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Avoid Hurricane Amnesia: Prepare For The Storm Season

By Andrew L. Zavodney Jr., President – Kustom US

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew slammed South Florida teaching us a devastating lesson about preparing for the hurricane season. In 2005, Hurricanes Wilma, Dennis, and Katrina delivered harsh reminders. Considering Florida is the hurricane capital of the US, you’d think everyone understands the importance of storm preparedness, by now. You’d be wrong. As we enter the 2012 storm season, the National Hurricane Center is highly concerned Floridians have lapsed into a false sense of security. With no major storms making landfall in Florida over the last six years, complacency has set in. It’s a phenomenon known as Hurricane Amnesia.

Hurricane Amnesia is a common trend during the years between catastrophic storms. A time when people ignore storm warnings and fail to take the most basic precautions. In areas of the state which have dodged the proverbial bullet for a decade or more, apathy has set in. Worse, some Floridians believe media reports urging storm preparation are scare tactics used by industries poised to profit from pre-storm panic. Nothing is further from the truth.

For the 2012 Atlantic basin forecast, meteorologists at AccuWeather.com predict 12 named tropical storms, five named hurricanes, and two major hurricanes rated category-three or higher. Although this is considered within the historic average, don’t be fooled by a forecast that seems mild compared to other years. In 1992, forecasts also predicted a low number of named storms at the start of the season. By August, Hurricane Andrew paid us a visit.

The best treatment for a case of Hurricane Amnesia is to look at the numbers. In 2011, a lower than average year for hurricanes, a category-one hurricane named Irene inflicted over $13 billion dollars of damage to homes and businesses. As we enter the 2012 storm season the question is: Are you feeling lucky? Or, are you willing to take steps to protect your life and property?

One way to minimize storm damage to your home is to invest in structural reinforcements designed to withstand extreme wind pressure. These include professionally-installed upgrades such as storm shutters, protective devices for doors and skylights, and hurricane-resistant laminated glass. Keep in mind, many insurers reduce premiums for policyholders who make the effort to mitigate loss. As a result, these types of upgrades pay for themselves over the years to come.