Am I Prepared for Another Irma?

Whether you are a believer or a skeptic of the hype, the simple fact is that hurricane Irma caused massive devastation in Florida, and could have been even worse had the storm shifted in either direction.  While a majority of Floridians only lost power, the damages will still amount into the billions. Our hearts go out to those who were affected by Irma, Harvey and any other storm we may still get hit by this year.  Despite the occasional fake video or misinformation going around, the media did their job of warning people of the potential threat to Florida.  Whether your family stayed or evacuated, the exposures faced could impact the rest of your life.

If you were fortunate enough not be directly impacted by hurricane Irma, hopefully you learned a valuable lesson.  Preparation is the vital, and yet often overlooked, element to survival.  We saw this with the shortages of fuel, water, wood, food, ice, and just about every other essential item.  Long lines on highways, gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores; Irma led to the largest evacuation in US history.  Were you stuck in these lines or on the road?  Did you not have the vital supplies necessary to weather the storm? What did you do after the storm?  

A day before the largest storm in over 100 years is barreling into the Florida coastline and you still don’t know whether to leave or stay.  Does this sound like a familiar scenario?  Many of us did not know if we should stick it out or leave.  Some natives and even lifers (those that travel to Florida and never leave), have heard the hype before and pay no attention to the warnings.  Some believe the media is behind driving people to consume more.  Regardless of your position, the fact is that hurricane force winds will cause substantial damage anywhere and to anything in their path.  Even if the winds don’t directly damage your property, the rising water levels from storm surge and rain could cause irreparable damage.  

For most of us, the good news is that there is time to prepare so that you are not sitting in hour long lines, or worrying if there will be enough water, food, or even shelter for you.  I have devised a helpful anagram to prepare for any disastrous situation.  Stick to the P-L-A-N to keep you and your loved ones safe before, during and after the devastation.

  • Plan – having a plan for an emergency situation sounds obvious, and will save you from wasting precious time. Fire escape plans, hurricane plans, evacuation plans, will all come in handy, but the key is to have them in place prior to needing them.  Knowing what steps to take, who is in charge of what, and where to go will allow you to beat the panic.  While others are running around stressing about what to do, your family will be at ease knowing what, where, and when.  Don’t over complicate the plan.  Keep your plan simple and easy to remember for everyone.  
  • List – A list will not only cut down on wasting time, but you can inventory your supplies to ensure the most effective use of resources.  If you only have a limited amount of water, then record the total amount you have so that you know how long it will last (about 1 gallon of water per day per person is sufficient) and will be able to ration accordingly. Remember, women and children always come first!
  • Assess – it is scientifically proven that when we panic, our brains fail to use the reasoning portion for critical thinking.  This means that under stress, we begin making irrational decisions, which could put you or your family in harm’s way.  Think clearly, and execute quickly.  Listen to the warning messages and take appropriate action, but remember not to panic because you already have a plan and lists in place, so you’re ahead of the game.
  • Neighborly – letting other people know where you will be during the storm not only help give them peace of mind, but it will help the first responders to focus their efforts.  Posting on social media, calling relatives and friends, and telling neighbors your plan will reduce stress for everyone and who knows, maybe your neighbor has a better plan than you do.  If power goes out after the storm and you are not able to reconnect with loved ones right away, try to change your voicemail on your phone to let everyone know your status.  Be kind and lend assistance.  You will have extra time that wasn’t wasted, so use some to help others that did not plan ahead.

Having a plan, also includes making sure you have the right insurance policy in place (before the storm is announced otherwise it could be too late) to protect all of your hard work.  There’s the obvious possessions like your car, home, RV, and business property, that you want protected.  But storms can even bring devastation in ways you did not think.  For instance, maybe you’re A/C, refrigerator, or water heater could not handle the power surge and stopped working.  Or your business may be up and running, but are any of your customers?  How long will your business survive without customers?  What if you work from home and both your house and business were affected?  Don’t leave these questions unanswered!  Speak with a Blankit Insurance professional today to discuss how we can help you PLAN ahead so you’re protected for the future!

Remember, by the time a named Storm is announced, you may only have less than 24 hours to secure an insurance policy before the carriers close down and to stock up on supplies before they are gone. Irma’s lesson to all of us is, don’t wait until the last minute to prepare and keep your family safe.

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