How to protect your place, your car, your pets, and everything else

Here’s the info we have so far on how to protect your belongings during Hurricane Irma. Keep the questions coming on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below.

What are landlords legally required to do? Do they have to put up shutters? 

Submitted by Ilene Prusher

Neither you nor your landlord is legally required to put up hurricane shutters. If your landlord doesn’t want to, it might still in your best interest to put some plywood up yourself – especially if you don’t have renter’s insurance. 

The landlord will be responsible for any structural damage to the property, but you’ll be responsible for covering damage to any of your belongings.

Here are details on renter’s insurance.

What should I do with my valuables?

First, take pictures of anything valuable, including important documents like marriage and birth certificates, insurance paperwork, leases, passports, and immigration papers. AARP has a pretty solid rundown of items and what to do with them.

Store all of it in waterproof containers. If you don’t have that, bag it up in heavy-duty trash bags. Store it in your bathroom, which is generally one of the safest rooms in a house because of its lack of windows and all the plumbing around it.

Where can I take my pet?

Submitted by Ben Evans

If you have to leave your home, there are two evacuation shelters where you are allowed to bring your pets. They’re at E. Darwin Fuchs Pavilion at 10901 SW 24th St., Miami, FL 33165 and Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School at 1410 County Line Road, Miami, FL 33179.

Miami-Dade County Animal Services has more tips and checklists for keeping your furry friend safe. Private animal boarding facilities are also likely an option.

What should I do with my car?

Submitted by Ben Evans

Municipal garages will be opening up all over the county once a tropical storm warning, hurricane warning, or evacuation order has been issued.

If you’re a Miami Beach resident, you can park your car in a municipal garage. Call the Miami Beach Parking Department at 305-673-7505 to verify which garages are open. You can leave your car there free of charge until normal city operations resume. 

The City of Miami has a similar system, but you have to sign up in advance. Here is the information on how to do that. One car per household can park in a city garage for free.

Metrorail stations may also be opened up for free parking, just keep an ear out for an official announcement from Miami-Dade Transit.

Some general tips: Don’t park under any trees if you can help it, and if you can — leave you car inside a garage. Parking next to buildings provides some protection from wind, but don’t park by windows.

Try to avoid parking by a storm drain on a street – that’s a low-point and your car is more likely to be flooded.

Here are details on car insurance.

What should I do if there’s a construction site near me with unsecured debris?

Submitted by @elsergecruz, Heather Osowiecki 

Contractors are required to remove or secure all materials at a construction site. Contact them immediately if they have not done that. If they don’t address the problem, call 3-1-1, the county emergency hotline, and report the site so they can get on that. Make sure you have any windows facing the site protected with shutters or plywood.


  • dje3

    so much bs….trees can travel long distances in hurricanes and there is so little parking available in lots that not many can use it. Also, how would you plan to get to and from your car?
    Good luck.

    Best option is to THINK about how the wind will blow through from every direction around. Pick the best you can and if necessary use the building to shield the car from falling trees. Use the car to shield the building gable ends from high winds. the building and cars can work together to reduce overall damage. Remember, as long as your car is drivable then you have transport. As long as your house’s walls stand you will have a place to sleep. Take the long view.

    If your building is not deigned to 140MPH and you have 130 mph winds then get out….find shelter in a house or place that has hurricane resistant design. Very few houses are designed to 160 mph so if it gets that bad…..