There’s so many things to love about Central Florida: the theme parks, the beautiful weather, the natural beauty, affordable housing, etc., and although the state is relatively safe with a moderate crime rate, it’s important to make concrete plans for coping with the subtropical climate, the native wildlife, and even the traffic. Here are some important tips Central Florida homeowners should always keep in mind to keep yourself and your family safe.
Due to Florida’s latitude, the sun is intense, particularly in the late morning and early afternoon. Additionally, long, hot summers are marked by high humidity, frequently pushing the heat index well above 100ºF. Because of this, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and sunburn are all common problems that plague Floridians (even during spring and fall). It’s important to drink 6-8 glasses of water every day and apply sunscreen frequently whenever you’re outdoors—even on cloudy days. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and even a hat to protect your eyes and face and seek shade whenever possible. If you feel faint, nauseous, develop a throbbing headache or stop perspiring (all of which are signs of a heat stroke), go inside immediately and seek help. Use a fan or AC in the summer or open windows to keep your house cool. Most importantly, do not leave children or pets in a parked car as they heat up incredibly fast in the Floridian sun.
The sun isn’t the only weather-related danger here, though. Afternoon thunderstorms occur almost daily throughout Florida during the summer and, although the storms only last an hour or two, they can be violent. Florida is the lightning capital of the US—more people are injured here by lightning strikes each year than anywhere else in the country. Our thunderstorms also spawn nearly as many tornadoes as the famous Tornado Alley. Additionally, hurricane season lasts all the way from June to November. Especially during these months, monitor weather forecasts. If you ever hear thunder, it means lightning isn’t far behind. Move away from trees and bodies of water and seek shelter. If you’re on the road, use caution while driving as roadways can flood unexpectedly.
Spending a day at the beach is an excellent way to cool off and take advantage of a clear, sunny day. Florida’s beaches are generally well maintained and lifeguards are typically on duty but there are still hazards every beachgoer should be cautious of. Pay attention to lifeguard instructions and warning flags and, if you’re ever caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you’re clear. Supervise your children while swimming or around water and make sure they know how to swim and stay afloat. New swimmers should use a floating device or life vest when appropriate. Also, wear shoes while walking on the beach to protect your feet from glass and hot sand.
If you’d rather be on the water than in it, follow boat operation courtesies and guidelines. Never operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, follow posted speed limit signs and be aware of your surroundings at all times, whether that’s other boaters or Mother Nature. Make sure to keep a safe distance from other boats and obstacles and constantly monitor your weather radio and head for shore if the weather changes. Do not be out on the water during a lightning storm.
Whenever Central Florida transitions into a warmer weather pattern, wildlife becomes more active, finding their ways near—or even inside—homes. Alligators tend to get more active and aggressive through the warm months of the year so it’s imperative to leave them alone or even consider installing a fence that’s at least four and a half feet tall around your property to keep them out of your yard. In the spring and early summer, males will travel from pond to pond to find their mate so be sure to keep your own pets leashed and away from murky water. Swimming in lakes in Central Florida can be hazardous- always assume that there are alligators present. Remember to never feed the gators and only swim in designated swimming areas. Snakes are another common animal to see as the weather warms up. Only six of the 60 species native to Florida are venomous but you should never approach or grab a snake. Look before reaching into any cool, dark places as those tend to be perfect hiding spots for these reptiles.
The last major danger to Floridians is the road. Not only are our roads flood-prone but full of heavy traffic in tourist areas, most especially Orlando. Use a navigation app that utilizes local crowd-sourced information to let you know where to expect accidents and other road hazards. Toll roads are typically well-maintained and lightly trafficked, so consider them as an alternative to the interstates. As with anywhere, be aware of your surroundings. Follow the speed limit and all posted signs and use defensive driving skills in areas that are heavily populated with tourists. Once again, if you find yourself needing to drive in the rain, reduce your speed, increase the distance between your vehicle and those around you, and remain cautious to reduce your chances of a collision.
Above all, if you want to stay safe in Central Florida, follow the common-sense guidelines you would anywhere else. Our Apex Security team of Central Florida security guards are posted in communities and businesses throughout the area, and we are looking out for your safety and welfare. Central Florida is not just a great place to go on vacation, but an incredible area to live as well. Let’s enjoy this beautiful place where we live and stay safe!