If you live along the Florida coastline, it is extremely important to prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm. The National Hurricane Center states that there are two main elements contributing to safety during a storm: Advance preparation, and putting that preparation into action when emergency personnel alerts you to do so.

Below are six ways to help you prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm.

1. Have an Evacuation Plan

Storm surge is the main reason people need to evacuate during a hurricane. According to the National Hurricane Center, a storm surge is an abnormal rise of water due to the storm’s winds. It can span hundreds of miles of coastline and rise to heights over 20 feet.

One way to prepare for a hurricane, officials suggest, is to find out now if you live in a hurricane evacuation area. This is an area where residents are required to evacuate if a hurricane occurs. Your local government has information on these areas as well as evacuation plans that you can review in advance.

Even if you do not live in an area prone to storm surge, it is still beneficial to prepare for a hurricane for safety.

2. Buy Supplies Now

One of the most essential acts of preparation is buying provisions ahead of time. If you wait until the last minute, you will be dealing with crowds and stores quickly running out of supplies. Keep these emergency items easily accessible in case you need to evacuate.

Having a hurricane survival kit on hand is essential if you live in an evacuation area. Even though shelters have supplies, they can get overcrowded and run out. Have a kit that you can easily bring to an evacuation shelter. It should contain food, water, clothing, and blankets.

3. Look Over Your Insurance Policies

Another way to prepare for a hurricane is to look over your insurance policy. Standard home and renters insurance does not cover flooding. You will need to specifically purchase separate flood insurance.

Contact your insurance agent well in advance to buy flood insurance so that you are covered before disaster strikes. This coverage is important even if you don’t live right on the coastline.

4. Copy Important Documents

Make copies of proof of ownership documents of your home, boats, cars and any other belongings. Store them in your hurricane kit, or another place where it will be safe from hurricane damage.

5. Make Your Home Storm-Ready

Inspect your property for any damage that could be made worse by a hurricane. Structural issues such as damaged roofs or loose shingles should be repaired before hurricane season comes around.

Make a list of anything in the front or backyards that will blow away during a storm. Move these items inside right before the storm hits.

Finally, residents should purchase supplies, including plywood to cover windows and extra security to keep doors from blowing open, in advance, to secure their homes from damaging winds.

6. Back Up Electronics

It is important to have extra chargers and batteries during a hurricane, as well as backing up any electronic devices. In case your computer becomes damaged in the hurricane, data needs to be stored somewhere safe so it can be easily recovered. Take the data with you, or keep it at an off-site location.

Follow these steps to prepare for a hurricane and you will feel less stressed and better prepared. This is especially true if you live in Florida – a hurricane-prone area. Having a plan and preparing ahead of time is essential for storm safety.