South Florida Hurricane Preparedness Plan

In South Florida, hurricanes are not just a possibility, but a recurring threat. Being prepared can significantly reduce risks and help you manage the impact more effectively. This guide provides comprehensive information on understanding hurricane stages, creating a robust hurricane preparedness plan, handling power outages, and safeguarding your home, specifically with impact windows and doors. Additionally, we’ll provide invaluable tips and resources from the State of Florida to ensure you and your loved ones remain safe.

Understanding Hurricanes: Categories and Destructive Potential

Hurricanes are categorized into five stages based on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which estimates potential property damage based on the hurricane’s wind speed:

  1. Category 1 (74-95 mph): Although considered less severe, these hurricanes can cause significant damage to unanchored mobile homes, vegetation, and poorly constructed signs. Minor coastal flooding and pier damage are also common.
  2. Category 2 (96-110 mph): With increased wind strength, these hurricanes can lead to extensive roof and siding damage to residential homes, considerable damage to road signs, trees, and fences, and potential power losses that could last from several days to weeks.
  3. Category 3 (111-129 mph): This is where hurricanes start to become devastating. Expect structural damage to small residences and utility buildings, especially those not crafted with hurricane-resistant materials. The flooding of low-lying escape routes could cut off inland movements.
  4. Category 4 (130-156 mph): Catastrophic damage occurs at this level, with severe impacts on the structural integrity of homes. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted, power poles downed, and residential areas isolated due to fallen debris, necessitating massive evacuations.
  5. Category 5 (157 mph and higher): The highest category brings about absolute devastation. High percentages of homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. The area may be uninhabitable for weeks or months afterwards.

Developing a Hurricane Prep Plan

Effective preparation can significantly mitigate the risks associated with hurricanes. Here’s how you can prepare:

Pre-Season Preparation:

  1. Home Safety Inspections: Early in the season, inspect your home for vulnerabilities. Ensure that your home adheres to local building codes that enhance hurricane resistance, particularly the installations of roofs, windows, and doors.
  2. Emergency Supplies: Assemble an emergency kit that includes at least a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food per person, medications, a first-aid kit, flashlights, extra batteries, and critical documents in waterproof containers.

Immediate Preparations When a Hurricane Approaches:

  1. Stay Informed: Continuous monitoring of weather updates is crucial. Utilize apps and battery-operated weather radios.
  2. Secure Your Property: Clear your yard of potential flying debris, use storm shutters, and reinforce garage doors. Installation of impact windows and doors should be a priority to protect against the high winds and flying debris.
  3. Evacuation Plan: Know your local evacuation routes and have a plan in place for where you will stay. Ensure your car’s gas tank is full and you have emergency supplies ready to take with you.

What to Do If You Lose Power

Power outages are a common consequence of hurricanes. Here’s how to manage:

  1. Avoid Open Flames: Use battery-operated flashlights and lanterns instead of candles to minimize fire risks.
  2. Maintain Food Safety: Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A closed refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours, and a full freezer will maintain its temperature for about 48 hours.
  3. Safe Generator Use: If you use a generator, never operate it inside the home or garage, and keep it away from windows and doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

What To Expect When You Lose Power

Losing power during a hurricane is a common and challenging occurrence for many households. Understanding what to expect and preparing in advance can greatly mitigate the stress and potential hazards associated with power outages. Here’s a detailed look at what typically happens and how you can prepare:

  1. Loss of Lighting and Electrical Appliances: The immediate and most noticeable impact of a power outage is the loss of lighting and the inability to use electrical appliances. This includes everything from refrigerators and ovens to air conditioners and electronic devices. It’s essential to have alternative lighting sources such as flashlights, battery-operated lamps, or even solar-powered lights ready. Avoid using candles due to the fire risk, especially during a storm.
  2. Communication Challenges: With no power, charging mobile devices becomes a challenge, which can hinder communication with friends, family, and emergency services. Keeping portable chargers or power banks fully charged before the storm hits is crucial. Consider investing in a solar charger or a hand-crank radio that includes a built-in charger for mobile devices.
  3. Food and Water Safety: The absence of refrigeration can lead to food spoilage. It’s important to consume perishable food within the first few hours of a power outage or to have a plan for storing it in a cooler with ice. Stock up on non-perishable food items that require no cooking. Also, municipal water treatment facilities may be affected, so ensure you have a sufficient supply of bottled water or fill bathtubs and containers with water for sanitation purposes.
  4. Impact on Cooling Systems: The lack of cooling systems can be uncomfortable or even dangerous. Plan for adequate clothing and bedding to keep cool, and use battery-operated fans, stay hydrated, and keep windows covered to stay cool in hot conditions.
  5. Health and Safety Risks: Electrically powered medical devices are a concern during power outages. If someone in your home relies on such a device, have a backup power solution ready or plan for an alternative location with power. Furthermore, be cautious of the increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from improper use of generators or grills indoors.
  6. Economic Impact: Extended power outages can lead to economic strain due to loss of perishable goods, potential home damage, and other unexpected expenses. It’s beneficial to have some emergency funds set aside for these situations.

With these in mind, you can minimize the disruption caused by a power outage during a hurricane, ensuring the safety and comfort of everyone in your home.

Protecting Your Home with Impact Windows and Doors

Impact-resistant windows and doors are critical in hurricane zones. They are designed to withstand flying debris and extreme pressures, which can help prevent structural breaches that would significantly increase damage during a hurricane. These installations not only offer enhanced protection but also come with additional benefits like noise reduction, UV protection, and potential savings on insurance premiums.

Benefits of Impact WindowsHurricane Protection:

Impact windows and doors offer a number of benefits

  1. Hurricane Protection: Our products are engineered to withstand the toughest conditions, from hurricanes to break-ins, giving your family peace of mind 24/7.
  2. Burglar Resistant: The security that new impact products will provide will help prevent a burglar from breaking into and entering your family’s home. Law enforcement officials claim that proper installation of these products reduces break-ins by over 95%.
  3. Insurance Savings: Insurance savings on your annual totals can be discounted by as much as 50%. For the average property owner this can amount to saving thousands of dollars in just the first year for your family.
  4. Energy Savings: Reduce your family’s environmental footprint with the installation of impact windows and doors. Our impact products can save you up to 30% on your energy bills.
  5. Noise Reduction: Reduce noises from everyday things such as vehicles on the road, lawn care, maintenance workers, planes, and other neighbors etc.
  6. Increase Property Value: Impact windows and doors further improve the functionality and aesthetic of your family’s home. This will support the increase in property values which positively impacts the entire community.

If you’re looking for impact windows and doors, trust in Broward Impact

Impact Windows and Doors Are Better Than…

  1. Standard Windows and Doors: Unlike impact-resistant versions, standard windows and doors lack the reinforced frames and special laminated glass designed to resist shattering upon impact. They can easily break under the pressure of strong winds or flying debris, posing significant risks to the interior of the home and its occupants.
  2. Plywood Coverings: While plywood is a popular choice for emergency storm protection due to its affordability and availability, it is less effective and more labor-intensive. Plywood must be manually installed each time a storm approaches and does not provide a permanent solution. It also does not offer the same level of protection, as it can fail under extreme conditions and does not seal the building envelope against water and wind.
  3. Corrugated Metal Panels: These can provide a degree of protection against debris but are cumbersome to install and remove. They also require storage space when not in use and can be aesthetically unpleasing. Unlike impact windows, which are designed to blend seamlessly with the home’s architecture, metal panels can detract from the visual appeal of the property.
  4. Fabric-Based Storm Panels: These panels, made from high-strength fabric, are designed to be easier to handle than metal panels. However, they still require installation for each storm and do not provide the same level of rigidity and protection as impact-resistant glass. While they can stop debris and reduce wind pressure, they do not offer the insulation and noise reduction benefits of impact windows.

Additional Tips for Comprehensive Preparation

  1. Document Valuables: Use a smartphone or camera to take pictures or videos of your home and valuable items. Store these digitally in a secure location.
  2. Review Insurance: Make sure your home insurance is up-to-date and covers hurricane-related damages. Understand your policy and ensure it reflects the current value of your home and possessions.

State of Florida Resources

  1. Florida Division of Emergency Management ( Offers comprehensive resources on disaster preparedness, including tailored advice for hurricane readiness.
  2. Florida 511 System: Provides real-time traffic information on evacuations and road closures.
  3. County Emergency Management Offices:
  4. Broward County
  5. Palm Beach County
  6. Miami-Dade County
  7. Florida Department Of Health Emergency Preparedness