Hurricane season officially started on June 1 and runs until Nov. 30. The American Red Cross urges people to take steps now to get prepared in case of an emergency.

Having a plan in place can make a big difference in your safety when facing a hurricane or tropical storm,” said Josett Valdez, chief executive officer for the American Red Cross South Florida Region. “Making sure you and your loved ones are prepared is more important than ever as we enter into hurricane season."

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

Determine your risk. Hurricanes cause problems for people in coastal areas but can also cause damage hundreds of miles inland.

Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Practicing the plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.

Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cellphone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.

If someone already has a disaster kit, now is the time make sure the food and water is still okay to consume and that copies of important documents are up to date. If they already have an emergency plan for their household, they should talk about it again with family members, so everyone knows what to do if an emergency occurs.

Be informed. Learn about the community’s hurricane response plan.


Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets.

Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to select up to 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts on their mobile device. The content includes expert guidance on what to do before, during and after different emergencies or disasters from home fires to hurricanes. All Red Cross apps can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.

Keep insurance policies, documents and other valuables in a safe deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged if a hurricane causes flooding. Take pictures on a phone and keep copies of important documents and files on a flash drive that you can carry with you on your house or car keys.

Protect windows with permanent storm shutters or invest in one-half inch marine plywood that is pre-cut to fit your doors and windows.

Identify a place to store lawn furniture, toys, gardening tools and trash cans (away from stairs and exits) to prevent them from being moved by high winds and possibly hurting someone.

Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts to prevent flooding and unnecessary pressure on the awnings.

“Don’t wait to prepare,” said Valdez. “It’s time to get ready now, before a storm threatens.”

For more information, please visit redcross.org/southflorida.

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