Planning ahead helps to safeguard lives and property. It relieves anxiety as a storm approaches. Plan how you will secure your property, assemble your disaster kit, and where you will ride out the storm before hurricane season begins.
Develop your disaster plan and make sure each family member knows what it is. If you have small children, make sure they know how and when to call 9-1-1. Make sure your shutters are adequate to secure the vulnerable areas of your home and that you have the necessary hardware. Locate a “safe room” in your home and stock it with a minimum of 3 days worth of emergency supplies. Put valuables, photos, and important papers in waterproof bags and store them in a safe place. Check if you need flood and windstorm coverage. Take pictures of your home. Post emergency contact numbers near your phones including in-and-out-of-state contacts. Prune your trees and dispose of all tree cuttings or schedule a curbside bulky waste pickup. Dispose of small items with twice-weekly garbage collection service. Take home chemicals like used paints, pesticides, and solvents to a County Home Chemical Collection Center.
Stock at least two weeks worth of food, water and medication for you, your family and your pet. Bottle your own water with reusable water containers. Some are even collapsible for easy storage. Fill when a hurricane warning has been issued. Plan for one gallon per person per day. Make sure your weather radio has fresh batteries and some to spare. Replenish your first aid kit.
Secure a proper pet carrier, leash, cages, etc. Keep a two week supply of your pet’s medications and food in waterproof containers. Get a laminated card with proof of current vaccinations from your veterinarian. Ask your vet about microchip implants for your pet. Keep current photos of your pet in the event you get separated.
If you live in an evacuation zone or mobile home, you’ll need to go to a shelter, a friend’s home or hotel. Only use an emergency shelter as a last resort. The Emergency Evacuation Assistance Program (EEAP) is available for residents who require specialized shelter and transportation for medical reasons. The English, Spanish and Creole EEAP application can be assessed online at www.miamidade.gov/hurricane or by calling 3-1-1. Due to space limitations, qualified residents should register well in advance of hurricane season. Registered EEAP participants will need to bring bedding, food – including any special dietary staples – and water. Only authorized service animals may accompany EEAP participants.
BEFORE THE STORM
A hurricane watch is declared when hurricane conditions are possible within the next 36 hours. A hurricane warning is declared when hurricane conditions are expected within the next 24 hours. Some services may be impacted depending on the weather conditions. Once a hurricane warning is declared, most of your preparations should be directed towards the home.
Secure your home inside and out, including windows, doors, boats, and patio areas. Charge all mobile phones and keep a corded phone handy. Withdraw cash from the bank. Get fuel for your car, generator and other gas-powered tools. Protect your electronics with surge protectors and waterproof coverings. If you own a boat, use double lines at a marina or consider dry-dock storage. Do not begin any tree pruning or household cleanup activities.
Remember these important dos and don’ts:
- Do not prune trees or dispose of any bulky waste on the right-of-way. If you must dispose of tree trimmings, take them to a Neighborhood Trash & Recycling Center instead.
- Visit Miami Dade County’s website or call 3-1-1 for updates on County services. Depending on the conditions, bus, rail, trash, and recycling services as well as airport and seaport operations could be affected.
- Secure your garbage and recycling carts inside a utility room or garage so that they do not become airborne. You’ll need your carts to insure you get service after the storm.
DURING THE STORM
When a hurricane threatens, there is a right way to watch and wait.
Stay indoors until the storm has passed. Watch local news or listen to the radio for weather updates. Turn off circuit breakers, but leave one on so you know when power is restored. Use flashlights, not candles or kerosene lamps, as your light source. Stay in your safe room. Keep children informed about what is happening and look for signs of stress. Keep animals in their carriers. Use the phone only for urgent calls. Go to a lower floor if you live in a tall building. Get in the tub or under a mattress if your home begins to come apart.
AFTER THE STORM
Studies show that many disaster related injuries occur after the disaster.
Keep your guard up even after a storm has passed with these tips:
Listen to media announcements for information on when your waste collection service will resume. Take small amounts of hurricane debris to a Neighborhood Trash and Recycling Center. Place large piles of debris on the right of way of your property – away from fences, mailboxes, drains, power lines and low hanging wires. Don’t place debris on a vacant lot. Don’t place debris in front of commercial properties, nurseries, and farmland. Check local media advisories for information on the resumption of waste collection services. If your garbage or recycling cart is lost or damaged during a hurricane, it is your responsibility to ask for a replacement. Be patient. Be careful. Clean up after a storm can take time.