Weather is always uncertain, but if you live in Florida, it makes good sense to be prepared for storms. A hurricane, tornado, or other tropical event can bring heavy rainfall, inland flooding, high winds, storm surges, and rip currents that can either keep your family trapped in your home or else make it necessary to evacuate in a hurry. In either case, you need to have a plan ready so that you can act quickly.
Create An Evacuation Plan
Modern families frequently head off in different directions on any given day: to work, to school, to sports practices, to stores, to daycare, to church, and more. If the weather turns bad while the family is separated, how would you communicate? Your family needs a plan that will set down:
- How can each person get to safety?
- How can we communicate?
- How we can get back together?
- Where will we meet?
While it might not be safe to travel in the midst of an emergency, having a central person to contact can ease communication and allow you to reassemble when it is safe. Every family member should have an emergency information sheet that compiles the phone numbers of every other person in the family as well as neighbors and out-of-state friends or relatives who might be the central point of contact. FEMA has handy reference sheets for parents and kids that make it easy to organize this information.
Don't Forget Your Pets
In an emergency, you also want to provide for four-legged family members. If you evacuate your home, take your pets with you in a carrier or on a leash or harness to prevent them from escaping in fear. Prepare a pet evacuation kit that contains food, bottled water, food dishes, medications, cat litter and pans, medical records, and anything else you might need to keep your pet comfortable for a few days.
Not all shelters can accommodate pets, so have a backup plan to keep them safe, whether it's just for a couple of days or for an extended period.
Have Your To-Go Bag Ready
Whether you are at home or elsewhere after a storm, you will need to prepare some supplies to tide you over. In addition to enough food and water to last for at least 72 hours, you also need an emergency bag ready to go in case you have to leave the premises. This should include:
- Battery-operated radio, flashlight, and lanterns, along with plenty of extra batteries
- Extra keys for your home and car
- Cash to tide you over if banks are closed or ATMs are not working
- Medical supplies, including two weeks' worth of any prescription medication along with over-the-counter remedies you might need
- Important papers and documents
- First aid kit that includes personal hygiene items, plus hand sanitizer and disinfectant
In case of a storm, the two most important things to do are to make sure that your family members and pets are safe and to have a few basics on hand you can access quickly. While there are a few last-minute things you should do to secure your home, it's best to prepare in advance by installing impact windows or hurricane shutters. Storm Solutions can help you prepare your home before a storm and can assist with any necessary repairs to your windows and doors after the emergency is over. Serving Naples/Marco Island, Fort Myers/Cape Coral, or Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda, we are Southwest Florida's top contractors to have in your list of important numbers. For more information, check our website or give us a call at (239) 288-4430.