ORLANDO, Fla. — The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, peaking in August through October, and Florida is a bull’s-eye for hurricanes.
If you are new to the Sunshine State, here are nine important tips to know about living through a hurricane.
1. CREATE A PLAN:
Floridians know that when a hurricane is potentially hitting the Sunshine State, it’s best to be ready days before.
Decide whether you are staying home or if you need to evacuate. Coastal locations are prone to mandatory evacuation, so be ready to leave at moment’s notice.
Just because you are inland doesn’t mean you won’t be told to evacuate. The orders to evacuate are issued based on historical flood maps and the strength of the storm.
If you are in a mobile home, leave. Mobile homes can sustain severe damage even during weaker storms.
2. EVACUATION PREPAREDNESS: FIND SHELTER, EVACUATION ROUTE:
- The American Red Cross has evacuation route information for your county: https://rdcrss.org/2LcJ2ft
- If you plan to evacuate, you can find open shelters in your area via this FEMA app: https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app
- Assemble supplies (nonperishable food, water, first-aid kit etc.) that are ready for evacuation, such as a “go-bag” you can carry when you evacuate.
- Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
- Secure your home. Closing and lock doors and windows. Unplug electrical equipment such as radios, televisions and small appliances. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding. If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving.
- Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hat.
3. SHELTERING IN PLACE: WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE STAYING HOME:
- Ahead of the storm, trim trees on your property, shop for approved window coverings, collect loose outdoor items, secure your doors and find a safe location for your vehicle.
- You should cover all windows with shutters or plywood.
- If you plan to ride the storm out at home, make sure you have a “safe room” to go into when the storm hits. If you don’t have a storm shelter, you should be in an interior room of the house (no outside walls, if possible).
- Consider purchasing a generator. If you do, never run it inside your house.
4. MAKE A COMMUNICATION PLAN:
Devise a family communication plan. It can be difficult to keep in touch with family members during a storm.
Whether you are staying at home or evacuating, make sure you let someone know where you are or where you are going, such as an out-of-state family or friend.
Here’s a checklist to help put together a communication plan: http://bit.ly/2zsISeC
- Keep your furbabies safe! Never leave them behind to ride out a storm.
- List of hotels that accept pets: http://bit.ly/2MG2HHZ
- Link to pet-friendly emergency shelters: http://bit.ly/2U9ixvu
- Link to an Emergency Route Planner that shows you hotels and shelters that accept pets along the route you enter: http://bit.ly/2LhjrlF
- The American Humane Society offers tips on preparing your pet for hurricanes: http://bit.ly/2zo52hU
6. FINANCIAL AND OTHER IMPORTANT RECORDS:
Get financial records organized. Need help? Use this checklist: http://bit.ly/2HJjcyX
7. MAKE AN INVENTORY OF YOUR BELONGINGS:
Here’s a link to tips on creating a home inventory to help with insurance claims: http://bit.ly/30GcLE6
8. CHECK YOUR INSURANCE POLICY:
This hurricane insurance guide explains storm coverage and helps you determine if the insurance you have is adequate: http://bit.ly/2L2x1uk
9. PUT TOGETHER A SURVIVAL KIT :
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and an NOAA weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
- Can opener for food
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
- Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air
- Emergency reference material such as a first-aid book
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Fire extinguisher
- First aid kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Click/tap here for a list of food that doesn’t need refrigeration.
- Household chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper. Dilute nine parts water to one part bleach to use as a disinfectant.
- Identification and bank account records; store them in a waterproof, portable container
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies
- Infant formula and diapers
- Local maps
- Matches in a waterproof container, or waterproof matches (look for them at places that sell camping equipment)
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Paper and pencil
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Sheeting and duct tape
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Whistle to signal for help
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Follow our Severe Weather team on Twitter for live updates:
- Chief meteorologist Tom Terry
- Brian Shields
- Irene Sans
- Kassandra Crimi
- George Waldenberger
- Rusty McCranie
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