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Posted: June 01, 2016

The 5 things you SHOULDN'T do this hurricane season

By Robert Alonso

I'm sure there's plenty of things you'd rather be doing than getting ready for something that might never come, especially since it's been over a decade since any part of the Sunshine State has been hit by a hurricane.

Just keep in mind that Mother Nature doesn't really care about those kinds of fun facts, and I suspect you won't either if you're hearing Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh say a Category 5's about to land in our laps.

If there's nothing else you take away from our hurricane special, remember these things that you SHOULDN'T do this hurricane season.

5) PAY TOO MUCH ATTENTION TO THE YEARLY FORECAST

This is supposed to be an average year for hurricane activity, even though Hurricane Alex formed back in January and Tropical Storm Bonnie showed up last week.

None of that really matters, according to Buresh, because it only takes one storm - no matter how strong - to cause serious issues for you.

"Our last 2 fatalities here in Northeastern Florida have occurred during tropical storms," Buresh noted.

Buresh also says that Florida having gone 11 years without a direct hurricane hit makes people complacent and not as apt to plan ahead.

"You forget about what you have to do or should do or be concerned about." Buresh added.

4) FAIL TO PLAN AHEAD

Doctor Rick Knabb at the National Hurricane Center hit the road recently to get a sense of how Floridians get ready for hurricane season.

"Way too many people in the public are not as prepared as they need to be," Knabb said during a United States Senate subcommittee hearing last week.

One of his biggest concerns is the estimated 3 million plus people living in Florida now who've never been through a hurricane. Knabb feels most of them have no idea what it takes to get ready.

Here's an easy way to plan for hurricane season.

3) RELY ON CREDIT CARDS AFTER THE STORM

The odds are really good you won't have power if a big storm comes... and the bigger the storm, the more likely you'll be in the dark and stay in the dark.

That's why having cash around is a great idea, according to Tasha Carter with the Florida Department of Financial Services.

"Sometimes with these storms, they create power outages that may restrict access to ATM's," Carter stated.

For similar reasons, that's why you should fill the tank on any vehicles and shop for any food or supplies you'll need just before the storm comes.

Don't just get the basics, either. Having some board games, a deck of cards or a good book can go a long way when the entire city goes dark.

2) NOT KNOWING YOUR INSURANCE BEFORE THE STORM

It's not fun, that's for sure. No one wants to go blind reading the fine script in your car or home insurance policy.

But there are worse fates in life. That might include you discovering that something you thought was covered by your insurance company isn't.

Carter says make sure you know what your policy covers and if you need to make any changes, there could be a waiting period before those changes take effect, so do this right away.

Click here to see a financial preparedness toolkit for helping you get that part of hurricane prep in order. There's also a Homeowners' Insurance Toolkit offered by Carter's office.

1) STAY ALONE WHEN THE STORM COMES

There are obvious reasons why this is a bad idea, but there's also less obvious reasons.

Imagine hearing the wind constantly blow like a freight train... or water flooding into your house... or a tree crashing on top of your roof. That's what happened to me and my family when we lived through Hurricane Andrew over 20 years ago.

Take it from me... it's not the kind of thing you want to go through alone.

I was only 12 when Andrew came, but I still remember that night like it was yesterday. Having my family around made it so much easier to bear. I have yet to meet a hurricane survivor who didn't feel that same way.


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