Now, in late May, we are approaching another season when disasters seem to rear their ugly head in epic proportions each year. Hurricane season rapidly nears and if you live here in Florida, hurricanes are always the most likely source of disaster although tornadoes can be deadly as well, just not as widespread in scope here. And with the opening of the season next week, it's time to make the preparations that will make life livable if impacted. It only takes one hit to really change your life.
First, of course, is to make sure you have insurance. If you are on a mortgage, the bank will require that, but it is amazing to find the number who own a home in full and have lapsed insurance to save money. You can bet these people, however, when hit with a disaster will be begging for help. It likely won't be available, at least not to the degree to put their life as they've known it back in place. And you can't wait until the last minute to get it (like Obamacare) because it must be fully in force ahead of any possible projections of a storm in your area. Don't forget to evaluate your possible need for flood insurance as well. Your general policy doesn't cover everything.
Second, do what you can to avoid putting yourself in this situation. Plenty of data is available on variations in land and past experience with such things as flood, hurricanes, tornadoes. While you can't avoid all possible disaster areas, you can hedge your bets. Coastal and low lying areas are particularly vulnerable to hurricanes and floods, check things out accordingly. If you are in a coastal location, make your home as "seaworthy" as you possibly can.
Have an evacuation plan with an emergency supply kit, and leave if you fear your home itself is more dangerous as a "hunker down" place than another option. If you plan to stay where you are, however, it is highly likely in a major event that you will be on your own for three to five days before help is forthcoming. In such case, make a list of needed items and procure them in advance, including emergency non-perishable food, medical supplies for first aid, bottled water or a purification kit, and flashlights, portable radios, batteries and chargers. Also include such things as tarps, basic tools and duct tape, mosquito netting and appropriate clothing which are a must. In my own family, we even keep a large cattle trough full of water with a chlorine floater for makeshift showers in the crunch. Trust me, you don't want to spend multiple days powerless in Florida without this capability, and this is particularly critical if you are on a well.
Having personally been through a number of hurricanes where we were unreachable for days, both here and in the Tidewater region to the north, we were able to maintain a reasonable level of comfort despite numerous power outages. If you have a power generator, so much the better, but it might be prohibited in times of longer term usage without a major acceptable fuel storage tank.
Whether you are here in Florida where preparations should be maintained at all times by citizens, or in a lesser likely target area, plan anyway. For when disaster strikes, and it can do so very suddenly anywhere and at anytime, then it is too late. Make it easy on yourself. Get ready and you, too, will survive the storm with only some inconvenience. We can all live with that.