TAMPA, Fla. — Hurricane season is here and officials want residents to make sure they're prepared well before a storm hits. These tips will help you keep the whole family safe when a storm comes.
Having an up-to-date hurricane supply kit is one of the most important things to do before a storm, and you can never be too prepared.
Stock up! If you stock up on supplies like water, non-perishable food and batteries you won't be caught up in the last-minute rush.
A basic kit should have:
- Water — enough for one gallon per person, per day for at least three days
- Food — at least a three day supply of non-perishable food for you and your pets
- Diapers, formula, bottles and wipes for your baby
- A battery powered or hand crank radio
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- A cellphone with chargers and a backup or external battery
- A whistle to signal for help
- A first aid kit
- Garbage bags
- Moist towelettes for personal sanitation
It's also helpful to have local maps, a manual can opener, enough prescription medicine to last a few days, matches, a sleeping bag, blankets, important family documents, local maps and a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
Hurricanes impact all of us, whether we have two or four legs! Pets are part of the family and it's just as important to have a safety plan for them.
The first and most important thing to remember — never leave your pets behind if you evacuate. If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for them.
Make sure your pets have collars and tags with the most up-to-date information. That should include their name, your phone number and any urgent medical needs the pet may have. You can get your pet a microchip with this information so you don't have to worry about updating tags.
Create an emergency kit for your pets that includes three to seven days worth of food, feeding dishes and water bowls, an extra collar or leash, disposable litter trays and garbage bags, any medication they take, a pet first aid kit and toys.
If for some reason you can't take your pet with you, have a plan in place. Call shelters or kennels in advance, or have a friend on standy-by who can look after them.
When hurricanes hit and you're in danger, sometimes the best thing you can do is leave.
Before you evacuate make sure you know a few things.
- Know your evacuation zone
- Pay attention to storm advisories, tune into the news so you know if you need to evacuate
- Know where to go if you do have to evacuate
- Have your hurricane and emergency kits ready
- Make sure you have a full tank of gas
- Plan to take one car per family to reduce traffic
- Be familiar with alternate routes and means of transportation out of your area
- Have cash handy because banks might be temporarily closed
- Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather
- Make sure it's safe to come back home before you return
Before a storm hits take inventory of everything you own so you don't have to guess about it after it's gone. Video tape your home, or take pictures, and store them in a cloud service so you can always access them.
Your homeowner's policy won't cover flood damage. Ordering flood insurance is not something you can do overnight, the earlier you start the better. Contact your insurer and ask about policy coverage and deductibles.
Hurricane deductibles range from 2% to 5%, which could end up with you paying thousands out of pocket before your policy kicks in.
Research and make contact with licensed contractors in your area right now, because they're hard to find after a storm.
Most importantly, don't panic! Watch the news and stay in the know when a storm is coming so you're always prepared.
Have a hurricane tip you think should be included in this? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.