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After the storms, we have come across some additional long-term lessons.

Update 1: Test your computer UPS batteries.  One of mine failed quickly during the first hurricane and did not let me do a controlled shutdown.  They have all been replaced.

Update 1: Do not underestimate the effects of stress.  Florida has been the 2004 target, and people are beginning to think every hurricane is going to try to fit through their window.  The easiest thing to ease this appears to be simply talking about it and discussing family plans.  The more information you have, generally the better off you'll feel.  Once you understand that those hurricane track represent probability rather than certainty, you will see that the weather guessers really are just guessing.

Be prepared with adequate amounts of Deet-based insect repellent.  About a week after the storm passes, you'll get a mosquito bloom.  With West Nile running across the country, prevention is the best you can do.  They can't be controlled until the ground dries out, which could take weeks, or even months.

Store your hurricane equipment in a single place for easy location later.  (plastic, lights, Sterno, etc.)

Assuming you do not have to remove trees, a lawn mower with a grass catcher is the quickest way to clean up your small yard debris.

If you are without power, leave your hurricane shutters up.  It will keep your house cooler.

If you made the mistake of taping your windows, you now have to get the tape residue off.  Try using Goof Off or a similar product, taking care not to damage the paint on your window frames.

If you own a business, run a test during a quiet time and see what problems you have operating without a telephone line or an Internet connection.  Many businesses were severely challenged when they tried to operate without communications.  Here is a good Orlando Sentinel article (subscription required) on this issue.

Update 1: Call forwarding on your land line is useful if it is dead since you can forward calls to your cell phone.  You will need to call the phone company's customer service using you cell phone to get it implemented.  This is a way for businesses with established phone numbers to function during a local line outage.

Read your insurance policy.  Ensure you know the different coverages and are comfortable with them.  Remember, wind-driven water is different from flooding.  Most homeowner, business and hurricane policies do not cover flooding.  Realize that Florida has a separate 2-5% hurricane deductible that kicks in during a named storm.  Other states may move to this model.

If you have a standby generator, practice connecting it to ensure you have all the parts and the wires will reach.

Check to see if there are noise ordnances that may interfere with your use of a generator.  (Yes, a lady got visited by the Sheriff's Deputies because of generator noise.  It got turned off.)

Once the hurricane season is past, you likely need to do maintenance on your generator.  At a minimum, you should drain the gas (pour it into your cars or lawn mower) and dry out the system.  Your particular manufacturer may also have you remove the spark plug, squirt oil into the cylinder, or other preservation.

Posted on Thursday, September 16, 2004 6:55 PM Home Ownership , & Etc. , Hurricane | Back to top

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