Hurricane season comes upon us every year from June 1st to November 30th. Here are a few tips to help prepare residents for this time of the year.
Prepare and Know your Area
- Always go over your evacuation route with family members every year to refresh your memory in case of seperation during evacuation!
- Visit Charlotte County's website for their Disaster Planning guide to get information about your evacuation zone and more. You can also pick up a guide in our office.
- Register for Alert Charlotte to recieve area weather, evacuation routes and other information.
- Know Your Zone: Charlotte County had installed 9,500 reflective colored collars on stop signs and/or street signs at major intersections throughout the county to indicate the evacuation zone. When Charlotte County Emergency Management calls for evacuations it wil be by evacuation zone color. Identify your zone color by locating a stop/street sign near you. Then visit Know Your Zone or pick up a Disaster Planning Guide to indicate when you should evacuate.
It is important to create a kit of supplies that you could take with your if you are forced to evacuate. This kit will also be useful if you are able to stay in your home, but are still affected from loss of power. One common trend seen when hurricanes are approaching is wide-spread panic. When this happens, people rush in large numbers to get all the supplies they think they need. However, if you prepare your kit ahread of time, you can alleviate a lot of the potential stress of a very chaotic situation. You should create your kit in a bag that you can easily take with you.
Some recommended items to include are:
- Non-perishable food (enough to last 3 days, per person)
- Water (enough to last 3 days, per person)
- First-Aid kit (include any prescription medication you may need)
- Battery Operated Radio
- Extra Batteries
- Waterproof container for cash and important documents
- Manual can opener
- Coolers and ice packs
- Recreational items: books, magazines, games
- Special Items for animals or infants
Securing Your Home
Be sure you secure your home in the event of damaging winds, storm surge, and flooding. Here are some helpful tips to get you ready for those events:
- Cover all of your windows, either with hurricane shutters or with plywood. Tape is an option if you dont have shutters and wood is scarce, however it is not preferred. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking. It will only prevent the glass from shattering into dangerous pieces.
- If possible, secure straps or clips to securely fasten your roof to the structure of your home.
- Make sure all trees and shrubs are trimmed and clear of rain gutters.
- Reinforce your garage doors
- Bring in all outside furniture, garbage cans, decorations and any other objects that are not securely tied down to prevent loss of property and damage to homes.
- If winds become strong, stay away from windows and doors. Close, secure and brace internal doors.
In the event a storm should leave you without power, there are a few things to consider that will help you be ready and stay safe outside of your normal hurricane preparedness:
- Gas: There is often panic at the pumps when a storm near, so prepare early to avoid the possibility of gas stations running out. Please review the American Pretroleum Institute's "Tips for Safe Storage and Disposal for Gasoline" to learn how to store your gasoline properly.
- ATMs: Have extra cash on hand in the event that loss of power disallows you from using debit, credit, or accessing ATMs.
- Cell Phones: Be sure to charge your cell phone and limit it's use after the power goes out. Many manufacturers of cell phones and cell phone accessories have portable battery packs available to purchase.
- Air Conditioning: This can be the most uncomforable side effect from losing power during a storm. Try to prevent as much light from entering and warming your home by covering up your windows on the inside. If you have back-up or battery operated fans, do not run them unless you are in the room. Fans create a difference in percieved temperature but do not cool the room. Instead, they create a cooling effect by dispersing the heat off of your skin. It is claimed that they can actually add heat to a room just by running.
- Water: Fill bath tubs and large containers with water for washing and flushing only.
- Food: Turn your fridge temperature down and/or freeze any food or drinking water that can be frozen if you expect a power outage. Have a cooler with ice packs prepared to cool our drinks and snacks after the power has been out more than 4 hours. Keeping your refridgerator and freezer closed as much as possible will keep the cool air in as long as possible. The USDA provides a Freezing and Food Safety Guide as well as a guide on perishable foods to help determine when and if your food is safe to eat.
- Health/Safety: The Centers for Disease Control offers a Guide on Power Outages to help you stay safe.
Remember, any severe storm can be deadly and destructive. The best tip for survival is to remember the cycle of a hurricane: Approach, Arrival, and Aftermath. Prepare ahead of time and listen to the directions of officals for the approach. Secure your home or find a safe shelter for it's arrival. Follow and heed directions of local police and officals on the steps to take during the aftermath.