Summer is approaching, and so is hurricane season. Recent years are an indicator that the damage, both physical and financial, can be devastating. Preparation is crucial in minimizing the damage caused by these storms. Below are tips to consider before and during a hurricane.
Before the Hurricane
- Buy flood insurance. There is a 30-day waiting period before activation of flood insurance policies. Homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
- Contact your local emergency management office to learn about evacuation routes and emergency plans.
- Get additional information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (visit fema.gov and m.fema.gov from your mobile device for information), Ready Campaign (Ready.gov) Citizen’s Corps (citizencorps.gov), the American Red Cross (redcross.org) or NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (nhc.noaa.gov).
- Make a family disaster plan that includes out-of-town contacts and locations to reunite if you become separated. Be sure everyone knows home, work and cell phone numbers and how to call 9-1-1.
- Assemble a disaster supplies kit with food, water, medical supplies, battery-powered radio, batteries, flashlights, and other items that will allow you to get by for 3 days after a hurricane hits.
- Gather important documents such as birth and marriage certificates, Social Security cards, passports, wills, deeds, and financial and insurance records. Store them in a fire- and flood-safe location or safe deposit box.
- Install storm shutters for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
- Remove toys, grills or anything that could become airborne from your yard
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Determine how and where to secure your boat.
- Keep a full tank of gas in your car if an evacuation seems likely. If you do not own a car, make transportation arrangements with friends or your local government.
- Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
- Make sure every family member carries or wears identification.
Please note: A Hurricane Watch means the onset of hurricane conditions is possible within 36 hours; a Hurricane Warning means the onset of hurricane conditions is likely within 24 hours.
In Case of Evacuation
- Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
- Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
- Do not drive in flooded areas.
- Stay away from downed power lines.
If You Can’t Evacuate
- Turn off utilities at home if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
- Moor your boat if time permits.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
- Make sure you have a safe room to go to when the weather conditions are at their worst.
For more information on how you can prepare your family for medical emergencies during hurricane season, please contact us at St. Petersburg General Hospital. Call Consult-a-Nurse® at 1-888-741-5122.
Before a Hurricane (FEMA)