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Are you Ready?

It’s that time of year once again. Hurricane season. As a reminder, hurricane are large rotating storms, full of water and high winds, and are extremely dangerous - and we are no strangers to them here at home. Check out these links to the helpful readiness guides for both Jacksonville and St John’s County. Please review them – even if this isn’t your first rodeo. I’ve also summarized what you most need to know in this blog. It comes with my fervent wish that we do not need this information this year or EVER!



I’m a Realtor, so please forgive me for starting with insurance. Your homeowner/renter policies will likely NOT cover flooding (the most common hurricane damage outcome.) A separate flood policy is recommended. Check it out with your agent or simply go to to start the process (now – not when storms are approaching!)

I highly recommend everyone carry flood insurance whether you need it or not. All it takes is one really bad flooding incident to be catastrophic to your home and finances.


After ensuring you are covered, the next decision you’ll need to make is whether to evacuate or stay during the storm. Let’s start by ensuring you know your hurricane categories. Weather experts use the Saffir-Simpson scale to help us understand the severity of the storm. In a nutshell, here are the categories.


Category 1: 74-95 mph winds. Assume tree and roof damage.

Category 2: 96-110 mph winds. Uprooted trees and resulting road obstructions.

Category 3: 111-129 mph winds. Anticipate damage to homes, property, and roads.

Category 4: 130-156 mph winds. Severe damage to property is likely and power will be lost.

Category 5: 157 mph winds and higher. Home destruction can happen, and the loss of life risk increases greatly.


Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. Assume floods will occur during strong hurricanes. The impact is greater than you might think. Consider this:


·       6 inches of moving water will knock you off your feet.

·       2 feet of moving water will carry your car away.

·       Floodwater can be electrically charged and extremely dangerous – and might also carry debris and/or dangerous microorganisms.


Both flood hazards and hurricanes will determine the authority’s decision to recommend that you evacuate. Pay attention to these warnings, please! Use the JAXREADY app to stay informed.


If you evacuate (and if you are told to do so, PLEASE do – remember that it isn’t just for your protection – it also saves the first responders!) here is what you should do (and bring):




Have a plan – now – not then. Where will you go? Where will your family meet if you aren’t together? Who is your out-of-town contact?

Your pets. Do not leave them behind. Bring enough food and meds for a week. Try to socialize them to crates, carriers, and leashes in advance of the evacuation.

Secure outdoor furniture and heavy objects.

2 changes of clothes for everyone in your group.

Put your “hurricane kit” together. At a minimum, include insurance papers, account records, and identification for everyone in the family.

Check your medications. Do you have enough for everyone for at least a week? If not, refill now.

Take pictures/videos of your home and your belongings. Best to do that NOW, before the storm, but if you forget, shoot a couple of quick videos, and stills of everything you can think of now before you go.

Important phone numbers (family, insurance agents, neighbors, etc.)

Download the JAXREADY app. It will keep you posted on what is happening back at home while you are on the road.

Comfort items for kids and pets – they don’t need EVERYTHING, but a favorite toy or blanket can really help.


If you plan to shelter in place, consider the following:




Secure outdoor furniture, plants, and heavy objects.

Non-perishable food and plenty of water for everyone. NOW is the time to start getting those things together as stores will run low quickly when a storm approaches.

Gather and charge your electronic devices and find all your re-charging doodads. And grab a flashlight for everyone.

Anything your pets might need. Food, meds, and leashes. Consider pads designed for using the toilet inside.

Check your medications. Have enough for everyone for at least a week.

Medications and a solid first aid kit. Amazon has them.

Have a point of contact and let them know you are staying.

Clean clothes, blankets, and raincoats. If you haven’t done the most important laundry lately – do it now while you are prepping.

Prepare your generator.

Consider filling a bathtub with water – this will facilitate toilet flushing when the power is out.

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