Are you ready for tropical storms or hurricanes?

Tropical storms and hurricane prepared?He huffed and he puffed and with all that wind he also left a lot of rain in his wake, but Colin remained a tropical storm – leaving northeast Floridians to sigh in relief.

After you catch your breath, let another force of nature that begins with the letter “C” – Charlie’s Tropic Heating & Air Conditioning – help ensure that you’re prepared for the next storm or hurricane.

There is good reason to step into gear now, while the winds are calm: the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that between 10 and 16 tropical storms will strike the Atlantic region this year, and between four and eight of them could develop into hurricanes. This forecast sounds reasonable considering that 11 tropical storms and four hurricanes – two major ones – struck our region in 2015.

Now is the time to put two words – get ready – at the forefront of your mind and at the center of your activities as you get your family, home and car ready for the next tropical storm or hurricane.

Get your family ready for tropical storms or hurricanes

  • Develop an evacuation plan with multiple exit routes and rehearse it with your family members
  • Select a “communications hub” so that all of your information sources – TV, radio with extra batteries and cell phones – are within arm’s reach during a storm
  • Gather important documents (car titles, wills, insurance policies) and store them in a storm-safe place
  • Ensure that you have cash – not just debit or credit cards – readily available
  • Assemble a “basic survival kit” (recommended by the American Red Cross) that includes:
    • A first aid kit
    • Two flashlights, including extra batteries
    • Candles, along with matches or lighters
    • Bottled water (enough to last at least three days)
    • Non-perishable food and snacks (again, to last at least three days)
    • A manual can opener
    • An extra set of clothes and durable shoes for every family member
    • Blankets
    • A battery-powered radio and extra batteries
    • Personal hygiene items, such as moist hand wipes, soap and toilet paper

Get your home ready for tropical storms or hurricanes

  • Enter Charlie’s number – 904-685-8937 – in your cell phone (if it isn’t there already) so that if you need us, we’ll be there for you, 24/7
  • Ensure that your power generator (if you have one) is in good working order and located at least 20 feet away from doors and windows and protected from moisture and rain
  • Clear your yard of (or securely attach) anything that could blow around during a storm, including grills, lawn furniture, bicycles and children’s toys
  • Trim or remove dangling or damaged tree limbs and branches
  • Secure loose gutters and downspouts
  • Cover up your windows and doors with storm shutters or attach 5/8-inch plywood to the frames
  • Check your fire extinguisher and make sure that everyone in your family knows how to use it
  • Be prepared – in case the power goes out – to turn the setting on your refrigerator and freezer to the lowest temperature to help preserve perishable food. Refrigerated food should be safe for about four hours; frozen food should last about 48 hours. Keeping the doors closed as much as possible will help reduce the chance of food spoilage.
  • Be prepared to turn off your home’s power, especially if your home begins to flood, you see downed power lines around your home or you must evacuate. Clearly label your electrical panel to guide your effort

Get your car ready for tropical storms or hurricanes

  • Fill your tank with gas
  • Park your car in the garage, not outdoors
  • Keep your keys in your pocket or a purse
  • Assemble an emergency kit, which should include:
    • Water
    • Non-perishable food and snacks
    • A first aid kit
    • Flashlights and extra batteries
    • Blankets
    • Jumper cables
    • Flares
    • A basic toolkit

While you wait for tropical storms or hurricanes to pass

  • Keep the radio or TV on to stay apprised of storm updates
  • Steer clear of doors and windows, even if they’re covered, as an added precaution
  • Venture outdoors carefully, knowing that moments of calm in a storm can be fleeting

If you are instructed to evacuate

  • Heed the instruction, remembering that even the most well-built house can succumb to the ferocity of a hurricane
  • Turn off the water, gas and electricity and unplug major appliances
  • Gather only the necessities – cash, identification, medication, cell phones – and don’t place your safety at risk trying to grab keepsakes and possessions

Remember that when you get ready for tropical storms or hurricanes, you’ll be ready when one develops. For the rest of what might blow your way – especially repairs to your heating and air conditioning system – there are the reliable experts at Charlie’s Tropic Heating & Air Conditioning.