Hurricane season is closer than we care to believe. Beginning June 1st and ending November 30th, Hurricane Season strikes every year and puts Florida, and other coastal states, into a preparation whirlwind.

The question is- are you and your family prepared for the 2014 season?

Stock Your Pantry
Before the fear of a storm is imminent, it’s a good idea to stock your pantry early in the year to save on time, cost and alleviate stress. Essentials include bottled water and canned food. If you have children under the age of one year, always keep extra baby food and powdered formula. You should prepare to be able to feed your family for approximately one week after the storm subsides. If it’s bad enough, stores may not be open again for several weeks.

Emergency Essentials
Batteries, flashlights, battery-powered radios, generators, cleaning supplies, shampoo/conditioner, and other items should also be kept handy in case of a storm. It’s easy to forget, but even diapers, extra medication, and large bottles of water for bathing are also crucial to continuing life after the storm. There should also be a first aid kit readily available in case someone needs it before, during or after the storm hits.

Furry Friends
If you have pets, they should have their own emergency kit ready for storm season. Pets will need their medications, their own water supply, and their own food. Cats need plenty of litter and an extra litter box. You should also plan on having extra blankets for them in case you’re away from home or in a crowded space for a length period of time. If you have a specialty animal, plan well in advance, especially if they need specific food or items.

Prepare Your Home
If you own your home, check out your hurricane shutters and inspect your property to make sure you’re ready to bunker down when the time comes. If you rent, be sure to purchase flood insurance (if needed) and speak with your landlord about what options you have should a storm be on the way. Also, it’s always good to keep sand bags in storage just in case you might need them. Large bags of kitty liter are a great alternative as well.

Contact List
Keep an updated list of contacts at your fingertips. Though cell phones are handy, without power they’re useless. Jot down numbers of family and friends you may need to reach. Also keep numbers for the American Red Cross and local governments on tap. If you’re a homeowner, your property insurance contact information is also a good one to keep with you.

Have a Plan
Hurricanes can happen at anytime and without almost no warning. It’s a good idea to sit down with your family and discuss the details of your plan. What is coming with you? What should we grab and not grab? If you’re staying, where do you need to be in the home? If you’re leaving, where are you evacuating to? All of these questions are something that need to be prepared well in advance of an approaching storm.

For more information, visit the National Hurricane Center online. There are great resources there regarding hurricane season, preparedness, and much more. Carter Beach Properties also suggests purchasing travel insurance if you’ll be coming to a coastal state during season. Protect yourself in every aspect and hurricane season will be a breeze.