Irma may be gone, but we still have two more months of hurricane season. Tallahassee, FL residents dodged a disaster with hurricane Irma, but we still need to be prepared for the remainder of the hurricane season.

Wondering what to do with your left-over hurricane supplies?  Worried if you will be prepared if we have another hurricane threat?  There are always lessons learned after disasters, and as we review our successes and good fortune, we also review how to react and prepare better should we have another disaster. We complied a few tips on how to prepare for similar events for you based on some of our customer and personal experiences!  So, before we have another storm, ans as we begin to think about getting rid of supplies and items that we rushed to purchase and that were difficult to find, take a quick read of these "10 Post Hurricane Irma Tips for Tallahassee Residents."  Remember that this is just September, and in our area, hurricane season started June 1st and is not over until November 30th!

1. Keep your non-perishable supplies for a while longer.  Don't get caught in the mad rush to stores only to find supplies low on essential items. Canned goods, water and non-perishables can be stored in pantries or plastic containers. It's not a bad idea to check expiration dates and store what will last for several months in the event of another event! After November, consider donating to local food banks for the holiday season!

2. Consider keeping your sandbags! Just stack them up in an area where you can retrieve them again if needed - stay ahead of the rush next time! If you want them gone, advertise to neighbors or co-workers - use Craigslist or Nextdoor - some neighbors may want them to build retaining walls or use in their yards. When hurricane season is over, spread sand in your dry yard around low areas, and keep the bags for next season or call the City for return- they are often used as fill under roads, buildings, etc.

3. Family Plans, Input and Preparedness. Prepare your family for a disaster plan if you choose to ride out a storm.  Hold a "family meeting" to discuss your options well in advance of another storm. Know what your options are for evacuation. Where would you stay, where are local shelters, what to do with your family pets

4. Vaccinate pets and have records in hand!  Some shelters, hotels and even apartments will not allow pets without vaccination records. Keep these in a file or digitally for quick printouts. 

5. Decide when and how you will communicate to others. Check your cell phone chargers, battery banks.  Plan regular check in times to preserve battery power, but keep your loved ones informed of your conditions and needs. Decide now who you need to notify of your plans for evacuation or of your plans to stay.  Make a list of important people, family, friends, work related contacts that need to know where you are and how you are!  

6. Update! Update your medical supplies including lists of medications for all family members, email lists, social profiles with your phone numbers and address. If people are looking for you after a storm, they will know where to look, what medical conditions to give to first responders, when they are trying to reach you. Social media portals have saved lives in past storms, it could make a difference to your family as well!

7.  Contact your insurance company now, before the next storm! Review your flood policy and coverage. Are you covered for rising water, wind, contents? What are your deductibles?  Do you qualify for a wind mitigation discount? (You could be saving hundreds each year - if you want to know more contact us, we will explain how!) Be ahead of insurance changes - before a storm is "in the box" where most insurance companies stop writing insurance or making changes! 

8. Visually survey your yard. Look for trees that are hollow, have damaged trunks - look all the way up - often damage or rot occurs in upper segments!  Have a tree specialist examine trees in your yard and recommend limbs that can be trimmed or trees that need removal. This is necessary in most subdivisions before removal anyway - so jump ahead of the crunch time of right before storms and high winds!

9. Generators. Batteries. Radios. Are you prepared for hours, days, months of power outages?  If you have a portable generator - which appliances can you run and what can you not run? Do you know how to run them and where? Learn! (Remember carbon monoxide kills!)  Consider more permanent generators that can be hardwired into your home's electrical system (requires an electrician, plumber and a generator sales and design specialist). 

10. Finally, simply take time to learn about your home - How do you board windows  or install hurricane shutters? What alternative shutters are there for your home? Where is your electric panel box? Do you know what a tripped breaker means or how to turn it back on? When is it safe to turn electric back on after a storm, after flooding? Do you know where your electrical ground wire is for your home - Is it connected properly? (SUPER IMPORTANT according to our electricians!) Learn about your home's systems - Ask professionals to explain them to you during your home-purchase inspection.  If you want a home inspection at any time... it's a great idea (unless you enjoy crawling in your attic or under your crawl space or are certified to check systems and foundations)! Need a reference? Call us - we can help connect you with reputable professionals.

No one is ever truly prepared for complete disasters or property destruction, but maybe this list will help you. Remember you Realtors at Century 21 First Story Real Estate care about you!  We are also a valuable resource for you if you need assistance before or after a sale. We care about our community, our customers and friends and families. Be Safe!