Living in Central Florida should mean we are all prepared for hurricane season, but all too often it’s a mad dash to be ready a day or two before the storm. A little planning ahead can mean avoiding a big headache later when the emergency supplies are in high demand and the lines at the store seem to be a mile long.
Here are 4 ways you can prepare before the a hurricane comes along.
- Have a basic emergency home kit.Non-perishable food items and bottled water are the first things to sell out before a storm, but with planning ahead you can stock up and maybe even find a good deal. Make sure to account for every member of the family, whether its cans of baby food, special dietary restrictions or a bag of pet food for your furry family members. Other things to have ready: cash, a manual can opener, blankets, batteries, flashlight, portable charger and crank/battery operated radio.
The Official Marion County Hurricane Preparedness Guide This guide provides local maps, telephone numbers, website addresses and other useful information that will help ensure your safety this hurricane season. To download the guide, click here.
- Make a plan. Does your family know what to do if a storm hits and your family is not together? If the kids are at school or you are at work, you’ll need a plan on how to connect with each other and where to meet. The Florida Division of Emergency Management offers the “Get a Plan” site, where they offer personalized advice and recommendations to develop a plan based on your family and location.
- Do your homework. Ready.gov offers an in-depth guide about what to do before a hurricane arrives, the hours leading up to it and after the storm has passed. Besides being prepared for what’s to come, it can offer peace of mind to know what to expect in the event of a hurricane.
- Accommodate for your family’s special needs. By registering on the Florida Special Needs Registry, first responders are able to make informed decisions on how to help you in the event of an emergency. Additionally, it’s important to be aware of what your county’s special needs emergency shelter offers.
If a hurricane is approaching your area, remember to call Marion County's Citizen Hotline at 352-369-7500. For non-emergency health and human services questions, please call 2-1-1, United Way's FREE information and referral line. Available 24/7/365, you can contact them by dialing 2-1-1, texting your zip code to 898211 or via chat on uwmc.org-2-1-1.