As residents of the Florida Panhandle, WFEC members know first-hand the devastation that a hurricane can bring with it and how fast some of these storms can form. After Hurricane Michael crushed the area last year most of us realize the importance of being prepared during hurricane season more than ever before. Here are some tips to remember when you're preparing for hurricane season this year: 94231001
1. Prepare now. As we discovered with Hurricane Michael, some storms can strengthen very quickly, leading to a rush for supplies and possible shortages.
2. Gather enough items and stock up on enough essentials to build a disaster supply kit to last you and your family a minimum of 7 days (perhaps longer).
3. Have a place to go. Don’t delay your departure or wait. Leave as soon as possible if you’re evacuating to avoid traffic congestion and long travel times.
4. Make hotel reservations before you leave.
5. Fill vehicles up with gas before you leave.
6. Have a plan for your pet. Assemble a portable pet disaster kit with food, water, medicines, proof of vaccinations, carriers, leashes, harnesses, beds and toys. Also have an updated photo of your pet in case
you are separated.
What should be included in your disaster supply kit?
• Enough water for drinking, cooking and sanitation for at least 7 days – a minimum of 1 gallon per person per day
• Food – Enough for a minimum of 7 days. Non perishable, packaged or canned food and juices work best
• Manual can opener
• Foods for individuals with dietary restrictions (allergies, infants, elderly)
• Cooking tools & fuel
• Paper plates & disposable utensils
• Flashlights & extra batteries
• Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags
• Clothes & sturdy shoes to protect you from debris
• First aid kit, prescription medications & other medicines
• Battery operated NOAA weather radio
• Cleaning supplies: garbage bags, moisture wipes, other items for sanitizing
• Cash: banks & ATMs may be closed for extended periods of time after a disaster
• Infant supplies - diapers, wipes, formula, juices and medications
• Toys, books, games
• Important documents: seal them in a waterproof container & save them electronically. These items include insurance & medical records, bank account numbers, social security card, ID cards, etc.
• Pet care items (see #6 for more ideas)
Some additional items to consider when planning for storms include purchasing flood insurance, registering for the special needs shelter program and identifying local shelter locations. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. Check your policy to be sure. The Special Needs Registry Shelter Program is designed to provide hurricane or disaster-related evacuation assistance and care for those without other alternatives. If you or a loved one need transportation assistance or have a health/medical
condition that requires medical attention while at a shelter, you should register for this program. If you are a client of a hospice or home health care agency, you should ensure that they have already registered you into the system. This registration must be updated annually. If you or someone you know has a special condition affecting eyesight, hearing, speech, walking, breathing or an emotional condition and would need assistance during evacuations and sheltering, please contact your local emergency management office. 78329003
The past three years have been rough on hurricane-prone regions, without a doubt, but according to early reports from Colorado State University, 2019 may bring a much-needed break. The university’s Department of Atmospheric Science analyzes and projects weather patterns that can contribute to active hurricane seasons. Based on their data, researchers are tentatively anticipating lower chances of destructive storms this year. That is certainly good news for our area. The Atlantic Hurricane Season starts June 1 and lasts until November 30, so begin gathering your disaster supply kits now to prepare for possible storms.