June 1st. marked the beginning of “Hurricane Season” in S. W. Florida. It lasts until November 30th, 2013, that is 5 full months of time; what do we do for 5 months? At first we worry, then we get complacent, then we just deny the fact that hurricanes really exist, UNTIL the day that rogue storm comes up the harbor.
This is an automotive section and an automotive related article, and you might be wondering exactly what I’m going to write about. After living through Donna in Brooklyn, Andrew, when it hit Miami and of course Charley, has taught me a great deal about preparation and execution of a plan.
First, and this especially important to our new residents, of which I had the pleasure of meeting at the Hurricane Expo. Look at your life, i.e. are you willing to sit out a storm, or will you just decide to leave. Remember all of your valuables are at risk. Sentimental articles like family bibles, and pictures, artifacts that have been handed down from generation to generation, need to be earmarked and put into safe storage facilities.
This does not mean storage units, it means safety deposit boxes, or specialized storage units that have been certified as hurricane proof. Don’t forget to put all of your insurance policies including your vehicle insurance and titles, and of course wills and trusts.
Secondly; decide which room will be your safe room, know exactly how many of you will be in it and how many supplies you will bring with you. That means that you can’t have 6 people, 2 dogs and a cooler in the bathroom.
With all of this said, if you are going to ride out the storm, get a generator NOW! If you don’t know where to get one call me and I will refer you to a reputable dealer. Stay away from the big box stores, Wallmart or Sams, because, while it may start this year it may not next year and parts for those no- name generators are sometimes hard if not impossible to find. If you already have a generator, when was the last time it was started and the voltage output checked. Once again know where you are going to put this generator when the power goes out, and believe me it will, a number of times during “the season”.
We service generators here at Gregg’s and while it is not our main business we try to fulfill all of our client’s needs. But if we need to, we can once again refer you to reputable dealers. Last of all if you have a generator, you must know how to hook it to the house so that you don’t burn down your house or injure a lineman when the grid goes up. If this is all Greek to you call us, and we will point you in the right direction.
If you have decided that you are going to evacuate the area should a storm come close, here are your MUST DO’S:
1. Have more than one destination in mind at all times, storms change direction all of the time.
2. Have drinking water, fresh fruit and veggies packed in a small cooler in the car.
3. Visit your ATM and get Cash. When the power goes down so does the ATMS and you won’t be able to reach your bank.
4. Know in advance when you are going to go. If you wait for the word EVACUATE it’s too late.
1. Make sure that you have good tires that are properly inflated. This is not the time to get a flat.
2. Have your vehicle safety checked for a long trip. Expect to have to drive at least 200 miles away. That means all fluid levels checked and at their proper levels, hoses that are not soft or spongy or 10 years old. This also goes in conjunction with your drive belts.
3. Have your brakes checked and if there is 3mm or less of friction material they MUST BE REPLACED.
4. Make sure that your cooling system is in PERFECT working order. Remember Rte. 75 quickly turns into a 6 lane parking lot. Cooling fans that are not working properly, clogged radiators, swollen hoses and checked belts will NOT hold up if you’re stuck in traffic for hours on end.
5. Batteries that are over 3 1/2 years old or check as marginal when load tested will not handle the load requirements nor the starting and re starting that may go on if the highway is not moving.
6. If you have breathing issues and need to have the A/C on all of the time, make sure that they are fully charged and you have had the cabin filters checked and /or replaced. If you can deal with out the A/C open your windows as it is just an extra load on your vehicle. Many vehicles have only one belt that drives all of the accessories; if your A/C compressor fails you may lose everything.
7. Make sure you have a full tank of PREMIUM TIER 1 FUEL. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES CARRY FUEL WITH YOU IN CANS. That is a fire or worse an explosion looking for a place to happen.
8. Last carry a solar type cell phone charging station so that your cell phones will always be charged.
AND THE LAST POINT IS, IGNORE THIS ARTICLE, CALL IT POPPYCOCK, AND DO NOTHING. JUST PROMISE ME THAT YOU WILL WRITE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER ON YOUR FOREARM IN INDELIBLE MARKER SO THAT WE MAY BE ABLE TO IDENTIFY YOUR BODY WHEN WE FIND IT.
236 S. Tamiami Tr.
Punta Gorda, Fl. 33950
Auto Repair, A/C Repair, Oil Change, Brake Repair & Transmission Services