One of these years, South Florida will be visited by another hurricane. Count on it. The region is overdue since Wilma arrived as a Category 3 storm in October 2005.
As Hurricane Season starts on June 1 and ends November 30, now is the time to get ready. Nothing eases stress during an emergency like having many of the details and decisions resolved in advance. Here are some tips for getting prepared from the Florida Department of Health:
Make an emergency plan: It should include, a) All members of your household, b) Special medical conditions, c) When and to where you would evacuate, d) Special transportation needs, e) Emergency meeting place, f) An out-of-town contact who everyone can call to stay in touch, and g) Pet plan.
Gather emergency supplies: a) A gallon of water per person for 7 days, b) Non-perishable foods such as canned meat, fish, veggies, fruits and nuts, c) Can opener, disposable plates and utensils, and d) Matches and cooking gel.
Stock up on medical needs: a) 30 day supply of prescription medications from your doctor, b) Over the counter pain reliever, antacids, anti-diarrheal medicine and children’s medicine, c) List of all medications and essential medical devices, e) Physician contact number, and f) Blood type and allergies for all household members.
Assemble a first-aid kit with sterile bandages, cleansing agent, safety pins, gauze pads, scissors, sewing needle, moist towelettes and tape.
Collect essential data in a waterproof container. a) Contact information for property insurer, official emergency agencies, family and friends, b) Credit card and bank information, c) Portable computer storage device with electronic copies of mortgage, home deed, car title, etc. d) Instructions for shutting off utilities, and e) Pet health records.
List your major home belongings and back it up with photos.
2016 special consideration: Mosquito Protection. To prevent the spread of Zika Virus and other diseases passed by mosquito bites, follow the practice of “Drain and Cover.” Get rid of all standing water in and around your house, use repellent with DEET or other effective substance, wear long pants and sleeves when outdoors, and repair broken screens on windows and doors.
More emergency information: Florida Emergency Preparedness Guide in English, Spanish, Creole and large print. Go to www.floridahealth.gov and search key word “Hurricane” for a list of related articles.