2022 Hurricane Preparation Guide

2022-05-18 Hurricane Guide

Hurricane Preparation

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Page 31 of 47

Page 32 STAFF REPORT Local emergency management directors advise people to have a plan as early as the beginning of hurri- cane season, which is June 1. Residents should not wait until one or two days before the storm to decide. Know what you're going to do if you have to evacuate or stay home. Don't wait until the storm is coming through. Anyone who is under an evacuation order should defi nitely leave their homes. Who else should evacuate? O cials recommend evacua- tion for people who live outside evacuation zones but are in mobile homes, manufactured homes, recreation- al vehicles or boats. Those who live in older homes that are unable to withstand hurri- cane-force winds also should evacuate. In most cases homes built after 2002 and have hurricane shut- ters are relatively safe, Sarasota County Emer- gency Management Director Ed McCrane has said. It's not just the windows; the garage doors and front entry doors need to be hardened or protected by shutters. Anyone who needs help getting to a spe- cial needs or regular evacuation center must register to be provided transportation. Check your county's emer- gency management website for more infor- mation. SHELTER IN PLACE Services provided at area evacuation cen- ters are limited, so be sure to have a backup plan. Because Charlotte County has low ele- vation, the American Red Cross will not open any shelters in the county. That means general population and special needs evacua- tion centers operated by county sta fi ll up quickly. During Hurri- cane Irma many Char- lotte County residents sought shelter in Sara- sota County, which had more options. Evacuation centers are a last resort, and you need to bring your own supplies, McCrane said. Residents should note that the evacua- tion centers don't have blankets, pillows or hot meals like they might fi nd in a Red Cross shelter. McCrane says people wanting to stay in the area should shelter with friends or family who have newer hous- es built to withstand hurricane-force winds. Those riding out the storm at their own res- idences should make sure their homes are as secure as possible. They should have a safe room in the home in case things go bad, McCrane said. Pick out a safe room like a closet or a bathroom, a bedroom with very few windows. LEAVE THE AREA Those leaving town should make arrange- ments ahead of time and know where they are going. Gas up the car and bring plenty of cash. Consider that evac- uation routes can get clogged with bumper- to-bumper tra c and gas can be di cult to fi nd, especially if you wait until the last minute. Also note that hotels outside the projected path of the hurricane fi ll up quickly. O cials say they learned a lesson from Hurricane Irma. It's best to leave early because gas stations run out of fuel. If you are going to evacuate, do it earlier than you would normally think to do so. That prevents getting stranded. Should you stay or go? Things to consider during hurricane season FILE PHOTO Mobile home residents should not attempt to ride out a storm in their residence. Hurricane Charley destroyed many mobile home parks in Southwest Florida. STAFF REPORT Hurricane research studies have shown that, on average, homes built under the 2002 Florida Building Code sustained less damage and, when paired with shutters, may be safe to stay in during a major storm, as long as they are not in an evacuation area. Homes built between 1994 and 2001 under the Standard Building Code sustained more damage and homes built before 1994 fared even worse. Before storm season begins, take the fol- lowing steps to protect your home: • Secure loose rain gutters and down- spouts, and clear clogged areas or debris. • Secure and re- inforce your roof, windows and doors, in- cluding garage doors. • Consider building a FEMA safe room de- signed for protection from high winds and fl ood waters. • Learn how and when to turn o gas, water and electricity. MOBILE OR MANUFACTURED HOMES Mobile homes are unsafe shelter in high winds no matter how well fastened to the ground. Take precau- tions to ensure that your mobile home is properly secured to re- duce possible damage to your home and your neighbor's property. • Check tie-downs annually. Make sure straps are tight, prop- erly aligned and not on an angle. • Verify that ground anchors and stabiliz- er plates have been installed properly. • Be sure support piers are in contact with the frame. • Replace straps or ground anchors that show signs of corro- sion or damage. For detailed infor- mation or to verify a contractor's license, call the Florida De- partment of Highway Safety and Motor Vehi- cles, Bureau of Mobile Home and Recreation- al Vehicle Construc- tion at 850-617-3004. Protect your home SHUTTERSTOCK Make sure your home is secure. If you stay, go into a windowless room when the storm hits. What to bring to a shelter Hurricane evacuation shelters are provided for public use in the event an evacuation becomes necessary and you have no other place to go. Shelters are usually crowded, noisy and often without generators. Therefore, when the power goes out, they are dark and unventilated. It is highly recommended that if you plan to evacuate your home, make arrangements to stay with a friend or relative who lives outside the evacu- ation area or flood zone. You will probably be more comfortable in a less-crowd- ed area among friends and loved ones. Weapons, alcohol and smoking are not permitted in public shelters. Many do not allow pets. If you go to a public shelter, bring the following items: • Change of clothes, rain gear and sturdy shoes. • Toiletries and personal items. • Blankets or sleeping bag and pillows. • Identification. • Games, toys, books or other forms of quiet entertain- ment. • Special items for infants and the elderly. • Special dietary needs. • Nonperishable foods for snacks. • Battery-operated radio or television, along with extra batteries. • Medications.

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