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BEFORE THE STORM

Every family in Broward County should be prepared to be self-sufficient for the first three to five days after a major storm so recovery efforts can focus on those who can’t help themselves.

Plan for the Storm’s Approach

  • Plan in Advance – If you live in an evacuation zone and an evacuation is ordered, you are required by law to evacuate. Public shelters are a refuge of last resort. Remember, shelters are not designed for comfort, and only one shelter accepts pets, although service animals for the disabled are accepted at all shelters.
  • Identify a Safe Room – If you plan to stay at home, identify the safest room in your home (see page 8). This is generally an interior room with no windows, such as a bathroom or closet. Make plans to take shelter in this room in the event of a direct hit.
  • Request Assistance if Needed – If you require special assistance in evacuating, or need to stay at a Special Needs Shelter, call Broward County Human Services Department at 954-357-6385 (TTY 954-357-5608). If a member of your family is elderly, frail or disabled and may become vulnerable in the aftermath of a storm, register them with Broward County’s Vulnerable Population Registry. Visit www.broward.org/registry, call 311 or 954-831-4000.
  • Stock Your Hurricane Kit – See Checklist at right. Plan on supplies including food and water that will sustain your family for three to five days, and a two-week supply of medicines. Don't forget to buy ice just before the storm approaches.
  • If Evacuating Out of the Area, Leave Early – Plan to leave as early as 48 hours in advance, and no later than the issuance of a Hurricane Watch. Keep in mind that a hurricane’s path is uncertain and you could inadvertently evacuate to an area where the storm may eventually strike. Take along your hurricane kit.
  • Document Assets – Make a visual or written record of your assets for insurance purposes. Also, photograph the exterior of your home including landscaping or structures that may not be insurable but impact the value of your property. Take these records with you if you evacuate.
  • Protect Important Papers – Photocopy important papers such as insurance policies and store them with a friend or in a safe deposit box outside of the hurricane area. Or, protect important family and financial documents inside a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag. If you evacuate, take these documents with you.
  • Secure Your Home – Shutter windows and glass doors, and anchor loose yard objects or bring them inside.
  • Prepare a Water Supply – Know who your water service provider is so you will know if a “boil water” order applies to your home. Check your water bill if you are unsure. As the storm approaches, fill pre-sanitized sinks and tubs with clean water for bathing and flushing toilets.
  • Set Appliances – Turn refrigerators and freezers to highest settings in anticipation of a power outage.
  • Get Cash – Banks and ATMs do not operate without electricity.
  • Get Gas – Gas pumps do not work without electricity.
  • Charge Phones – Charge your cell phone and wireless phone batteries.
  • Check on Neighbors – Check on your neighbors—especially the elderly and those with special needs.
  • Notify Others of Your Plans – Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all family members have a single point of contact. Notify this contact and other family members and friends of your plans.
  • Plan For Your Pet – Specialized pet shelters, pet-friendly hotels, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm’s way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster. For a list of pet-friendly hotels and boarding kennels, visit www.broward.org/animal. If you plan to go with your pet to a pet-friendly shelter, space is limited to those living in mobile homes and evacuation areas, and advance, in-person, pre-registration is required. Call the Broward County Humane Society at 954-989-3977.
Quick Tip
Prepare ahead for your medical needs such as dialysis, insulin, oxygen, and any prescription drugs. The emergency refill law now allows you to obtain a 30-day supply of medications when an emergency is declared.

Hurricane Kit Checklist

  • Drinking Water: At least one gallon per person per day for three to five days, preferably two weeks. Extra water is needed for food preparation and personal hygiene. To store drinking water, use food-grade containers. You can use clean, airtight containers such as two-liter soda jugs, but no milk containers. If you re-use disposable plastic bottles, do not keep them for more than a month.
  • Food: At least enough for three to five days, including non-perishable packaged or canned food, canned or shelf milk, cereal, etc.; ice and snack foods
  • A three- to five-day supply of special items for babies such as formula, food, wipes, diapers; special foods for the elderly; toiletries and extra toilet paper
  • Manual can opener/bottle opener
  • Paper goods such as plates, bowls, napkins, towels, and plastic eating utensils
  • Unscented household bleach and medicine dropper
  • Extra bedding such as blankets, pillows, sleeping bag, etc. in case you must evacuate
  • Clothing, including rain gear and sturdy shoes
  • First aid kit
  • Medicines/prescription drugs: A two-week supply
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-operated or hand-crank radio
  • Disposable batteries, car charger or solar charger for your cell phone
  • Hardline telephone with jack (not cordless)
  • Books and games or toys
  • Pet food, cat litter and other pet care items
  • Tool kit including cord, rope, hammer, wood nails, saw, hatchet or axe, crowbar, chain saw blades, tarp, duct tape, and heavy work gloves
  • Plastic trash bags and ties
  • Extra resealable plastic storage bags, heavy-duty aluminum foil and disposable aluminum pans
  • Extra charcoal or propane gas for outdoor cooking. Sterno can also be used. Never cook with any of these items inside your house. The smoke and fumes are deadly.
  • Fire extinguisher (ABC type)
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Mosquito repellent with DEET, and sunscreen
  • Any special equipment or items you may need