Although tropical storms are not quite as severe as hurricanes, they can cause similar damage and dangers. Tropical Storm Eta may have missed Stuart, Martin County, and the Treasure Coast this time, but these severe weather events can always cause destructive winds and flooding throughout the state of Florida during hurricane season. When Eta was projected to hit southeastern Florida and the Florida Keys, in fact, weather experts predicted 65 mph winds and up to 12 inches of rain.
Eta reminds us that the key to getting through a hurricane or tropical storm is preparation – and knowing how to cope with the aftermath.
Preparing for a Tropical Storm
The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 every year. If you live in Florida, chances are you live in an at-risk area for hurricanes and tropical storms. As such, you should take steps to prepare for any high winds and flooding that come your way. Make sure you have a basic emergency kit on hand – it should include:
- Water (one gallon per person for 3 days)
- Food (a 3-day supply of non-perishable food)
- A manual can opener
- Extra batteries
- A first aid kit
- Dust masks
- A whistle
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Moist towelettes and garbage bags
- A wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
- Local maps
- Cell phones, chargers, and backup batteries
Once you have the basics, consider items like medication and special supplies for infants, older adults, and pets. You should also have an emergency plan in case you need to evacuate. Know where you will stay, how you will get there, and how you will get in touch with friends and family members. Now is also a great time to review your insurance policies and “hurricane-proof” your home by trimming trees, installing storm shutters, and taking other steps to secure your property.
If you’re expecting a storm, follow weather updates and emergency alerts. If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately.
After the Storm
After a hurricane or tropical storm, you may not have water or power for a few days. Even if your tap water works, it may not be safe to drink. Use bottled water or boil tap water for at least 3 minutes before use. Throw away food that expired due to a lack of refrigeration, as well as any food that may have made contact with flood or storm water.
Stay out of floodwater and wash or sanitize your hands regularly. Stay away from damaged buildings and power lines, and clean up your home safely. Never use wet electrical devices and wait for an electrician to reconnect your power. If you have an emergency generator, make sure you also have a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector.
While you work on getting back to normal after a storm or hurricane, you can also start assessing any damage. If your home was flooded or suffered wind damage, your homeowner’s insurance may cover some of the losses.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC has seen countless hurricane damage claims, and we know how insurance companies can be less than cooperative. If you have suffered property damage during a hurricane, consider recruiting one of our attorneys to help you through the process. In theory, your claim should be paid within 30 days. As you may already know, this does not always happen.
Fortunately, we can help expedite the process and hold insurers accountable when they fail to handle your claim properly.
Whether you have suffered storm damage and want to avoid dealing with insurance companies entirely or you are already dealing with uncooperative insurance agents, please do not hesitate to call us at (866) 675-4427 or contact us online.
We are available 24/7 and ready to help you during a free consultation!