If you are “evacuating” or just spending time away from hurricanes, please let a neighbor know in case we have to locate people for any reason. If you are staying, please do not panic and empty the store shelves – we do have some time to consider what we may need to do.
Here are some other suggestions from professionals –
- Stock up on supplies. Essential supplies include non-perishable and non-frozen food, bottled water, a first aid kit, flashlight, batteries, and a generator. Get them soon if you wait until the storm is imminent, stores may be sold out of necessities.
- Learn the evacuation routes from your area, and develop an evacuation plan before the storm gets close. Print out evacuation routes in advance your power or internet may go out in the event of a storm. The websitehttp://floridadisaster.org/ is very useful, and has preparation tips and up-to-date evacuation maps for every county in the state.
- Protect your property make copies of important documents and back up your electronic data. Unplug your electronic devices and keep them off the ground (by putting them on top of tables or cabinets), so they aren’t damaged by water. Make sure all your gates and doors are securely locked, so the wind does not rip them from their hinges.
At the bottom of this message is a “Northwest Florida Extreme Weather Information Sheet” from NOAA that you may find useful. NOAA’s Extreme Weather website has a lot of information, for Northwest Florida and other regions across the country.
- Your smartphone can be the most powerful way to get prepared before the storm and help you navigate what comes after. Consider downloading the following apps or bookmarking the following websites:
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency: app at fema.gov/mobile-app and web page at ready.com. Offers storm preparation tips, shelter maps and maps of disaster recovery centers.
- Find an Evacuation Route: Go to FL511.com or the FL511 app. If you’re evacuating, these sites provide a guide to road and bridge closures, toll suspensions and evacuation routes. You can also go to them after the storm to check road conditions and road closures.
- Find Local Shelters: Go to floridaevacuates.com. Enter your location to find the nearest open shelter. You can also download their app.
- Power Outages: Report outages at fpl.com/outage or call 800-4-OUTAGE. To check power outages in your neighborhood, go to fplmaps.com, where you can find the total outages in your area, the cause and estimates for when power will be restored.
- First Aid for People and Pets: Two Red Cross apps give advice on first aid for people and pets.Find them here: redcross.org/get-help/pr
- Home improvement stores, gas stations, and grocery stores are likely to be busy as the storm approaches, which is why it is important to have a list planned out ahead of time. Here is a great sample checklist:
- Bottled water: Figure on 20 gallons for a family of four.
- Fruit, canned and dry goods: 20 cans of tuna, chicken, beans, chili, soups, can opener; fresh fruit; peanut butter, powdered drink mix, juices, cookies, cracker, chips, bread, pet food.
- Medications: Be sure you have prescription medications for up to two weeks.
- Batteries: All sizes to power flashlights.
- Paper goods: Freezer bags, garbage bags, paper plates, paper towels and bleach and bug spray