Right now, Florida is breathing a huge sigh of relief after Hurricane Irma. Florida is lucky that it got out of this storm with minimal damage. It could have been much worse, and we all know it. Sure, some of us lost power and/or water for a few days, and some of us had some landscaping damage, but overall, we are very thankful.
Hurricane Irma seems to have been a good “hurricane fire drill” that we all needed.
A bad hurricane has not hit Florida in a while, and we know we are due. However, many people don’t take it seriously when a hurricane is coming, or they are ill-prepared.
Now that the dust has settled, it is important to think about what we learned from this hurricane.
What can we do better new time?
Many people realized that they didn’t have sufficient hurricane protection. Hurricanes happen in Florida, and people need to prepare their homes better. Hurricane protection can be expensive, but it is a necessary upgrade to your home, not a cosmetic one. If you have the choice to either upgrade your hurricane protection or upgrade your kitchen, your hurricane protection should come first. I know it isn’t the most glamorous or exciting upgrade, but it is the best one for your safety. There are different price points for different protection types, from aluminum to accordion to impact glass. Some cities offer programs (an example would be the Pace program) and some companies even offer financing. Every year, you should test your shutters to make sure they all are operational.
Roof leaks seem to be the biggest issue regarding home damage from Hurricane Irma. Roofs don’t last forever and people need to be more aware of that. I often talk to sellers who have no idea how old their roof is or get surprised when I tell them that at 25 years, their roof might not pass an inspection or be able to get insurance. Roofs in Florida can last on average anywhere from 15-30 years due to heavy rain and the hot sun. Roofs that are well maintained and monitored will last longer.
If you have a roof older than 10 years, you should have a roofer do a yearly checkup. Also, check with your insurance company to see how long they insure roofs for. They may not insure roofs after 25 years or they might require you to change the roof to get insurance.
Roofs can be expensive, but there is a reason roofs have life expectancies or insurance companies don’t want to insure roofs after a certain age. Roofs protect your home, and if they are past their life expectancy, it’s in your best interest to get a new one.
What’s your Plan?
I always find it interesting how people who have lived in South Florida for years, never think to have an evacuation plan. In Broward County, Evacuation Zone A is properties that are between the intracoastal and the beach. Evacuation Zone B is properties east of US1. Owners who lives in those evacuation zones need to be more aware that they are in an evacuation zone.
People who live in evacuation zones need to have a pre-planned safe place to go to when an evacuation is issued.
Water and batteries should always be in your home at the start of each hurricane season. If you hear a storm might be coming, try and keep your gas tank full. The biggest disaster with this hurricane was preparing for it. Gas and water lines were insane for days before the storm and for days after the storm.
Hopefully Florida will recover soon and will be even better prepared for the next hurricane.