As Hurricane Irma makes its approach towards Florida, Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for the entire State of Florida as a precaution. Hurricane Irma was declared a Category 5 hurricane Tuesday (Sept 5th) morning, which means Floridians should be taking this storm seriously especially with the chance of landfall at the end of the week. Even those in the Brandon and surrounding areas need to begin to prepare if you haven’t already. Below are a few safety and preparedness tips in addition to our full hurricane checklist that can be view or printed here.

 

  • Create an evacuation plan and speak with family and friends about your plan and how and how often you will communicate with them.
  • PLAN TO EVACUATE. DO NOT ASSUME YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO LEAVE.
  • If you are unsure, check if you are in a flood zone. If you are in a flood zone or near one, be prepared to evacuate. Hurricanes carry a lot of rain with them and even areas not in a flood zone can be badly affected.
  • Check with your local fire department or city office to see if they will be distributing sandbags to the public.
  • Review the hurricane checklist and begin to gather the items necessary to complete the list.
  • Trim trees back from your house and vehicles. Cut the wood into small pieces that can be used to make a bonfire.
  • If you have storm covers for windows, install them into place.
  • If you have a generator, make sure it is in working order and purchase gas for it. If you do not have a generator, either purchase one or scout your friends, family, and neighbors to see who does have one.
  • Take pictures of all of your valuable items. Do a thorough video walkthrough of your home to document all property (including vehicles) and valuables.
  • Use up perishable items in your fridge and freezer, starting with the more expensive items so that they do not go to waste.
  • Put a full tank of gas in all of your vehicles.
  • Get out as much cash as you can. If power goes out, you won’t be able to use debit or credit cards for gas or food.
  • Make sure you have a first aid kit on hand.
  • Make sure there are fresh batteries in all of your flashlights and hurricane lamps and purchase extra batteries.
  • Purchase (or locate if you already have one) a crank radio or battery operated radio so that you can stay up to date on weather reports and warnings. This will help save the battery on your phone/tablet.
  • Charge all phones/tablets/electronics and any external batteries to keep them charged if the power goes out.
  • Fill all the tubs with water. Fill any buckets or other vessels with water. You can use this water to bathe or to flush toilets once access to water is lost. It is recommended to only flush when necessary (like after #2 or multiple uses of the restroom).
  • Get something that will allow you to boil water over a fire (or grill) like pots used for camping.
  • Purchase charcoal or propane for your grill. It will become a great way to cook up food if you have an electric stove and lose power.
  • Wash all clothes in advance. This will ensure everyone has clean clothes to wear for an extended period of time.
  • Once everything has been washed, fill your washer with ice and use it as a cooler!
  • Fill all coolers with ice/ice packs and move food/drinks over to the coolers roughly 6 hours prior to when the hurricane is predicted to hit. Turn the thermostat in your fridge down to its lowest setting and only open it in an emergency.
  • Eat cold perishable items first before breaking into the pantry items so that the food does not go to waste.