Central Florida Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th. Now is the time to prepare your Central Florida home for a potential disaster. Here are some tips and advice to help you prepare for the upcoming season.

Have an Evacuation Plan:

The best way to protect your family is to have a disaster plan. Be sure to included your pets. Being prepared can save lives and minimize the property damage or loss.

Family Health and Safety:

  • Have a family meeting to discuss your disaster plan. Put your plan on paper and save it somewhere that it can be accessed in a time of need.
  • As part of your plan decided what you need to do if you are required to evacuate. Be sure to include your pets in the plan.
  • Have a supply kit with enough can goods and water for two weeks. Store everything in air tight containers or plastic bags
  • During Hurricane Tax Amnesty days, purchase provisions for your household or restock your hurricane survival kit.
  • Sanitize and prepare containers to store drinking water. Plan on one gallon per family member per day, for 14 days.
  • Store water using food grade plastic containers with screw caps (2-liter soda bottles work well).
  • Make ice ahead of time in one-gallon freeze bags. This well help freeze items last a little longer.
  • Restock previous hurricane supply kits including charcoal, batteries, candles, tools, tape, etc.

Seniors and Families with Special Needs:

  • Stock up on medical supplies ahead of time. Don’t wait for warnings to be posted. This will save you time and will ensure that you have what you need.
  • Arrange for oxygen for those who use it at home

Pet Health & Safety:

  • If you have to evacuate and can’t take your pet with you, make advanced arrangements for clinic or kennel care. Spaces fill quickly as storms approach.
  • Contact your local evacuation site ahead of time to find out if they take pets or not.
  • Make sure your pet it up-to-date with all of its vaccinations and licenses. Shelters will not except your pet without them.
  • Store enough pet supplies to weather the storm and for the aftermath.

Property and Household Assets:

  • Thoroughly assess your property to determine your best protective measures.
  • Trim tree limbs away from your home.
  • Contact your power company for assistance in trimming trees and limbs near power lines.
  • Anchor or stow away items that could become airborne in high winds.
  • Stock up on items such as tarps, wood and nails in case emergency repairs are needed.
  • Ensure that important papers such as insurance policies are current. Collect and store them in a water proof container.
  • Make sure your vehicles are packed and prepared for emergency evacuations.
  • Make sure you fill your gas tank too.
  • Charge your cell phones.

During the Storm:

When the winds start to pick up and the streets are deserted; emergency personnel will be waiting out the storm in safety centers. The storm will make landfall, if you are not prepared by now... you are too late. You can’t do much now but hunker down and wait.

Family Health and Safety:

  • Stay indoors and get everyone into your designated safe room before the storm hits. Stay sober. Keep food, water and first-aid supplies nearby. Pet should be with you for safety.
  • Supply your safe room with pillows, cushions, a mattress for “soft shelter”, as well as portable radio or television to stay informed about the storms developments.
  • Use flashlights. Do not use candles, kerosene lanterns or other flammable fuels. Turn off electricity before flooding begins.
  • Stay indoors. Do NOT go outside. There are three parts to the storm - the front half, the eye and the back half. The back half is the worst.
  • When the eye passes everything will go calm but remember there will be the back half of the storm.
  • Wait for officials to give you the okay to go outside.
  • If you are in a flood-prone area avoid ground floor refuge.
  • DO NOT attempt to drive away of evacuate while the storm is raging. Just “hunker down” until it is over.
  • Cover windows with blankets from the inside to protect from flying debris. A mattress can help to protect you of debris starts flying.

Pet Health and Safety:

  • Make sure all pets wear securely fastened, up-to-date identification. Write your contact information on temporary tags and place on the back of your pets ID.
  • Animals act differently under stress. Secure your pet with leashes and carriers when outside of your home. Never leave them unattended. Even the most trustworthy pets can panic, hide, bite or scratch.
  • All pets in shelters must be in an airline-approved pet carrier.
  • Transport snakes in pillowcases. Travel with food if frequent feedings are required. Take bowl of water and a heating rock.
  • Transport birds or lizards in a secure travel cage or carrier. Use a plant mister to hydrate.

Property and Household:

  • If evacuating, plan on at least four times the travel time the route would require under normal conditions. The roads will get busy and traffic will be slow.
  • Upon arrival at shelter or emergency location, update friends and family that you’re safe.
  • Vehicles should be parked in the safest possible location to minimize storm damage.
  • Monitor local news and weather updates. Keep your out-of-area point of contact updated on how you are doing.
  • Turn power off at the source if you evacuate and also during peak periods for potential outages or surges.
  • If evacuating, lockup your home.

After the Storm

How do you, your loved ones and your household begin to get back to normal? How do you know when it’s safe to leave your shelter? Who can provide assistance immediately and in the days and weeks to come after the storm.

Family and Safety:

  • Avoid driving until authorities clear roadways of debris, downed power lines, clogged storm drains and life threatening hazards.
  • Don’t drive through standing water - stranding, injuries and flash flood hazards are likely.
  • Be wary of downed power lines or broken utility lines (water, sewer, gas, phone, cable, etc.). Report these to authorities. Do not attempt to repair.
  • Storm debris may camouflage hidden dangers, including downed power lines, frightened wild animals, or contamination from sewage or fuel spills.
  • Boil water alerts occur when water supplies are contaminated. Boil for 10 minutes; re-oxygenate before using. Purify stored water: 8 drops of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon.
  • Use care in consuming canned and stored foods. Check for mold or bacteria.
  • Never use grills indoors. Have a fire extinguisher on hand.
  • Always wear shoes when outside of the home.

Pet Health and Safety:

  • Retrieve pets from shelters or care-givers as soon as it is safe to do so. Notify local shelters of lost/missing animals as soon as possible.
  • Use ID packet to assist in identification of missing animals.
  • When you return home, give your pets time to settle back into their routines.
  • Don’t allow pets outside until authorities give the all clear.

Property and Household Assets:

  • Start clearing fallen trees and major limbs debris.
  • Refrain from clothes and dish washing until all utilities have been properly restored.
  • Seek further information from emergency radio and/or your local news.