June 1st marks the start of hurricane season. 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.
Hurricane Readiness Checklist
Health and Safety:
- Cloth face coverings (for everyone age 2 and above)
- 1 flashlight and batteries per person
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- Liquid soap and hand sanitizer
- Tooth-brushing pads
- Water purification kit
- Extra batteries
- Fire extinguisher
- Two-week supply of prescription drugs
- Extra eyeglasses and contact lens solution
- Insect repellent
- Cleanup supplies
- Backup phone battery
- Flat fixer for tires
- Work gloves
- Full tank of gas
- Appropriate clothes for post-storm: hat, closed-toed shoes, dry socks, and rain gear
- Animal care
- Games and activities for kids
Food and Drink:
- 1 gallon of drinking water per day, per person
- Non-potable water for hygienic use
- Propane gas for barbeque grill
- Two coolers for food and ice
- Manual can opener
- Nonperishable food
- Plastic tableware and cups
- Plastic bags and plastic wrap
- Toilet paper and paper towels
- Wet wipes
- Fuel for folding stoves
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
First-Aid Kit Including:
- Pain relievers
- Anti-diarrheal medication
- Medications for common illnesses
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Infant medicine
- Baby formula
Important Phone Numbers
Emergency (Fire, Police, Medical) Call 911
- Federal Emergency Management Agency: 1-800-621-3362
- Florida Emergency Information Hotline: 1-800-342-3557
- Florida Power and Light: 1-800-468-8243
- Lee County Electric: 1-800-599-2356
- Attorney General's Price Gauging Hotline: 1-800-966-7226
Local Government Phone Numbers:
- Miami-Dade County Government: 305-388-6782
- Collier County Government: 239-252-8999
- Hendy County Government: 863-675-5220
For Additional Resources and Information:
- www.fema.gov - Federal Emergency Management Agency
- www.ready.gov - Department of Homeland Security
- www.redcross.org - American Red Cross
- www.nws.noaa.gov - National Weather Services
- www.noaa.gov - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
What to do After a Hurricane
- Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
- Check in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
- Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed out.
- Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storms.
- Download the FEMA app to receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service.
- Sign up for community alerts in your area and be aware of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) - which requires no-sign up.
- Visit Ready.gov/hurricanes or Ready.gov/es/huracanes (en Español) for more readiness tips.
Basic Preparedness Tips
- Know your zone.
- 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.
- Snap photos of important documents and save them online or in a secure place you can access during an emergency
- 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.
Prepare 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.