Hurricanes are part of life for people on the coasts of the United States. Some are barely more than some heavy rain and gusty wind, but others can be devastating. With Irma closing in on the East Coast, now is the time to act. You can feel confident when it comes to your safety with these Florida hurricane preparedness tips.
Put Together Your Emergency Kit
When it comes to emergency kits, chances are good that you already have the basics. A transistor radio, a flashlight, and a first aid kit are the bare essentials, but you’ll also want to make sure you have non-perishable food items. Store them in a location that will remain dry – even in the event of flooding, and remember a can opener and utensils. Aside from this, you might think about adding the following to your kit:
- One gallon of water per person per day for a minimum of three days.
- Extra batteries for flashlight and radio.
- A whistle for signaling others for help.
- Tools for shutting off utilities such as gas and water if needed.
- Cellphone chargers and backup batteries.
- Dust masks.
- Garbage bags and baby wipes for hygiene and sanitation.
Don’t Forget the Contact List
Another important addition to your Florida hurricane preparedness kit is a list of important contacts that may come in handy. Write these numbers on heavy paper, such as cardstock, and then laminate it. This will keep it safe, even if it gets wet.
- Local emergency management offices
- County police, fire, and rescue
- Local government offices
- Local hospitals
- Local utilities
- Nearest Red Cross
- Radio and television stations
- Home insurance provider
Right Before the Storm
As the hurricane gets closer to you, it’s time to really pay close attention to the weather forecast and your local news. Local radio and NOAA weather radio are your best outlets for information. Be ready for the governor to issue evacuation orders, which occurs when storms are expected to be particularly severe. Never disobey a mandatory evacuation; these are not issued unless the situation is dire. Be sure you have an evacuation plan and route that will take you inland, and keep a list of local emergency shelters that are open to those who cannot evacuate safely.
Protect Your Home and Yourself
Before the storm hits, there are a few Florida hurricane preparedness tips that may help keep you and your home safe. If you have time, move all your outdoor furniture to a garage to prevent it from blowing in the wind and causing damage. Carry your indoor furniture to a higher level of your home, if possible. Unplug your appliances to prevent lightning damage and even electrocution in case of severe flooding, and turn off your utilities if your local companies advise it.
Florida Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Children
Storms of any kind can be terrifying for children, so it’s a good idea to prepare them in advance. You might choose to talk about what a hurricane is and how it forms. You might even watch videos online so they can see a hurricane out in the ocean. If you will be sheltering in place, ask the kids to pick one or two items that will provide them comfort. If you will evacuate, remind them that homes and material things can be replaced while families cannot, and ask them to bring one or two items that will remind them of home.
These Florida hurricane preparedness tips are just the tip of the iceberg, and you can learn more by visiting NOAA and Red Cross websites. A great site for information specific to Florida is www.FloridaDisaster.org, too. These will all provide you with up-to-date, relevant information to help you prepare.