It’s October and in the Florida Panhandle we know all too well that it is the peak of our Atlantic Hurricane Season. In fact, Florida’s worst storms often come in October due to the very warm water, more humid air in the tropics and a general pattern that favors strong hurricanes across the central Atlantic Ocean. During this time of year, storms tend to form closer to the western Caribbean Sea, eastern Gulf of Mexico and east of Florida in the Atlantic. October cold fronts sweeping into the Gulf also often steer storms toward Florida. Because of this, Floridians are statistically more likely to see a land-falling hurricane in October. Since 1851, 10 of the 17 major hurricanes to strike the U.S. mainland have occurred in Florida in the month of October.
At the time this article is being written, the National Hurricane Center is watching 4 systems which could become storms. With this in mind, please make storm preparations in advance. Create a plan and prepare an emergency kit now – not when a storm is knocking at the door. Protect yourself, your loved ones and your home by rounding up the supplies you’ll need in advance.
Gather water, nonperishable food, flashlights, batteries, medications, and additional items ahead of time. Equip your family with a kit that’s easy to use at home or carry along in case you need to evacuate. Be sure to include medicine, a manual can opener, extra blankets, supplies for infants and small children, specialized supplies for the elderly, pet supplies and food, and a battery-powered radio.
Visit floridadisaster.org for a more comprehensive list of items you may need.
And, don’t forget your masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies! It is also of the utmost importance to be prepared for extended power outages caused by storms if you rely on medical devices. If so, WFEC strongly recommends having a plan in place in the event of extended power outages.
The best all-around solution is a backup power generator. If this is not a feasible option, find another location to weather the storm – whether that is a family member’s home, a hotel or a nearby shelter that can address health needs. To identify where the closest health shelter is located, contact your local emergency management office. Also, arrange to have an extra supply of oxygen, medical supplies and batteries on hand for medical devices. In most cases, medical supply companies will work with their customers to deliver supplies ahead of a storm.
Having an emergency plan is important, too, if severe weather causes floods, fires or other crisis situations. Should your household need to evacuate and seek shelter elsewhere, do all family members know what to do and where you would go? Are they familiar with steps to take in case you become separated from one another? Is there a plan for letting loved ones know you’re safe? Don’t leave these questions unanswered.
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