TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- As if weather problems have not caused enough headaches for Floridians recovering from springtime floods, Hurricane Season is here.
With the beginning of the hurricane season, many north Floridians, still dealing with the aftermath of the late March storms and flooding, are urged to think seriously now about re-stocking their emergency kits and reviewing their disaster plans.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Florida's Division of Emergency Management want residents to be prepared and ready to evacuate if ordered to do so.
Both organizations offer easy-to-use disaster planning guides for families to use in devising their own readiness plan. The guides are available at www.floridadisaster.org or www.ready.gov. Helpful information about reducing flood risks and the importance of flood insurance is available at www.floodsmart.gov.
Here's what to do now:
Review your family disaster plan.
- Where will you go in an evacuation? Will you stay with family or friends, go to a motel or shelter? Don't forget about pets. Many shelters will not permit them, so know in advance where pet-friendly shelters are located;
- Know your evacuation routes and stay current with traffic reports; and
- Go over your family's communication plan. Have a friend or relative in another state or city serve as a point of contact in case family members are separated.
Check or restock your portable disaster kit in case of evacuation. It should include:
- At least a three-day supply of food and bottled water for each family member;
- A manual can opener;
- Battery-powered radio and flashlights with extra batteries;
- First aid kit with family members' medications;
- Hygiene and personal care items;
- Emergency contact list and phone numbers;
- Pet supplies;
- Copies of important papers, including insurance policies and bank account information; and
- Emergency cash and credit card in the case of an evacuation with little notice.
Stay informed about storm threat, know risks, and be prepared to evacuate.
- If evacuation or a storm seems likely, reinforce windows and garage doors against strong winds;
- Be ready to move if you are instructed to leave your home for an evacuation;
- If you do not have a car, plan now for alternative means of transportation;
- If any family member has special needs, you should inform local emergency managers as part of your disaster planning; and
- Remember; don't drive through water that may contain submerged hazards.
You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plan exists, consider volunteering to help create one. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together in the event of an emergency. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism and man-made disasters.