in Palm Beach County.
Torrential rains often in excess of 10 inches can cause destructive floods along the coast and well inland. It is important that you are aware of your flood zone. Remember, your flood zone is not the same as your evacuation zone. Evacuation zones are determined by susceptibility to storm surge. Flood zones are determined by susceptibility to inland flooding from rising groundwater. If your home or street has suffered from flooding in the past, there is a good chance that you are in a flood-prone area. View the Palm Beach County's Flood Zone Information to learn more about flood zones within Palm Beach County.
Hurricanes frequently produce tornadoes, which add to the destructive force of the storm. View the Palm Beach County Tornado Information to learn more information on tornadoes.
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