Florida and hurricane preparation

by: Barbara Fradkin

A: Welcome to Florida, where the seasons include The Dry Season, The Wet Season, and (of course) Hurricane Season! It officially starts on June 1st and runs through November 30. Experts are predicting another above-average Atlantic hurricane season: 19 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes (Cat.3 or higher). Great! I needed something new to worry about after the pandemic. 

Hurricane Isabele 2003

So, what should you do?  When I moved to Florida, my wise sister (already a Floridian) told me, “Don’t panic.” So what did I do, my first hurricane? PANIC!  But I was prepared for anything and you can be, too– if you start now.

Plan – Make an emergency plan with your family. Is your house safe enough to shelter in place? Create an “important information” sheet, with your family and medical contacts, medication list and insurance information, in case you have to evacuate. Where will you go? A shelter is a refuge of last resort. Don’t forget your pets. They deserve to be safe, too — and they’d probably prefer to be with you.

Copy Documents — Make copies of personal documents (proof of address, deed/lease from home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies). Don’t forget your advance directives, trust papers, bank account information and your COVID vaccine card. Put all these copies in a waterproof bag or folder and keep originals in a safe place.

Make Your Emergency Kit– basic supplies include:

  • Water- one gallon per person, per day (2-week supply for home). Make sure you buy that water well in advance- it’s like toilet paper, people hoard! 
  • Food- non-perishable, easy to prepare items.
  • flashlight, extra batteries, battery powered or hand crank radio (NOAA weather radio, if possible).
  • First aid kit, medications (7-day supply) plus medical, sanitation and hygiene items.
  • Cell phone with charger
  • Extra cash (ATM’s might be inoperable)
  • Extra fuel for generator or car
  • Supplies for your pets

Stay Informed. Register for voice, email or text notifications from the county Emergency Operations Center. Keep up with the weather, but also take a TV break and do some fun things to keep your mind busy. We all know when the meteorologist takes off his tie, we are in for a long night.

This column only scratches the surface. Join us in Viera on June 10th for Senior Health Friday with Nurse Lisa, when our focus will be hurricane preparedness. You can pick up a complete hurricane preparedness check list and free waterproof document bag. RSVP online or by calling 321-751-6771.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to AskOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging. Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager and the Director of One Senior Place, Viera.