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Homeowner’s Handbook updated to prepare Florida residents for disasters

Tory Moore

Hurricanes and natural disasters are nothing new to Floridians, but we are in uncharted territory when we try to manage disasters during a pandemic. That makes making planning for disasters paramount. The second edition of the Homeowner’s Handbook provides updated guidance for Florida homeowners on disaster preparation and can help residents feel ready for approaching storms.

“Planning is our first defense when facing a disaster, especially in times like now when we are living in a crisis of a global pandemic,” said Angie Lindsey, UF/IFAS assistant professor and Extension Disaster Education Network representative. “As Floridians, many of us will say that we know what to do for a tropical storm or a hurricane but having an easily accessible plan with resources can be very beneficial. Disasters are stressful times and we are often not thinking clearly when adrenaline is high, and we are in ‘go mode.’ Having resources and plans with steps and helpful information can help alleviate stressful situations surrounding disasters.”

Sand and dirt covers a massive mound of Hurricane Michael debris on Oct. 1, 2020 at the Steelfield Landfill. Hurricane Michael created millions of cubic yards of debris from homes, trees and other structures in 2018.

From emergency preparedness and evacuation planning to information on flood and wind insurance, the Homeowner’s Handbook provides basic information on the important steps homeowners should take to protect life and property.

Hurricane Sally left this sailboat high and dry at Veterans Park on Okaloosa Island.

The handbook was developed in partnership between the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Coastal Resilience Team, Extension and Sea Grant partners in Gulf coastal states and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“This handbook is a great way for us to work together to share best management practices, resources, and references,” Lindsey said. “This is a team effort and can benefit many communities in Florida.”

Pirates Cove Marina sits damaged Tuesday October 16, 2018. The marina was damaged by Hurricane Michael, a category 4 hurricane, struck the panhandle last Wednesday.

Electronic guides are available for download and a limited supply of printed copies are available at your local UF/IFAS Extension office.

Rough surf from Hurricane Sally pounds the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier Tuesday morning.

“Florida is surrounded by water, so natural hazards such as storms, hurricanes and flooding are going to happen,” said Lindsey. “Comprehensive resources such as the Homeowner’s Handbook are great references when preparing, mitigating, and/or recovering from a disaster.”