Sub-Tropical Storm Alberto was our first taste for what may be a fairly busy season for storm watchers this year. The memories of Hurricane Irma are still fresh in our minds as many condominium complexes, businesses and homeowners continue their work on their recovery efforts from last September’s storm.
As we look towards the 2018 season we should all be aware of making the appropriate preparations should we need to once again prepare for another similar storm.
Some of that preplanning should be done now and not put off until the last moment, especially for those that are still here. These are but a few of the items that should be considered regardless of whether you intend to stay for the summer or consider leaving and traveling in the off-season.
Review your insurance policies with your agent. Understanding the scope and issues that are covered are extremely important. Deductibles, reviewing what is covered and what isn’t, are extremely important. Do you rent that property? If so, is loss of income covered in your policy? You need to make a list of questions to insure your property is adequately protected and you have no surprises should another storm impacts us. You should also make sure you have a copy of your policies with you to take should evacuation be required.
If you are leaving for an extended period of time you should secure your storm shutters and move all your outdoor furniture to a secure area. Understand that a “home watch” service is not responsible for securing your residence. They are not required to take in furniture, secure shutters to your home or accomplish other such duties, unless of course you have that written into your contract.
- Make sure your water and all non-essential electrical circuits are shut off. You would not want to shut off air conditioning. Your refrigerator and freezer should not be left full of perishable items. Some areas on Marco had 10 days without power after the last storm, due to damage to the infrastructure.
- If you are leaving for the summer you might consider saran wrapping the toilets to insure no evaporation of water from the bowls and drying out of the seals after turning off the water to the home or condo.
- Visit the city’s website at www.cityofmarcoisland.com and click on the icon for Code Red. There you can sign up for this wonderful service that will advise you and your family of necessary updates during island wide emergencies.
- If you have a boat and it is on a lift behind your home please take the time to secure it properly. Remove all loose items and store all canvas and cushions. Raise the boat to a proper height to avoid being impacted by storm surge and securely tie it down. If you are confident the storm surge will be below the raised height of the boat remove your drain plugs so as to not overload your bilge pumps and minimize the weight that the excess water will cause, and damage to your lift.
- Should the county and city order an evacuation of the island, do so and without delay. Have a plan in place for both yourselves and your pets. Put together a “go-bag” with the necessary medications and important paperwork you will need, include chargers for cellphones and other electronic devices you are taking with you. Secure other important paperwork in watertight containers to prevent their destruction should your home be impacted and they have been left behind.
- Portable generators, should you use one, should never be run inside a garage or a home. They should be positioned well away from doors and windows to insure you will not be impacted by carbon monoxide poisoning. The same goes for cooking on a gas grill inside. All grills must be placed outside a residence or garage.
- If you have a house generator spend the money to have it serviced each year to insure it will fire up when necessary.
- It is much better to be prepared, than be scurrying around hours before the approach of a storm with no plan in place.
- The area can also be impacted by other severe storms throughout the year. An adequate supply of flashlights, batteries and other sources of illumination are very important to always have on hand. A spare propane tank might also be a good idea for your outdoor grill should we lose power during the summer for an extended period of time. You’ll be able to cook and boil water on your grill until power is restored. . In addition to those items, a supply of fresh water should also be kept available should it be needed.
- Preparation is key to survival and minimizing the effects of any storms or other events that might impact us here where we live. There is no way we can speak to all of the contingencies regarding storm preparation, but we hope these points are helpful.
The City of Marco Island will be holding a Hurricane Preparedness Seminar on Friday, June 22 at 5 PM where you can learn a number of important facts and information that will help you with your plans. Please attend to insure you are one of the prepared and informed residents this year.
Stay abreast of all breaking news from the Greater Marco Island area by visiting Coastal Breeze News on our website www.coastalbreeezenews.com and Facebook page.