Hurricane Dorian changing direction, expected to gain strength

On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 19-190, declaring all 67 counties of Florida under a State of Emergency. The new order is an amendment to Wednesday’s declaration, which covered only a limited number of counties expected to be impacted.

The LSCU is monitoring the path of Hurricane Dorian, which is expected to continue to gain strength as it heads northwest, towards Florida. Though currently a Category 2, Dorian is predicted to become a Category 4 hurricane, with winds of at least 130 mph, and it could strike the U.S. on Labor Day. The National Hurricane Center says it will “remain an extremely dangerous hurricane through the weekend.’’

Also, the predicted landfall has shifted southward landfall now being predicted in the Palm Beach area, a slowing down of the forward direction, and a marked turn to the right (North) through the central part of Florida.

Throughout the holiday weekend, the LSCU will continue to watch the storm. Look for updates on LSCU.coop. The Southeastern Credit Union Foundation offers disaster resources here.

Please be sure your home and your credit union are prepared for the storm:

  1. Check emergency kit materials
    Refresh everyone’s memory of where the emergency kit is located. Check expiration dates of materials in the kit to assure perishable items will last for at least another year, including food, water and batteries. According to FEMA, here’s a full list of materials to include in a basic emergency kit.
  2. Update your emergency plan
    A basic plan should have a meeting place in case disaster hits and your home becomes unsafe, as well as at least two escape routes. Each year, make sure to remind everyone of the meeting place, ensure it is still a safe location and evaluate everyone’s escape routes to avoid new obstructions. Take into account any special needs of children, seniors, people with disabilities, family members who don’t speak English and pets.
  3. Know how to turn off your utilities
    Learn where the utility shut-offs are located and how to operate them. Turning off gas mains can prevent leaks and turning off electricity can help prevent potential fires started by electrical sparks. Additionally, turning off your water main can help prevent flooding.
  4. Practice home safety
    Home safety should be observed year-round, not just in the event of an impending disaster. Install smoke detectors in each room of your home and replace the batteries every six months. Store heavy items on the lowest shelves. Combustible items such as firewood, picnic tables, boats and flammable liquids should be kept separately and 50 feet from your home and other structures.
  5. Prepare your insuranceGetting ready for a natural disaster actually starts by choosing your insurance policy. Ask yourself: Do I have enough insurance to repair or replace my home if it is damaged or destroyed? Mercury recommends you get an insurance check-up from your agent or broker once a year to help you make an informed decision about the coverage you need.
  6. Catalog your property
    Recovering from a disaster takes time. To ease this process, keep a detailed inventory of your property and update it annually. Photos and videos of your home can be presented to insurance adjusters to help your claim. Mashable,a technology blog, provides a list of eight home inventory apps that make creating inventory of your property easy. Visit the Mercury Insurance website for additional tips to help with the claims process in the event your home suffers damage.