Two months into the 2020 hurricane season and many of us still have not made the necessary preparations to be ready for a storm. The recent spike in coronavirus cases and other unprecedented issues facing our community may have lessened our focus on this year’s hurricane season, but don’t make the mistake by being caught unprepared while there is still time.
Several severe weather systems have already hit parts of the country and there others are currently developing that could threaten Florida (with August expected to be the busiest month during this year’s season). Considering the national emergencies that the country is dealing with, families must be ready for whatever mother nature brings us this summer and fall as help from local, state and national agencies will likely be hard to come by if there is a major hurricane.
Although Floridians are used to the complications that hurricanes and other severe weather systems can cause on everyday life, this year presents new challenges. In order to be as ready as possible, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggest taking the following actions:
- Plan more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water, and medicine supplies. Take advantage of home delivery if possible but protect yourself if you need to shop in person.
- Get any prescriptions filled as early as possible and if possible, have them mailed or use drive-through windows or curbside pickup.
- Keep up to date on local guidance regarding curfews, restrictions, evacuations and shelters that will be available.
- If you must evacuate, talk with those you plan on staying with to make sure they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19 and let them know of any issues with your family. To the extent possible, maintain social distance, use masks or face coverings, wash your hands regularly and take other precautions.
Remember, your children are counting on you as much for emotional support as their physical safety so ease the situation by calming their fears, having them share their feelings, limit access to news, normalize their fear and point out the good.
Disaster Kit Checklist
Hopefully, planning for the pandemic has you stocked up on the necessary supplies but if not, you must act quickly, without losing your cool. Below is a list of essentials needed during and after a hurricane, but consider stockpiling more supplies as it may be harder to go out and get these items because of the ongoing pandemic:
- One gallon of water/day per person for three days; 1.5 gallons of water/day for three days per pet
- Nonperishable snacks and packaged/canned food to last at least three to seven days (Manual can opener)
- Change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes
- Prescription medications
- Personal hygiene items
- Special items and food for infant, elderly or disabled family members
- First-aid kit
- Fully charged mobile phone with charger
- Quiet games and toys or reading materials
- Eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aid batteries
- Pet care items, including food
- Flashlight, battery-powered radio and batteries
A complete list of necessary supplies is available at www.miamidade.gov/hurricane.
Things to Know & Remember
Especially with the complications resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, discuss a family emergency plan ahead of time. Your loved ones may not be together when disaster strikes, so it’s important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together adhering to social distancing guidelines and what to do in case of an emergency.
Residents who require evacuation assistance should register for the Emergency & Evacuation Assistance Program (EEAP) before hurricane season to ensure help will be provided following an evacuation order. Visit www.miamidade.gov/hurricane for more information, eligibility guidelines and to register.
Pet-Friendly Evacuation Centers (PFEC) are available for residents living in high-risk, flood-prone areas, including barrier islands, coastal communities, mobile homes or anyone living in the Storm Surge Planning Zone that has been ordered to evacuate; PFEC locations are announced as they are opened prior to a storm’s arrival.
Local Help & Resources
Information on hurricane preparedness for Miami-Dade County residents, including emergency planning, storm surge zones, evacuation and how to keep up with the latest news during a storm can be found at www.miamidade.gov/hurricane.
Other resources include:
- Hurricane readiness guide
- CDE Preparing for Hurricanes During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Hurricane Central from the Weather Channel
- Essential Guide to Hurricane Preparedness from State of Florida