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Just moved to SWFL from PA

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Thanks for the advise. I’ve been starting to organize/prioritize what to keep with me and updating my info binder. 

  Look closely at your elevation,construction,and survivability of your living space and you may plan to be more mobile  (as in RUN AWAY) for some storms as waiting to escape till the last minute rarely is successful.A plan for a short term mobile kit with extended home kit for those 'stay in place' storms.

First thing, a couple thousand in cash and a Rand McNally.

Getting out:

If you don't have a boat yet, look at some bay boat's.  That close to 10,000 Islands, it's a must have if you like fishing.  As a side benefit, most bay boats hold 35+ gallons of (fresh non-ethanol fuel), 1 or 2 deep cycle batteries and a radio that's both a weather radio and VHF that is monitored (channel 16) by the coast guard 24-7.  Keep the tank full, with our humidity condensation is an issue.  That much fuel will run a generator for a pretty good while or keep you from having to wait in the horrendous lines at the stations if you leave.  If you have a diesel truck, use Jacks rotating fuel can idea.  If you do evac, bring your boat, fishing is usually good ahead of a storm up here in the north gulf coast.  A spare bulb should be kept in the boat anyway and some extra fuel line will give you access to the fuel in the boats tank.

While you are pretty low in elevation, that area would have to have a storm get into the gulf and turn east into Tampa or below to give you much of a surge.  The front right side (in relation to the direction it's moving) is always the worst due to the rotation.  It happened in '04 when Charlie hit Punta Gorda but that's pretty rare.  Usually the storms that hit around Naples seem to come across the state, lose a lot of energy while doing so and not have much if any surge.  Irma drained Tampa Bay.

Evacuation usually isn't too bad if you think about your routes and carry plenty of fuel.  While evacuating from our vacation in Marathon for Irma, the lines for fuel were all the way out on the Turnpike.  For a storm like Irma SR-29 to US-27N is a good route.  441 and 301 are good roads once you get above Orlando.  For a storm that has entered the gulf and is strengthening I might cross the state and run up 95.  I prefer to stay off of the interstates and the turnpike as much as possible.  If for no other reason, it can take an hour or more just to pull in for your wife to pee. 

Getting a room can be impossible, we dropped the boat off at the house in Tallahassee and finished our vacation with my wife's friends in Augusta.  All the rooms well up into Georgia were full, all the fuel cans were gone from the shelves and many of the fuel stations were out of fuel.

Prepping to stay:

Layer the bottom of your chest / bait freezer with upright bottles of water and cover that with a layer of cardboard.  With that you have a thermal battery, fresh water and don't have to reach down and dig around so far to get stuff out the rest of the time.  That, along with some extra jugs that you can fill up will give you plenty of clean water and with all the lakes down there a 5 gal bucket will get water for flushing etc.  If water service is out, I've left for a trip to either the North gulf coast or Jacksonville depending on the track.

If you have natural gas available, a gas water heater is great.  It takes little to no electricity to operate and cold showers suck.  Gas stoves also beat electric hands down.  I would still have a grill and Camp Chef stove with several extra tanks of propane.

The chances of losing water are pretty slim compared to electric and losing gas is even more remote.

Having a generator panel added to your house with a plug and a double ended cord is a thousand times better than extension cords.  Just make sure that you don't back feed into the main panel without the main disconnect shut off.  That is a quick way to kill a lineman that's trying to get your power back on.  Any good electrician will be able to take care of this and a properly installed generator panel with a transfer switch makes it almost impossible.  Changing all your bulbs out to LED's will lessen the draw on the generator.  A small window unit AC for the bedroom is also a good idea.

The least of my concerns outside of a well stocked pantry and freezer is food.  If you have any yard at all, there is no reason that you can't have something ready to pick year round, especially during hurricane season and you live right in one of the worlds largest natural supermarkets.  A little knowledge about fishing and wild edibles and you have a never ending food supply.

The NUMBER 1 MOST IMPORTANT item to have is a couple of Thermacell's and plenty of refills.

Alan Georges had a good point about the insurance.  I would add that you should get a wind load inspection done if you haven't yet done so.  There are some pretty good discounts for things like a gable roof, truss strapping, impact rated shutters, etc.

Wow thanks for the info.  It will take me a bit to get everything in order, looking to buy soon and with planning a wedding it is a little hectic here. 


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