Sponsored By: West Shore Construction

While Florida is known for its beautiful beaches and fantastic vacation spots, Tampa Bay locals are all too familiar with the effects of hurricane season. As the weather heats up and hurricane season begins approaching, it’s important for the residents of Tampa Bay to know how they can prepare their homes from strong winds, flooding, and damage.

As experts in hurricane protection and readiness, our team at West Shore Construction has developed a Hurricane Preparation Checklist to help keep you and your family safe during hurricane season. Here are a few ways that you can prepare your home for torrential tropical storms and hurricane winds:

Buy Supplies

Preparing a basic disaster supply kit is essential for hurricane readiness. Make sure you have everything you need ahead of time so that your family is prepared in case the power goes out, grocery stores shut down, or someone gets hurt.

Stock up on items such as:

  • At least a two-week supply of bottled water
  • At least a two-week supply of canned and nonperishable foods
  • Vitamins, prescriptions, and medications
  • First aid kits
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Candles
  • Matches or lighters
  • Paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Duct tape
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Toolkit
  • Needles and thread
  • A list of local shelters
  • Toilet paper
  • Cash
  • Maps
  • Waterproof tarps
  • Disinfectant and hand sanitizer
  • Feminine products
  • Plastic bags
  • Soap and other personal hygiene products
  • Rain gear and sturdy shoes
  • Things to do, like board games, books, and other activities that do not require electricity

If you have a pet, make sure they have everything they need as well: medications, food for two weeks, water, bowls, toys, proper identification, a carrier, leash, doggy bags, and whatever else might be necessary to properly care for your pet during an emergency hurricane situation.

Move Everything Away From The Windows

Strong winds can cause debris to blow into your window, sometimes causing breakage. It’s important to move everything you can away from the window to reduce mess, loss, and further damage.

Make Sure the Whole Family Is On The Same Page

Come up with a hurricane strategy plan and practice and run through it with the whole family if a hurricane is approaching. It’s important that you and your entire family are on the same page to reduce panic, and so that everyone is safe and knows exactly what to do.

Determine a hurricane shelter meetup point in the house that is blocked off from windows, such as the laundry room, or a large closet. Store your hurricane preparation kit in a conveniently-located place that everyone has access to, and give everyone responsibilities so that each person has a role in keeping the whole family prepared. One person can be designated to grabbing the flashlights while another person moves items away from the windows. When it comes to safety, teamwork and communication are crucial.

Keep Important Documents Safe

Keep all important records, documents, insurance policies, passports, social security cards, and other valuable items in a waterproof, portable container. This ensures the safety and accessibility of your most important documents.

Maintain Your Hurricane Preparation Inventory

While it’s good to have a hurricane preparation kit ready to go in advance, it’s important to check up on your inventory every six months or so. A few things that you can do every so often to keep your hurricane preparation kit up-to-par and to ensure that you’re ready whenever a hurricane may strike are:

  • Change your water supply so that it stays fresh
  • Replace food storage
  • Think through your family’s needs year-to-year, as this will often change
  • Check the expiration dates of medications
  • Make sure all of the flashlights and batteries are functional
  • Update clothes and replace any other supplies that are needed


Oftentimes, an evacuation alert will go out to the Tampa Bay area if it’s predicted that the hurricane will be a Category 4 or 5. Even if it hasn’t yet reached that level of severity, it may be smart to evacuate somewhere safer anyway just in case, and to avoid any potential traffic if an evacuation alert goes out later. Be sure to keep your tank full with gasoline, and stock up on extra fuel at the gas station.

Going through this checklist and keeping all these helpful tips in mind can help you prepare yourself and your family for hurricane season to ensure everyone’s safety.

Hurricane Protection Installments

Stocking up on supplies and creating a plan with your family is a crucial element of preparing ahead of time for a potential hurricane. But there are additional elements that you can add on to your home to keep it safe from torrential storms and hurricane winds.

Hurricane Windows

Installing impact hurricane windows into your home helps to protect your house, your belongings, and your family, while offering you the peace of mind you need particularly during hurricane season. Unlike plywood and shutters, which take time and effort to deploy before a storm, impact hurricane windows are made with specialized glass that can withstand hurricane-force winds by maintaining bond to the window frame, protecting you and your home from strong winds and damage.

Automated Hurricane Protection

There are different types of automated hurricane protection options, including retractable hurricane screens and motorized rolling shutters.

Retractable hurricane screens operate on a motor and come down with a flip of a switch. They are specially designed to fit wherever they are needed, whether it’s for the windows, doors, or even large veranda openings. You only need a moment’s notice if a hurricane is coming, and you just flip the switch and the retractable hurricane screens come right down, reducing the time and effort involved in other protection options.

Motorized rolling shutters are exceptionally durable and are also motorized for easy deployment. Their strength is what sets them apart. Made from aluminum, these rolling shutters are designed to withstand High-Category hurricanes and storms to protect your Tampa Bay home.

Hurricane Fabric Protection

Hurricane fabric is ideal for building openings to protect the inside of your home or office quickly and easily. The fabric is versatile and strong and works as an excellent alternative to hurricane panels made from other types of materials, such as heavy plywood, acrylic panels, or metal. The fabric absorbs the impact of heavy flying objects that are thrown around by hurricane-force winds, reducing damage to your home even during a Category 5 hurricane, and works effectively to protect your open areas, such as lanais and porches.

Hurricane shutters

One of the more classic methods of hurricane protection, hurricane shutters are a great way to keep you and your home safe during storms and strong winds. For a more tropical look, Bahama shutters are the way to go, and work perfectly with Tampa Bay homes. They also offer hurricane storm protection for your window openings and they can be easily shut when needed.

Aluminum Colonial hurricane shutters are another practical, effective, and aesthetically pleasing way of protecting your home from hurricane damage. These aluminum shutters offer protection from flying debris and other effects of hurricanes and tropical storms.

Adding on these installments to your home can prevent leaks or damage due to hurricane-force winds and keep you and your family safe.

How Can You Stay Safe After a Hurricane?

While preparing for a hurricane is extremely important to ensure the safety of yourself and your family, and your home, once a hurricane occurs, it’s also important to know what you should and shouldn’t do afterward.

  1. The first thing you should do is assess the damage and figure out your insurance policies. What kind of compensation are you able to get to repair the damage? What was lost or broken? Is anything replaceable? Dealing with the loss and damage after a hurricane can be difficult… Getting help when you need it and working together with your loved ones can help you and your community recover from the loss and damage that has taken place.
  2. Listen to the local news for updates on your battery-powered radio or some other broadcasting device. Follow the instructions of your county or city and make sure you are staying up-to-date on any changes, warnings, or details.
  3. Avoid flooded areas. Floods are common during hurricanes. It’s important to take precautions and avoid areas that are prone to flooding, or that have already been flooded. Follow the warnings about flooded roads, and avoid driving through flood waters, as well. Consider investing in life jackets for you and your family in case of a flood.
  4. If your power is out, use flashlights over candles. Candles have the potential to catch something on fire. Also, make sure you do not use wet electrical devices. Turn off the power at the main breaker in your home and wait for an electrician to check it before use.
  5. Take precautions around damaged rooms or buildings. The roof could fall in or something could break, making these areas unsafe environments. Do not enter damaged areas until local authorities deem it safe.
  6. Keep away from power lines. These could fall or cause electrocution. If you have a working phone, call the electric company to report any fallen power lines that you come across to protect yourself and your community from electrical hazards.
  7. Take care of yourself. Make sure you are eating safe food and uncontaminated water and monitoring your health. Listen to reports on local water safety. Bottled water is your best bet.

It’s important to take the proper steps and precautions to prepare yourself and your family for a potential hurricane. Stocking up on supplies, adding effective installations to your home, and understanding how to stay safe if a hurricane does occur can all help you make the best decisions for safety and preparation.

This article is brought to you by West Shore Construction. We specialize in keeping the Tampa Bay residents safe with our hurricane protection services and 30+ years of expertise. To learn more about how you can prepare your home to keep you and your family safe this hurricane season, call us today 727-488-8182.