hurricane preparation

Neighbors Know No Distance: Supporting Those Preparing for Hurricane Florence

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Just a year ago, Hurricane Irma pounded the entire state of Florida with powerful winds, heavy rains that resulted in flooding, and major damage to homes and businesses alike. While much of our state has recovered, or are in the process of recovering, we are no stranger to the catastrophic impact of a hurricane on daily life of residents in the path of the storm. In our time of need, states surrounding us offered a helping hand and support, whether it be countless linemen that gave their time and efforts to restore our power more quickly, relief organizations that sent food, water,r and clothing, or simply friends and neighbors out of state that offered a place of refuge for those who chose to evacuate. Now, Hurricane Florence is threatening our neighbors to the north, and we have a chance to pay back some of the kindness shown to us last year. So, how can we help those preparing to go through a storm of this magnitude?

First, a friendly word of encouragement and some advice based from experience can go a long way. If you have friends or family who have never ridden out a storm like this before, let them know they'll likely be ok, and offer some pointers on preparing. No one knows hurricanes like Floridians! Tips like stocking up on more water than you think you'll need, non perishable food items, flashlights and batteries, etc. as well as charging all devices ahead of the storm are very helpful for those who have never had to do anything like this in the past. Additionally, your advice could help them get ahead of the game and purchase their supplies before the stores are overrun and shelves empty out. Offer a listening ear if they're feeling anxious, and give insight on ways they can best feel prepared and ready for Florence to come into town.

If you have the means, offering your own home as a place of safety is often appreciated. Many people haven't budget for multiple days in a hotel, and if you pair that with the gas money needed to travel, they might be tempted to ride out the storm even if in an unsafe location. By offering your home, you take away the financial obligation of evacuating, meaning they're free to make the safest choice, not just the most affordable. For those of us here in Central Florida, we are (for once) a safe distance from the storm's impact, which means many locals could offer this gesture of kindness. 

Donate and volunteer. If you can, volunteer with local relief agencies in your area to pack trucks with water and other needed supplies. These organizations often go in after the storm to help with recovery efforts and to assist those who are running out of supplies and are unable to get more. In addition to your time, donating monetary gifts, or donating actual supplies like cases of water, canned goods, diapers, etc. go a long way in helping them help other people. In Winter Haven, Lakeland, and surrounding towns, call your favorite local missions, churches, and relief organizations and find out if they have plans in place to offer support before and/or after the storm. If not, you could be the catalyst that starts a drive for needed items in our community! 

Finally, practice kindness. While we might not be preparing for the storm this time around, we remember well the stress and anxiety that come along with a hurricane of this magnitude. Instead of getting frustrated by heavy traffic caused by people feeling the storm, take a minute to let some people in front of you on the highway. When you're tempted to complain that your store is out of a particular item because the excess was shipped up north, instead be thankful that your home and community isn't threatened this time around. There is always a way to practice kindness, and that is perhaps the most important thing you can remember during any type of crisis. 

Newton Peach Marketing is proud to be a small business in the heart of Winter Haven, and we believe in supporting our neighbors, our community, and other local companies and brands. We are trusted by locals because we are locals. As a marketing company based in Florida where severe weather is commonplace at certain times of the year, we have an extra dose of compassion for those preparing for Florence in the coming hours and days. Good luck to our friends and neighbors up North! You are in our thoughts and prayers. 

Be Prepared in Polk: Getting Ready for Hurricane Irma

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Hurricane Irma is dominating the local news, and according to all projections, she will be pressing down on the entire state of Florida starting tomorrow. We are all gearing up for the worst case scenario, from the east coast all the way out west to Sarasota and Tampa. As we prepare for the storm, worries like wind damage, flooding, and/or water damage from rain are causing concern for many residents, and for good reason. These can be catastrophic to your home and your possessions, and can have far-reaching effects on your life if they get to your important paperwork and vital records. Central Florida is just as much at risk as our coastal neighbors for wind and water damage from this storm, and we are encouraging everyone we know to be prepared. 

As you get ready for Hurricane Irma, here are some important tips to keep in mind: 

Protect Your Papers. Social security cards, birth certificates, deeds to your property and vehicle(s), important papers about legal issues (such as custody agreements and terms of a recent divorce or separation) and any financial documents should be kept as secure as possible. Consider scanning these documents onto a small, portable flash drive that can be kept on your person. Opt for a drive that is durable and, if possible, waterproof. Keep this on your keys, or anywhere that will be with you regardless of circumstances so you know you have backups of any paperwork in the event that your home and/or possessions are lost or damaged. If you want an off-site (and off-person) solution, look for well-encrypted, reputable third party storage options that offer online storage with optimum security features. They might cost a bit more than typical online storage, but it's worth it to keep your information safe from storms AND from hackers. 

Carry Cash. If power goes down, stores will likely lose the ability to take any kind of digital payment such as mobile pay or credit/debit cards, if they're able to open at all. If you can, pull out cash before the storm hits, so you know you have a backup way to purchase emergency needs following the storm. A good rule of thumb is to have at least $200 in cash, but do what you can afford. Some cash is better than none at all! 

Have Important Contact Numbers Stored Offsite. Many of us keep all our contact information, for everyone from our mom to our pool cleaning service, in our cell phone. If your phone was lost or damaged, would you remember all the numbers you need? If the answer is no, consider listing out all important contact names, numbers, and pertinent information and emailing them to yourself so you have them in an online storage format where you can access them from anywhere. Important numbers to include are family members, doctors, financial and insurance personnel (like your insurance advisor), and any other vital contacts. 

We hope these tips help you feel more prepared for Irma, in addition to the stockpiling of water, food, batteries, and boarding up your homes. Newton Peach Marketing is right in the midst of this storm with you from our Winter Haven location, and we'll be here working alongside you after it's over. To all of our fellow Floridians, stay safe!