A Thin Line

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Ready or not...we're in for a blow

As mid-August approaches, we find ourselves, here in Florida, in the midst of the most active part of hurricane season. It's that special time of year when you can turn on the television and hear a weatherman make two basic meteorological points: 1. There is no need to panic. 2. We could all be killed.

If you are new to this particularly exciting time of year in the Sunshine State, you may be wondering what you need to know. Based on our experience, here's the scoop. Buy enough food and bottled water to last you and your family for at least three days. Put these supplies in your car. Drive to Iowa and remain there until Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, most people will not follow this sensible and well-thought-out plan. Most Floridians will remain right here in Florida.

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for hurricane season is to make sure you have adequate homeowner's insurance. If you own a home, you must have hurricane insurance. Fortunately, this is cheap and easy to get, as long as your home is well built and is located in Iowa. But if your home is located in some area where it might actually see hurricane action, most insurance companies would prefer to not sell you hurricane insurance, because they will likely, at some point, have to pay you for damages. So you will likely wind up with insurance coverage with a premium that equals the replacement value of your house. And the kicker is that at any moment, this insurance company can drop you like a load of bricks.

Your house should have hurricane shutters on all the windows and doors and, if it's a big storm, the toilet. There are several types of shutters. Plywood window coverings are cheap because you make them yourself. The disadvantage is that you make them yourself and they will, in all likelihood, fall off.

Sheet metal shutters have the advantage of working well, once you get them in place. The disadvantage is that your hands will be bloody stumps after putting them up, and will be useless until New Year's. Roll down shutters are easy to use, and will definitely offer your windows great protection. The disadvantage is that you have to sell your house to afford them.

There's a new-fangled product called hurricane-proof windows, that are supposed to withstand anything a hurricane can throw at them. The sales people at the store, in Iowa, can tell you all the details.

Most emergency preparedness folks will tell you to be sure you hurricane-proof your property. Check your yard for movable objects like grills, patio furniture, visiting relatives...anything that hurricane-force winds could turn into a projectile. It's recommended that you throw these items in your swimming pool. So if you don't have a pool, you should build one immediately.

You should make sure you know what the evacuation routes are in your area, and have your route planned out. This way, instead of being trapped in your home when the storm hits, you'll be trapped in your car, along with hundreds of other evacuees. So you won't be lonely.

If you do evacuate, you'll need supplies. You don't have to buy them now, though. It's customary to wait until the last possible minute, and congregate with all the other locals at Wal-Mart. There you can duke it out for all the necessary supplies:

• 23 flashlights.
• At least $137 worth of batteries.
• Bleach. Yes bleach. No one knows why. But you must have it.
• A big knife that you can strap to your leg. This is useless in a storm, but looks cool.
• A large quantity of raw chicken, which you can use to placate the alligators.
• $35,000 in cash or gold, so that after the storm passes, you can purchase a generator.

Remember: as the storm draws near, it is crucial that you watch the news on television as reported by people in rain slickers standing right next to the water's edge telling everybody to stay away from the beaches.

Good luck.

Posted: Aug 06 2010, 11:23 AM by Red On The Head | with no comments
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