South Florida is gearing up for the potential impact of Hurricane Dorian, a powerful storm with the potential to become a Category 4 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As the state prepares for the worst of the storm, here’s what you need to know to keep you, your family and your pets safe.
WHAT SUPPLIES DO YOU NEED?
Be sure to have an ample supply of water, food and batteries should power outages occur. The American Red Cross recommends keeping a three-to-seven day supply of water (one gallon per person a day.)
The same goes for food: Keep a three-to-seven day supply of canned or non-perishable foods. Peanut butter and jelly, jam, granola, nuts, dried fruits, bread, cereal and crackers are all good snacks to keep handy.
If you have health issues or problems, be sure to have a 7-day supply of any medications or supplies you need.
In addition to food, water and batteries, here are other items to keep on your checklist:
• Personal hygiene items
• Portable cell phone chargers
• Emergency blankets
• Baby supplies (formula, bottles, food, diapers, etc.)
• Pet supplies (leash, ID, collar, etc.)
• Extra car keys and house keys
• Mosquito repellent
• Medications (7-day supply)
• Camera (to use for photos of damage)
• Toilet Paper
• Portable radio
• Matchbox/waterproof lighter
• Outdoor extension cables, rope
• Tool kit
• Safe/airtight container for social security, bank documents, etc.
BEFORE THE STORM:
• Review the emergency plan for your family or, if there is no plan in place, create one.
• Review the insurance coverage.
• Keep trees and shrubs pruned and free of dry branches.
• Find out where the official shelters are located.
• To protect doors and windows, get hurricane protection panels or verify that existing ones work.
• Make an inventory of important supplies.
• Frequently listen to official weather updates on NBC6, its associated radio stations, or the station of the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
• Activate the emergency plan for your family. Protection measures must be initiated, especially those that require extra time (such as securing boats and evacuating to safer areas).
• Fill your car's gas tank. Moor small boats or move them.
• Secure chairs, tables and other items for outdoors and gardens (or simply bring them into the home).
DURING THE STORM
• Keep calm.
• Stay tuned to NBC6 for updated weather information.
• Stay inside the house until the storm passes. Some people believe that the storm has already passed when it is really the eye of the hurricane.
• Disconnect circuit breakers before electrical power is cut of. Leave a single switch enabled with a lamp connected to it to know when the current has been restored.
• Stay in the room that offers the most security even if you hear that the glass is breaking.
• Keep the animals in their cages.
• If your home begins to be destroyed, cover yourself with a mattress.
If your safe room is a bathroom with a bathtub, get inside the bathtub and cover yourself with a mattress.
• Use the telephone only in case of urgent calls. Do not do it if you hear it is thundering.
• If you are in a high-rise building, avoid upper floors, since the wind speed on higher floors is much higher. Go to a safe room. Proceed with extreme caution.
AFTER THE STORM:
• Use flashlights only, not candles, to illuminate in case of emergency.
• Disconnect any electrical equipment you were using when the power was interrupted.
• Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.
• If you use a computer, keep backup copies of your files and operating systems.
• Consider purchasing replacement batteries and a power converter if you use a laptop.
• If your garage door is electric, be sure to know where the lever is to operate it manually.
• Keep at least one regular phone or cell phone that is not electric.
In our plans, we must also consider pets. In South Florida, there are shelters that allow pets to be housed if their owners reside in areas or buildings vulnerable to storms.
The main requirement is to register the animals in advance. To qualify, you will need to have your pet's medical history. The request is not proof that you will be accepted into the refuge. After sending it you must wait for a letter from the county confirming that the process has been approved. It is your duty to take with you the food, water, utensils, cleaning supplies, identification and cage of each pet. It is also advisable to have first aid supplies and medicines. Each family can enter the shelter with 4 pets that must be under their supervision at all times. Follow these simple tips to make the evacuation process more bearable for you and your pets.
To read the full 2019 First Alert Weather Hurricane Guide – which includes information about evacuation zones, important phone numbers, shelters and more, click here.