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With an early-active hurricane season this year, many of us have begun to think about our hurricane preparedness, plans, and precautions. To ensure our clients have everything they could hypothetically need, I’ve put together a brief summary of how to be prepared for any natural disaster with corresponding links for reference.
First, you should know if you live in an evacuation area. Florida provides maps of each county distinguishing the evacuation zones by severity. To view your county map, follow corresponding links at the end of this article. For those who are first-time homeowners, or have just moved into a new area, it is highly suggested that you find out what type of emergencies could happen and how to respond. Do so by contacting your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office.
Next, there are more than just your cell-phone contacts that you will need on hand. In the event of any natural disaster or emergency, have a list of contact information for the following:
- Emergency Management Offices
- County Law Enforcement
- County Public Safety Fire/Rescue
- State, County and City/Town Government
- Local Hospitals
- Local Utilities
- Local American Red Cross
- Local Television Stations
- Local Radio Stations
- Your Property Insurance Agent
Then, put together a disaster supplies kit. Consider storage location for different situations, but keep your important documents within close range in a water-proof/air-sealed container for an unexpected fleeting-moment. A basic disaster supplies
- Water. One gallon per-person (or pet), per-day, for at least three days. (For drinking and sanitation).
- Food. At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Battery-powered (or hand-crank) Radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alerts, and extra batteries for both.
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Whistle (to signal for help).
- Duct mask (to help filter contaminated air), plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter-in-place).
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation).
- Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities).
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food).
- Local maps.
Additional items to consider adding would be items like prescription medication and glasses, infant formula and diapers, pet food, sleeping bag, feminine supplies and personal hygiene products, activities for children, etc. For a downloadable FEMA Emergency Supply Kit Checklist, click here.
After solidifying your supplies kit, develop and document plans for your specific risks. This starts with 4 questions:
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is my family/household communication plan?
Consider specific needs in your household and tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily needs and responsibilities. This may include age differences, diet needs, medical needs, pets or service animals. For a downloadable Emergency Plan for Parents, click here.
Next, follow guidelines to protect and guard your community’s health and environment during and after the storm. Reviewing the recommended suggestions from the following will help with decision making in the heat of the moment.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC): health considerations
U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA): food and water safety guidelines
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): suggestions for health and environmental safety
After the disaster, wait until the area is declared safe before returning home. Keep in mind that recovering from a natural disaster is a gradual process. For government suggestions and resources, click here.
County Evacuation Maps:
Article Reference: Hurricane Preparedness – Be Ready, National Hurricane Center (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Web 6.15.18.
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