Hurricane season starts June 1. Now is the time to get prepared.
Make sure you know your evacuation level, develop an evacuation plan, have a well-stocked emergency kit, strengthen your home and stay informed.
But also have kits for your car and office, advises Thomas Moran, Emergency Services Director for DeSoto County, because you never know where you'll be when a storm comes.
Know your evacuation level: If you live in an area that could be affected by storm surge flooding or if you’re in a home that could be unsafe during a hurricane you may need to evacuate. Find your evacuation level for Charlotte County are the Emergency Management page of www. charlottecountyfl.gov and for Sarasota County on the Emergency Services page at scgov.net.
Make an evacuation plan: Decide where you will go and how you will get there if you are directed to evacuate. Locate the best place for you and your family and don’t forget about your pets. Check which evacuation centers are pet-friendly, but realize this usually means dogs and cats and not more exotic animals. If you evacuate, you should bring your emergency kit as well as any snacks or specific foods for special dietary needs.
Well-stocked emergency kit: Have enough supplies to get through the storm and for a potential lengthy recovery period. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine for each person in your family to last for at least two weeks. Radios, batteries, and cell phone chargers are must haves as well. Don’t forget to gas up your car and have adequate cash on hand too.
Prepare your home: Trim the trees on your property, bring any patio furniture or loose lawn items indoors, and secure doors (including garage doors) and windows with hurricane shutters, metal panels or plywood. If you’re staying, find a safe location to park your vehicle.
Stay informed: Communication is key before, during and after a storm. Register to receive emergency notices.
•Charlotte County: www.CharlotteCountyFL.gov and click the Alert Charlotte banner to sign up for texts, email notifications or phone messages.
•Sarasota County: sign up for CodeRED notification system at www.scgov.net.
•DeSoto County: www.desotocountyms.gov/AlertCenter.aspx
Check insurance: Make sure your wind and flood insurance is up to date. Snap photos or shoot video of your home and possessions. These could come in handy later.
Copy and backup documents: Keep policies and all other important papers in a waterproof container in a safe spot and backup any electronic devices. Data should be stored at an off-site location so it can be recovered if devices are damaged during a hurricane.