In the past few days, Tropical Storm Arlene brought summer rain to South Florida.  Thankfully, its damage was minimal, but hurricane season is just getting started, and Florida sees more hurricanes than any other state in the United States.  As you know, hurricanes can form at a rapid speed (check the National Hurricane Center website for the most up to date information), so it’s never too early to make sure you are prepared.

Here are some things you and your family can do to prepare for natural disasters:

What Actions You Can Take:

  • Know where to go: If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation routes to take and have a plan for where you can stay.
  • Update your disaster kit: Make sure to have a seven-day supply of non-perishable food and bottled water, a battery-operated radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, cash, medicines, a first aid kit, pet foods, and important family documents.  If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power or water for several days.
  • Make a family emergency communication plan: This plan should include the telephone number of a family member or friend outside the area - a point of contact in the event of separation when a storm hits.
  • Sign up for emergency and weather alerts: Download the FEMA mobile app for weather alerts and maps of open shelters, among other important resources.  Sign up for emergency alerts in Martin County, Palm Beach County or St. Lucie County.
  • Familiarize yourself with county-wide information and resources that are available including shelters and alerts in your area:

Other Useful Tips:

  • Get your home ready: Cover windows with storm shutters or plywood and store outside items like lawn furniture and trash cans to prevent them from being moved by high winds.
  • Fill your gas tank: Make sure your car has a full tank of gas in the event that you are ordered to evacuate to safety.
  • Don’t forget your pets: Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them.  Prepare an emergency kit for your pets with leashes or carriers, food, water, bowls and photos of you with your pet in case you are separated.

Here are additional resources that you may find helpful:

  • The National Hurricane Center: This website provides up-to-date weather information on hurricanes.  You can also find additional information from the National Weather Service.
  • This website includes information on how to plan and prepare for a hurricane in Florida, the latest news about hurricanes, information on local shelters and more.

If we’ve learned anything from past hurricanes, we know it only takes one storm to devastate a community.  I hope you and your family stay safe this hurricane season and find these steps helpful.

For more information, check out the detailed hurricane resource guide