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National Hurricane Preparedness Week: What you need to know

By James Tutten, WFTV.com
May 06, 2024 at 10:24 am EDT

ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida officials are urging residents to prepare for the possibility of major storms this hurricane season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has declared this week “National Hurricane Preparedness Week.”

The warning comes as we are less than a month from the start of the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season on June 1.

Officials are encouraging people to restock their disaster supply kits, update disaster plans and stay informed on what to do during various weather hazards.

“Florida Preparedness Week is the perfect time to sit down with your family and ensure you have a customized plan for your household,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “It only takes one storm to impact an entire community, so I encourage all residents to know their risks, make an evacuation plan and have all essential supplies needed to stay safe before June 1.”

Officials said there are five key things you can do right now to help prepare:

• “Make a Plan – Every household should have a disaster plan specific to the needs of everyone in their household, including consideration of children, pets and seniors. Visit FloridaDisaster.org/PlanPrepare for more information.

• Build a Kit – Take the time now to identify items households may need on hand during or after a hurricane. Essentials of a kit should include enough non-perishable food and water to last each member of the family for at least seven days, extra medication and important personal documents. For a complete checklist, visit FloridaDisaster.org/Kit.

• Have Multiple Ways to Receive Weather Alerts – Every household should have multiple ways to receive weather alerts and follow all directions from local officials. Residents are encouraged to have a battery-operated or hand-crank weather radio to ensure they can continue to receive alerts from the National Weather Service in the event of power outages or damaged cell towers.

• Know Your Zone, Know Your Home – It’s important for residents to know if they live in an evacuation zone, a low-lying, flood-prone area, a mobile home or an unsafe structure during hurricane season. It is also very important for residents to know their home and its ability to withstand strong winds and heavy rain. This information will help residents better understand orders from local officials during a storm. For more information and to determine evacuation zones, visit FloridaDisaster.org/Know.

• Keep Gas Tanks Half Full – Residents should keep their vehicle’s gas tanks at least half full during hurricane season to ensure they have enough fuel to evacuate as soon as possible without worrying about long lines at gas stations and to avoid gas shortages prior to a storm. For Floridians with electric vehicles, it’s recommended that the battery be maintained between 50% – 80% capacity at all times, depending on the type of vehicle and what the vehicle’s manual recommends. Visit FloridaDisaster.org/HalfwayFull for more information.”

“There is no better time to prepare like the present, so take this hurricane preparedness week as your call to action and finalize your preparations for the season ahead,” said Division Executive Director Kevin Guthrie. “After the devastating impacts from the past two hurricane seasons, I implore all residents to prepare for not only hurricanes, but the various hazards that come with them such as tornadoes, storm surge, damaging winds, rip currents and flooding.”

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