What to do Before Hurricane Season Begins

To successfully navigate the unpredictable hurricane season, certain issues need to be addressed before the season even starts. Don't wait until a storm threatens- a little planning early on relieves a lot of stress later if a hurricane does strike.

Basic Preparations

 

  1. Eliminate possible hazards around your home and work area. Trim dead wood
    from trees, repair loose shutters and gutters.
     
  2. If possible install storm shutters, stock up on plywood, nails, and other items
    needed to protect your windows during the storm.
     
  3. Build and inspect a hurricane survival kit and re-supply as necessary.
     
  4. Have your vehicle inspected and prepared for possible long trips in case of an
    evacuation order.
     
  5. Locate homeowners insurance and other important papers and place in a central
    location stored in plastic zip type bags.

 

Review, Understand, and Update Your Insurance Policy

 

Do I need flood and windstorm coverage?

Standard homeowner’s policies DO NOT cover flood damage, defined as “a temporary
condition during which water partly or completely covers the surface of normally dry
land.” You should carefully check special maps, called FIRM maps, kept by the Manatee
County Building Department that show floodplains. If you live in a flood-prone area,
contact your agent about obtaining flood insurance. You may qualify for the National
Flood Insurance Program.

WARNING: This process involves a 30-day waiting period between the time you purchase the insurance and the time it takes effect.

Some homeowner’s policies cover damage caused directly by wind or hail, while others
don’t. A careful review of your policy can show whether it includes this coverage. Your
coverage may be placed through the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association
(FWUA).

WARNING: Insurance companies do not accept new applications or requests to increase you coverage once a hurricane reaches a certain distance from Florida.

What does my policy cover and exclude?

Standard homeowners’ policies usually limit coverage on valuables such as jewelry,
silverware, guns, antiques, boats and other items. You should also check the deductible
amounts contained in your policy. All policies include deductibles for “perils” or causes
of possible loss such as fire, hurricane, hail, etc.

The “Hurricane Insurance Affordability and Availability Act” offers a broad range of
deductibles for homeowners to choose. For more information, review your policy and
other materials sent by your company.

Will my policy pay “replacement cost” or “actual cash value” for a covered loss?


Most insurance on the contents of your home (i.e. personal belongings) is written on an
actual cash value basis. You should keep receipts when you buy high-value items such as
televisions, computers, stereos, etc. You may need this information to verify original
purchase dates and price.

What about additional living expenses?


The additional living expense feature of most homeowners policies pays some expenses
for covered losses that leave homes so damaged that residents can’t live there during
repairs. Such expenses could include limited motel, restaurant and warehouse-storage
costs. Keep all receipts during this period. This feature does NOT apply to flood
insurance.

Manatee County sometimes issues a mandatory evacuation order which affects thousands
of residents. Some wonder if this coverage applies when neighboring homes are damaged
but yours is not and the County won’t allow re-entry to the area. Most policies will
provide coverage when a civil authority prohibits the use of a residence due to direct
damage to neighboring homes by a covered threat.

What else can I do to prepare?

Make an itemized inventory of your belongings including costs, purchase dates and serial
numbers. Attach receipts to the inventory sheet.

What about policy changes?

If you want to make policy changes, do so before the hurricane season.

Have I written down the name of my insurance company, policy and phone numbers?

The name of your insurance company may differ from that of your agent, agency or
underwriter.

How can I safeguard my records?

Keep a copy of your important insurance records in a safe deposit box or with a relative
or friend. You should also include inventory records phone numbers, videos and photos
of your property along with your important personal documents like marriage, divorce,
birth and death certificates.

 

Plan for Your Pets

 

Make sure your pets have current immunizations and take these records with you if you need to evacuate. If you plan to go to a motel, determine in advance whether pets are welcome and what special rules may apply. See if your veterinarian will accept your pet for boarding in an emergency.

All pets should have secure carriers, or collapsible cages. Carriers should be large enough for the pets to stand comfortably and turn around. Familiarize your pets with the carrier ahead of time.  The carrier will be a secure and comforting refuge if the animal is required to live in it for days or weeks after the storm.
 

Develop a pet survival kit:

  • Proper ID collar and rabies license tag
  • Carrier or cage
  • Water and food bowls
  • Medications
  • Food supply to last about 2 weeks
  • Newspapers/plastic bags for waste disposal
  • Toys and comfort items
  • Muzzles, if necessary
  • Manual can opener
  • Proper ID on all belongings

Arrange for a safe place to stay with your pets. Remember to develop a plan now. Review your family plan and restock your family disaster supplies too!

Do not leave your pet in your home or tied outside your home while you leave for a shelter. Do not leave your pets in vehicles while you are housed in a shelter.

 

Residents with Special Medical Needs

 

The Special Needs Program is designed to provide hurricane evacuation assistance to
individuals who have no alternative for transportation or shelter from the storm.

If a hurricane threatens Manatee County and you are pre-registered as a eligible
Special Needs Client, a representative will call you to confirm your transportation need.
The County will attempt to provide transportation to a emergency public shelter only.
Manatee County has very limited resources and when possible you should make your
own transportation and sheltering arrangements.

The following information is provided to explain Special Needs eligibility requirements.
If you feel you are eligible, download and print the application at the bottom of this page (or contact Manatee County Emergency Management for a copy), complete it, and mail it to the Emergency Management Office.

Group evacuation of a nursing home, adult living facility or other similar facility is
the sole responsibility of the facility's management. Non-emergency transportation is
your responsibility.

Special Needs Eligibility

Any Manatee County resident whose physical condition, based on triage criteria,
requires special care but does not require an acute care setting, and who fits into any of
the following categories, regardless of age, is eligible.
 

  1. Unable to administer their own frequently required or daily injectable medications.
  2. Requires frequent or daily dressing changes due to moderate to copious
    drainage, such as ulcers, fistulas, etc.
  3. Needs assistance with ostomy management and indwelling catheters such as
    N/G Tubes, colostomy bags, etc.
  4. Requires frequent assessment of potentially unstable medical condition by
    medical personnel.
  5. Cardiac or respiratory conditions which require special medical equipment such
    as monitors oxygen, IPPB machines, etc.
  6. Terminal Illness, non-bedridden, in need of professional assistance in
    administering heavy doses of pain medication.
  7. All others deemed necessary by triage team.

Special Needs Ineligibility

Those whose conditions do not warrant admittance to the Assisted Care Shelter.
 

  1. Needs hemodialysis procedures more than two (2) times per week. Individuals
    receiving such procedures should inquire at their hemodialysis facility regarding
    their emergency policy.
  2. High-risk pregnancy within four (4) weeks of estimated date of delivery or in
    active labor. Those with normal pregnancy should get instructions from their
    obstetricians.
  3. Is in acute medical or emergency condition.
  4. Has a known or suspected infectious/contagious disease.
  5. Any bedridden patient.

 

Construct a Hurricane Kit

This is a list of recommended items in a hurricane kit.  It can be difficult to find some of these items immediately prior to a hurricane due to high demand, so it is best to begin preparing a hurricane kit early.

 

  • Bottled Water
  • Battery-operated Radio
  • Extra Batteries
  • Ear Phone for the Radio
  • Flashlight
  • Florida State Road Map
  • Dry (Powder) Beverages
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medication for 30 Days
  • Personal Phone Book
  • Toiletries
  • Baby Food
  • Non-perishable (can) Foods
  • Plastic Eating Utensils
  • Extra Work Clothing
  • Personal Hygiene Items
  • Bedding Material
  • Pillows
  • Playing Cards
  • Magazines and Books
  • Items for Young Children