prepare for storm in 24 hours

The Day Before: Detailed Guide to Prepare for a Storm Now

Living in South Florida is fantastic—we love it, and that’s why we’ve chosen to live and work here for decades. But, of course, the beauty of our beloved state is balanced by the pervading threat of huricanes and tropical storms. Learning to properly prepare for a hurricane is an absolute must.

Hurricane and storm preparation is most effective when done year-round. Purchasing supplies and tools for surviving in a high category hurricane requires significant investment, so it’s best to space out your purchases over time.

Additionally, there are the processes of developing emergency, evacuation, prep, and contingency plans. These should be written out, memorized, and even rehearsed with your family. The last thing you want is to create an emergency plan when the eye of the storm is upon you!

But if the warnings are out and you’re short on time before the storm strikes, it’s useful to have a tangible list of items that require your immediate attention. Follow this guide to know how to prepare for a hurricane in the 24 hours before it arrives.

Decide Between Evacuating or Weathering out the Storm

hurricane evacuation route

If you meet the criteria for evacuation, do it–trying to protect your property isn’t worth putting you and your family in harm’s way.

You have two choices when you know a hurricane is approaching, you can stay or you can leave.

There are lots of reasons why people choose to remain at home when aware of the dangers. Often, this involves financial considerations; many lack the money to travel to safe zones and pay for food and lodging out of town. There’s also the desire to protect one’s property, be it from the effects of the storm or from looters.

As legitimate as some of these considerations are, remember that your first and greatest priority is your personal safety and that of your family. Putting your life on the line for the sake of your home and belongings isn’t worth it if your actions result in injury or death.

Also, remaining in a high-risk area during a storm can lead to you needing emergency rescue services; in such a case, you’re now endangering the life of the rescuer in addition to yours and your family’s.

You should evacuate under these circumstances:

  • You live in a tall building. The fast winds of a tropical storm or hurricane make tall, multi-floor buildings sway. If you’re in a high rise, it’s best to get out rather than place yourself in jeopardy.
  • You live in an area prone to storm surge. Storm surge is a rise in water levels above that of the regular tides, and it’s directly caused by a storm. Storm surge was responsible for 1500 deaths during Hurricane Katrina. Research your property and area to determine the threat of waves and flooding.
  • Your live in a mobile home. As nice as mobile homes are, they’re not the safest structure for emergency situations, especially tropical storms and hurricanes. The strong winds alone can blow your home over and the storm surge can drag it out to sea. Make plans to evacuate if you’re in a mobile home.
  • You receive an evacuation order from the local authorities. If the government and appropriate agencies issue an evacuation order in your area, pack up and get moving. They know what’s coming and what will happen if you stay.
  • You’re a Medically Dependent Consumer of Electricity (MDC). If your health condition requires the use of electrically-powered equipment (ventilators, oxygen concentrators, ventricular assistance devices) or appliances (for instance, a microwave for heating fluids), you should strongly consider the viability of evacuation. Should you decide to shelter in place, keep in mind that you become more vulnerable the longer power is out.

How to Plan an Evacuation

hurricane and tropical storm evacuation

Try leaving in the early hours when traffic is low.

If you meet the criteria for evacuation, take every measure possible to make it happen. As mentioned above, no consideration is more important than your life and safety.

If money for a hotel out of town is an issue, try calling in favors. Find someone at whose place you can crash or who can lend you the funds for lodging. You surely have distant family or friends who are understanding and more than willing to help in such an urgent situation.

If you have no one to help you out, you can find a shelter and wade the storm out in a safe location green-lighted by the government.

Residents of Broward County can find local shelters here.

For the rest of Florida, check out this shelter index.

If you live anywhere else in the US, you can use the Red Cross’s Shelter Search.

What to Take if you Evacuate

When you leave to escape the a storm, you want to make sure not to forget any of these items:

  • Food (non-perishables like canned food)
  • Drinking water
  • At least a week’s worth of clothes
  • Laundry detergent in case you’re out longer than a week
  • Container for gas in case stations on the road are low
  • Important Documents (birth and marriage certificates, medical records, insurance policies)
  • Items of High Personal Value (family photographs, family heirloom, etc.)

hurricane supplies

If you can, leave at a time when there’s not much traffic on the road, like between midnight and 4:00am.

Before you leave, be sure to your home is protected against the storm (and possible looters) as much as possible. More on that below.

If You Stay, Prepare Yourself

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin

Since we’ve already established when you should be evacuating, I’m going to assume that if you’re staying, it’s because you actually have a high probability of surviving without injury or ailment.

First, it’s time to stock up. Hopefully you’ve already assembled a viable emergency food and utility supply throughout the year. Waiting until the day before the storm guarantees long lines, scarcity, and probable unavailability of many of the things you’ll need.

Nevertheless, if you need to begin building your supply now, or if you just want to review necessary items to know whether you’re missing anything, here’s what to include:

Hurricane Tools and Utilities

cash for hurricane or tropical storm

Withdraw cash to use during a tropical storm or hurricane, since electronic pay methods may be out of order.


  • Flashlights, glow sticks, candles
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Matches
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Blankets
  • Duct tape
  • Clock/Watch
  • Can Opener (essential if you want to eat!)
  • Several sets of clean clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Keys to house and vehicles
  • All your important documents (ID, passports, etc.)
  • Pet supplies if you happen to have pets

Medical Supplies

Injury may occur during a storm and medical attention will be scare, so it’s critical you have first-aid supplies on-hand. Here’s what you need:

first aid supplies

  • Prescribed medication
  • Bandages and adhesive tape
  • Sunscreen
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Medicine apt for children
  • Hygiene items for women
  • Anti-septic Solution
  • Medical tags if you suffer from a particular condition

And, naturally, there’s the matter of food. No hurricane supply is complete without adequate food and water.

prepare canned food for hurricane


  • Drinking water: 1 gallon daily per person
  • Enough canned food to last at least a week
  • Snacks: dried fruits, cereal bars, chips, whatever lasts and helps lighten the situation

You’ll want coolers to store your victuals. Devote one to water and one to food. Also, it’s wise to invest in a camping-style range that you can hook up to a propane tank and use to cook in the event power and public gas are cut (which is most likely during a major storm).

Getting Water

Water is perhaps the single most important item you should stock up on. You need ample drinking water because your body can’t go more than a few days without it. And non-drinkable water for bathing, flushing the toilet, and similar activities will make the uncomfortable situation a bit more bearable.

If you find yourself short on water, there are ways to get it.

One method is to heat a large pot of undrinkable water and capture the vapor with a rag, towel, or garbage bag. The water captured is drinkable.

Similarly, you can build a solar still that captures water by means of a tarp. Learn more about doing that here.

Also, if you happen to have a water heater that stores water in a tank, you can use it to get up to 60 gallons of clean drinking water during a storm. Follow the instructions here (note: this technique doesn’t work with tankless water heaters).

Protecting Your Home

Board up your windows to prevent water and dangerous flying objects (as well as looters) from getting in.

Board up your windows to prevent water and dangerous flying objects (as well as looters) from getting in.

Now it’s time to set up your home defense. Take the following steps to strengthen your home against a Tropical Storm.

  • Trim the trees near your home to prevent weak/dead branches from falling onto your house
  • Board up the windows or use shutters
  • Lock your doors and put up drapes (this deters looters and criminals)
  • Put away everything that can be blown around indoors, preferably into the garage
  • Keep a radio with hurricane news switched on
  • Put all your important documents in a water-proof container

Make sure to select a room that’s centrally located and preferably without windows as your place to wait out the storm.

Using a Generator

portable power generator for hurricanes

A generator can make life a lot easier when the power goes out.

Buying a generator is a good idea. Depending on the severity of the storm, you may be without power for days. A generator can help you be more comfortable.

Purchase 5-gallon gas cans and fill them up so that you have enough to run your generator. Check to be sure it’s working prior to the storm so that you don’t have an unpleasant surprise when you really need to use it.

If you don’t have a generator and can’t acquire one in time, try a more affordable DC to AC converter for your car, which you can use to power appliances in your home.

Just don’t do it when the car is in the garage, since the fumes are poisonous. Like wise, keep the generator away from the windows to prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home. 

Always remember to exercise maximum safety when storing gasoline. Use tightly sealed containers and keep the gasoline in a shed, garage, or other place apart from where you live.

Learn more about proper gasoline storage and handling here.

Considerations for Apartment Dwellers

Securing yourself and your living space is a bit different when your live in an apartment. Here are some things to take into account:

  • With duct tape, tape the panes of glass (windows, sliding doors) and then put a barrier like blankets or furniture between the glass and the room.
  • Don’t risk going outside in the hours or first few days following a storm. You don’t want to draw unwanted attention to yourself from possible criminals.
  • Don’t light candles or use flames in general during the storm, as they can blow over and cause a fire.

Taking Care of Your Pets

When a storm arrives, you want to take every step necessary to care for your pets. They’re part of the family, after all.

Take these steps to give your beloved creatures the best chance of survival:

  • If your plan involves evacuating, remember that emergency shelters normally don’t allow animals. This means you need to make arrangements for your pet with a veterinarian, pet motel, or family friend outside the evacuation area.
take care of pets during hurricane

Pets are part of the family. Whatever you do, DON’T leave them behind during a storm!

  • Assemble the following items: pet food, drinkable water, waste pan/litter box, animal first aid kit, medications, eating tray, and all veterinary records. Take these with you if you evacuate with your animal, or keep them in a safe, water-proof place if you ride the storm out at home.
  • In the event you stay at home, be sure to tie your pet up in a safe location during the storm. The last thing you want is for him to wander out to a dangerous area, something that could endanger your life as well.

Final Tips

Just a few last things to take note of before the storm hits:

  • As soon as the storm hits, treat any water coming out of your faucets as contaminated, since water treatment plants may be damaged or closed. Purify by boiling and/or using chlorine bleach.
  • If you don’t have enough water to flush your toilets, don’t flush (unless you want foul odors in your home!). Instead, line-up a garbage bag to the toilet to collect waste. Collect water in your bathtub before-hand for use in flushing and bathing.
  • Place barricades against your entrance-ways to stop intruders. After the storm, one of the biggest threats you face is desperate people acting dangerously, as well as delinquents who take advantage of the situation.
water after hurricane

Post-storm, be sure to treat all water before consuming or using it to bathe, wash, clean, or cook.

Proper preparation is vital in the hours preceding a storm. It can mean the difference between life and death. Review these steps carefully and use other available resources from trusted community organizations in preparation for hurricanes and tropical storms.

For guidance setting up a hurricane plan for your family or business, check out Ready.Gov and use their templates (such as this Family Emergency Contact Sheet).

For help knowing what to do with your Air Conditioning Equipment when a hurricane strikes, have a look at the following videos from our sister company, Aloha AC Repair Fort Lauderdale:

Avoid Power Surges

Check for Damage and Debris

Make Sure your AC Unit is Dry

What to do Before Plugging into a Generator

Secure your Unit

The Easy Guide to Delray Beach Air Conditioning: 8 Things You Need to Know

nice houseNothing beats living in sunny Delray Beach, Fl. The beach is close, the weather isgreat, and there’s a great culture made up of thriving businesses and bustling entertainment. But if you live in Delray Beach, air conditioning in your home is a must—as with any city in South Florida.

It’s funny, but AC is one of those things that we sometimes take for granted. It has a vast influence on our lives for good, but we often don’t stop to think much about it—until it stops working that is!

However, there are some things you need to know as a person living in the hot and humid state of Florida with an interest in staying cool and comfortable when temperatures are high. This quick guide breaks down, in short and digestable terms, exactly what you should know about Delray Beach air conditioning.

What’s HVAC?

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning. It not only encompasses your air conditioner and heater, but the systems that remove impure air from your home (ventilation). Read more.

How Does Air Conditioning Work?

wall unit delray beach air conditioning

Delray Beach Air Conditioning, as with AC in general, works by moving refrigerant in a cycle throughout the AC components in a process that repeatedly changes its state between liquid and gas.

This process extracts the heat from your home’s air, bringing the temperature down according to your thermostat settings. Learn more.

What are the Main Parts of my Air Conditioner?

As a home or business owner dealing with Delray Beach air conditioning, it’s good to be familiar with the different parts of your AC unit so that you can be on top of maintenance schedules and keep your costs down. Terms to know are:

  • Air Return Vents: Collect air to be cooled
  • Compresor: Works to change refrigerant from gas to liquid. Sends it to the evaporator.
  • Evaporator: So-called because the refrigerant evaporates here, causing cool indoor air.
  • Condenser: Aids in the transfer of heat throughout the AC system.
  • Filter: Gets rid of debris in air stream to keep your indoor air and AC system clean.
  • Ducts: Deliver the air throughout your home.

Find out more here about the components of your Delray Beach air conditioning system.

What Size AC Unit do I Need?

That depends on the cooling requirements of your home, which is determined by your property size and other factors.

There are various unit sizes available in Delray Beach. Air conditioning units are classified by tons. “Ton” in this case doesn’t refer to the unit of measurement for weight, but rather to the amount of hear they can remove in an hour.

A one-ton unit can get rid of 12,000 British Thermal Units in one hour. A two-ton unit removes 24,000 BTOs per hour, and so on.

Homes typically require units of one-to-five tons. Units above six tons are normally used for commercial purposes.

The number of people who live in a home, the size of your home, the geographic location, and the number of windows you have are all some of the factors that determine the appropriate AC unit size. Delray Beach air conditioning contractors use an in-depth calculation called a Manual-J calculation. They often use specialized software for this purpose.

You can get a general idea of the right size for your AC unit using the following graphic.

chart for ac unit size

Click to enlarge

Read the full article here. Nevertheless, do not make a purchasing decision without having a profesional air conditioning company perform a Manual-J calculation for you.

How do I Prepare my AC Unit for a Hurricane?

Hurricane preparation is simply part of life for residents of Delray Beach. Air conditioning practices should be adapted to local weather needs.

In case of an impending storm, take the following measures behurricane delray beach air conditioningfore, during, and after:

  • Prior to the storm, turn off your air conditioner to prevent the effects of power surge
  • Secure your unit
  • Wait, don’t turn your unit back on immediately post-storm!
  • Perform a thorough inspection of your unit and the nearby area


Take a look at our Youtube Channel for more hurricane tips.

How do I Choose a Delray Beach Air Conditioning Contractor?

There are a lot of great Delray Beach air conditioning companies, but there are also some not-so-great ones. When selection a contractor, follow these tips:

  • Make sure your contractor is licensed and insured
  • Look for companies certified by organizations like the ACCA and SMACNA.
  • Your contractor should do a thorough inspection before giving a quote
  • A reliable company will give you a written bid that includes equipment and labor costs

For more help choosing a trustworthy Delray Beach air conditioning contractor, check out this article.

What Maintenance Does my AC Unit Need?

hvac contractor delray beach air conditioning

When summer starts, you definitely don’t want to be without AC in Delray Beach! Air Conditioning requires regular maintenance to work well. Here are some things you should regularly be doing to keep your unit running smoothly:

  • Change disposable filters every one or two months, clean washable filters every two weeks
  • Check and clean evaporator coils at least once a year
  • Get air ducts cleaned every two-to-five years
  • Install a float switch to prevent condensate leaking (learn more here)

If you’re Delray Beach air conditioning is giving you a headache, you probably want to know whether you’d be better of repairing or replacing. Read our guide on how to know when to replace.

How do I Keep my Electricity Bill Down?

Due to the high usage of AC in Delray Beach, air conditioning costs can be hefty. Unless, of course, you follow energy-saving tips like these:

  • Use a Programmable Thermostat
  • Use ceiling fans
  • Use plants and window blinds to shade your home
  • Service leaky AC ducts

Find out more about how to reduce the cost of air conditioning here.

Now that you have that information at your fingertips, you’re much better armed to make important decisions with respect to Delray Beach air conditioning.

saving delray beach air conditioning

Have questions? Feel free to share in the comments below!