The Time to Start Preparing for Hurricane Season is Now
It is still more than a few months until the start of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, and now is the prime time for residents to review their survival plans. Activities such as outdoor improvements and adding additional bracing to an attic are easier to accomplish in the cooler months.
Some key actions that can be taken now include:
Register for special needs evacuation assistance. Residents with certain qualifying medical conditions can apply for special assistance in the event of a hurricane evacuation. A simple call to Pinellas County Emergency Management at (727) 464-3800, the Pinellas County Health Department at (727) 824-6900 or a local fire department can start the process. Residents needing more advanced medical assistance should work with their physicians to ensure their planning can be in place before the storm winds begin to blow.
Check the envelope. The home’s envelope, to be exact. Are there shutters for the windows? Is the roof in good repair? Is there rot in soffits or fascia? These simple repairs and improvements can make a home more survivable.
Tend to trees. This is an excellent time to check trees for broken, dead or diseased limbs and have them removed. If it has been a while since the last time a tree was pruned, or if the pruning has to take place on high limbs, have a licensed tree trimmer provide an estimate and a plan of action. Trimming trees can be a dangerous activity, and improperly pruned trees tend to fare poorly in high wind situations.
While these preparations are essential for hurricane season, they can also help residents get ready for other hazards, including tornadoes and winter storms, such as the one the Tampa Bay area experienced 20 years ago on March 13 and 14, 1993.
For more information about how to prepare yourself and your family for hurricanes, visit www.pinellascounty.org/emergency to find your evacuation level, learn about storm dangers and discover how to create your own disaster plan.
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