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ORLANDO, Fla. – Hurricane season will be here June 1, 2018, and lasts until Nov. 30. For the next six months, Floridians face an increased possibility of major storms and should take steps to help weather a severe storm. Forecasters predict the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be an active one, anticipating 14 named storms, with seven of those strengthening into hurricanes – and three becoming major hurricanes that are Category 3 or higher.
“Before hurricane season starts, Floridians should take steps get ready,” says 2018 Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen, broker-owner with Century 21 Hansen Realty in Fort Lauderdale. “Make sure you have an emergency plan for your family and pets, create an emergency supply kit with first aid, healthy meals and water, know your evacuation routes and the location of special needs shelters. And remember to take photos of your home – inside and outside – in case you need to provide them to your insurance company. Keep those photos, your insurance policy and other important documents in a ready-to-go carrier in case you need to evacuate because of a hurricane.”
An emergency supply kit should include nonperishable foods and supplies that meet a family’s and pet’s health and medical needs. Under a federally declared emergency, residents can get an extra 30-day prescription supply with no price increase, even for recently filled prescriptions. Talk with a health care provider and pharmacist about emergency medication supplies.
Other items to include in an emergency supply kit:
- Water – at least one gallon per person, per day, for a minimum of three days.
- Healthy foods like canned vegetables, fruits and nuts. Store at least a three-day supply of foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water.
- Prescription medications and equipment/supplies like syringes, alcohol wipes, etc.
- Manual can opener
- Pet food, medication and supplies
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio, extra batteries
- Whistle to signal for help
- First-aid kit
- Glasses, hearing aids and medical devices, along with extra batteries if required
- Cell phone with mobile chargers, car inverter or solar charger
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Dust masks to help filter contaminated air; plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place; and moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
If a family member needs daily medical assistance – routine nursing care, help with medication, oxygen therapy or electricity for life-supporting medical equipment – pre-register for a special needs shelter. FloridaDisaster.org offers a county-by-county list of special needs shelters.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency advises taking some basic steps to prepare your home for possible storms:
- Have shutters or 5/8-inch marine plywood to cover windows and doors.
- Trim trees and shrubs, clear rain gutters and, if you have a flat roof, make sure rainwater doesn’t pond and drain openings are clear.
- Consider securing roofs with additional straps or clips – if you can keep the wind out of your house, the risk of severe damage shrinks dramatically.
- Once a warning is issued, the National Weather Service says it’s time to cover windows and doors, and move light objects like garbage cans, plants and outdoor furniture indoors. But don’t bother taping windows; cover them with plywood or shutters instead.
- If you’re riding out the storm in your home, set the refrigerator on high and keep the door closed, turn off propane tanks, unplug small appliances and fill the bathtub with water.
- If winds become strong, close interior doors, stay away from windows and, in a multistory building, go to the first or second floor, FEMA advises. In a flood zone, keep an ax in the attic.