As Hurricane Ian made its way toward Florida, my family and I geared up for flash floods, crazy winds, and outages in Naples. 

The hurricane prep made me think back to two other hurricanes I experienced in Connecticut and how we, as real estate agents, can step up to serve our communities when natural disasters strike. 

Before Hurricane Ian made landfall, I relocated to Miami for a few days to avoid power outages and ensure my family was safe. Now, as we watch the destruction of some of our favorite Florida locations on the news, it’s a stark reminder that natural disasters can change everything at a moment’s notice. 

Personal safety and home security quickly become the only priorities that matter. And once the storm has cleared, it can be a long road to returning to normalcy. As an agent, there is ample opportunity to serve your community and the people who need it most during these times. We discussed ways to help on yesterday’s Walk Thru:

Here are a few ways you can help your community during natural disasters. 

Make Sure Your Family Is Safe

If a natural disaster is headed your way, you first need to make sure you and your family are safe. This always comes first. 

From there, make sure your house is in order, have a plan, and know your evacuation route.

Give Back to Your Community

If you have the motivation, energy, and ambition to be a part of your community and give back, this is the best time to do it. 

People remember the agents that step up. Think back to the beginning of the pandemic and other storms that have taken place. Those who stepped up became an integral part of their communities. 

Here are a few ways to help during and immediately following a natural disaster:

  • Be proactive. The minute Hurricane Sandy cleared up in Connecticut, I grabbed a chainsaw and jumped in the car. I was on the way to check on a waterfront listing that was supposed to close the following week for a homeowner. On my way to assess the damage, I encountered a lot of trees on the road that I could easily clear with the chainsaw. This was a simple thing that helped make the roads a bit safer as I helped a client. 
  • Share resources. There’s been a lot of discourse in the Naples community group on Facebook about hurricane shutter installation, but I haven’t seen any local agents chiming in. This is an opportunity to be part of the community and help out. Agents have endless information and resources and should be sharing as much as possible during these times. 
  • Reach out to clients. Before a storm arrives, offer to help put up hurricane shutters and prepare properties for those who need assistance. Once the storm clears, reach out to current and past clients. Offer to check on properties or help with clean-up. Even calling to check in goes a long way.  

Be a Reporter

If you’re evacuating, there are still things you can do to help. Passing information along is an authentic way to offer a helping hand. 

Give updates on how much traffic there is on the evacuation route, what gas stations still have fuel, and which Walmart still has water in stock. This can help people tremendously.

Continue to Educate

For those in high-risk areas, educate homeowners in your area on disaster preparation. 

This is especially important if buyers are moving from a different state and aren’t used to more extreme weather. And always talk to your clients about home insurance. 

Hurricane Ian Relief

After any natural disaster, affected areas need volunteers, donations, and blood. 

There are already a number of organizations helping those affected by recent hurricanes, including the American Red Cross and FOX. They have partnered to collect donations for disaster relief efforts in Florida and Puerto Rico.