BEFORE THE STORM RECOMMENDATIONS
Fuel the car.
Bring in outdoor items such as patio furniture, hanging plants and garden tools.
Install storm shutters or cover windows with plywood and secure all doors. If you don’t cover your windows, remove your screens so they won’t blow away.
Turn up refrigerators/freezers to their highest setting. Freeze plastic bottles of water (leave room for expansion).
Turn off small appliances. A lightning strike can damage small appliances.
Fill sinks and tubs with water. Check them for slow leaks.
Turn off LP tanks.
Have an extra supply of cash in case ATM’s are not working.
Notify an out-of-town relative or friend of your plan. Then instruct other family members to call that person for information about your family after the storm.
Prepare boats as appropriate.
DURING THE STORM RECOMMENDATIONS
Stay away from doors and windows.
Choose a small interior room, closet or hallway on the first floor in which to take refuge.
Close all interior doors and brace exterior doors.
Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object. Some protection is afforded by covering with a mattress during the height of the storm.
Do not go outside during the eye of the storm; it will be over shortly. As soon as the eye passes over, winds will increase rapidly to hurricane force from the opposite direction.
Remain calm. It may take several hours for the storm to pass.
Listen to local media for the most current information. You will need a battery-powered radio.
AFTER THE STORM RECOMMENDATIONS
If you evacuated, do not return until told that it is safe by proper authorities.
Listen to local radio/television stations for information (requires batteries).
Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. Immediately following the passage of the storm, debris and downed power lines may be covering roadways, making them impassible.
Beware of downed power lines.
Do not drive in flooded areas. Avoid weakened bridges and washed-out roadways.
Check gas, water and electrical lines and appliances for damage. Do not attempt to repair damaged gas or electrical lines. Call a professional.
Do not drink tap water until given the all-clear.
Remove shutters/plywood to help the house dry.
Stand on firm ground. Moving water only six inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from downed power lines.
Keep a lookout for snakes, insects or other animals driven to higher ground by flood waters.
Avoid using candles or other open flames indoors. Use a flashlight, glow sticks or battery-powered lighting.
Use the telephone to report emergencies only. This includes cellular phones.
Be especially cautious when using a chainsaw to cut fallen trees. Ambulances may have difficulty responding to accidents, and roads to hospitals might be impassable.
Never connect portable generators to your house. Use them only to run necessary appliances and plug the appliance into the generator.
HURRICANE SUPPLY KIT
Water that is kept in plastic jugs—one gallon per person per day
Three-day supply of non-perishable food
First aid kit that includes but is not limited to bandages, latex gloves, disinfectant, etc.
Manual can opener
Personal hygiene items
Pet owners are responsible for the health and safety of their pets and must have a disaster plan that includes them.
PREPARING TO EVACUATE WITH YOUR PET(S):
Have a plan.
Confirm your plan 24 hours before you leave in the event things have changed.
Bring all pets into the house so you won’t have to search for them if you have to leave in a hurry.
Make sure all pets are wearing their collars and I.D. tags. Be sure the I.D. tag has your cell phone number on it if your pet is lost.
Be sure your pet’s hurricane kit is ready (see below).
Keep all dogs securely leashed and cats in sturdy carriers during travel. Even a normally calm pet may panic and try to escape or even bite in a stressful situation.
PREPARE A DISASTER KIT FOR YOUR PET(S) TO INCLUDE:
Secure pet carriers for cats and small dogs and sturdy leashes/harnesses for larger dogs and appropriately-sized crates or cages for other types of pets such as reptiles, birds, etc. If you are the least bit concerned about your animal’s behavior in stressful situations, also bring a muzzle.
Medications (two-week supply) and medical records (including proof of current vaccinations—ALL DOGS MUST HAVE PROOF OF RABIES, DISTEMPER AND BORDATELLA VACCINATIONS. CATS MUST HAVE PROOF OF RABIES VACCINATION AND FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calici, Panleukopenia) and licenses, in a waterproof container. Your vet may offer a laminated card with proof of current vaccinations that can be used at lodging facilities for travel and evacuations. If your pet is not accustomed to large crowds and other animals, consider asking your veterinarian for a mild sedative for your pet.
If you have a color photo of your pet, include that as well in the event you are separated. Be certain each of your animals has name tags, rabies tags, etc. securely fastened to their collars. Also attach information about your temporary location to the back of your pet’s I.D. tag.
A two-week supply of familiar food and water. Also take bowls and a manual can opener if necessary.
Cat litter pan, extra litter, litter scooper and plastic bags.
Doggie pads, paper towels and spray cleaner for accidents.
Portable pet beds, a familiar blanket and lots of toys.
Local shelters for families:
Typically, schools are announced closer to a storm approaching.
Local shelters for pets:
Some shelters will allow pets. However, a contract must be signed in advance to ensure pet safety (santarosa.fl.gov/emergency/shelters.htm).
Escambia County has identified a pet friendly shelter FOR CATS AND DOGS ONLY for hurricane evacuations: Molino Park Elementary School, 899 Highway 97, Molino, Fla.
Local shelters for those with disabilities:
For Santa Rosa County, people with special needs must pre-register for the special needs shelter. They can do that online at santarosa.fl.gov/emergency/specialneeds.html or 983-5372.
The same is true for Escambia County. Visit bereadyescambia.com/pdf/SPNS%20Registration%20Application%2010-8-10.pdf
THINGS TO TAKE TO A PUBLIC SHELTER
If you go to a public shelter, you will need to take the following items:
A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes
Toiletries and personal items
Blankets or sleeping bags and pillows
Identification and any important papers
Games, toys or books for children
Books for adults
Special items for infants or elderly family members
Any special dietary needs and non-perishable foods for snacks
Battery-operated radio, flashlights and plenty of spare batteries
Prescription medications or any over-the-counter medications you normally take
Offers family and business preparedness plans to enable families and business owners to preemptively create a plan online in the event of a hurricane.
Gives lists of items needed during a storm. It also lists evacuation routes and shelters, including those for pets.
Lists emergency contacts that citizens will need in the event of a hurricane.
Lists disaster information from plans to flood damage.
Gives instructions from generator safety and broken meter boxes to FAQs about post-storm power restoration.
Gives links to local emergency contacts for residents of Gulf Breeze, as well as a spot for residents to sign up for email alerts.
Interactive state of Florida website that helps children develop their own hurricane plans.