June 1st marks the start of hurricane season in Florida. As Floridians, we are all too familiar with the destructive power of these storms. Begin preparing your family by reviewing the steps you should take before, during, and after a storm. By creating an emergency plan and gathering items for a supply kit, you can reduce the impact of a hurricane. My office has prepared this checklist with suggested items for a kit, including important phone numbers. Post it in a central place in your home where it is visible and accessible by all of your family members.
FEMA's www.ready.gov is full of informative tips and suggestions on how to prepare your home and family for a natural disaster. Here are some excerpts of their preparation tips. You'll find more on their website.
Basic Preparedness Tips
- Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
- Put together a go-bag: disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate
- If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
- Make a family emergency communication plan.
- Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.
Preparing Your Home
- Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
- Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
- Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows, and doors, including the garage doors.
- Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
- Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.
The websites below provide additional resources you and your family may find useful.