Be Ready for Hurricane Season, Authorities Advise Coastal Residents

The Florida Department of Health already has warned Floridians to be ready and says every hurricane season should be treated as a serious threat.

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1, and authorities are reminding coastal residents in the southeastern United States to be prepared for these major storms. The forecast from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center called for a 45 percent chance of an above-average number of storms this season -- it continues through Nov. 30 -- with 5-9 hurricanes and 2-4 major hurricanes forming.

The Florida Department of Health already has warned Floridians to be ready. "In 2016, our state saw the first large-scale hurricane event in a decade. Every hurricane season should be treated as a serious threat, and taking simple precautions can help you stay healthy and safe when weather-related hazards impact the state," according to the agency.

"Last year's active hurricane season served as a reminder about the importance of planning ahead for emergencies," said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. Celeste Philip. "I strongly encourage everyone to have an updated emergency plan and an emergency supply kit that is specific to your needs and the needs of your loved ones."

The department's tips:

  • Determine the risks to your home, property, or business
  • Develop or update an emergency evacuation plan and review the plan carefully with your family
  • Make sure you have adequate insurance by contacting your insurance company or agent
  • Assemble a disaster supply kit
  • Strengthen your home and complete any needed repairs
  • Identify your trusted sources of information for any severe weather event or hurricane; credible and timely information is very important to taking the appropriate actions in the event of an emergency
  • Complete a written hurricane plan and keep it in a safe, easily accessible location

Everyone living in Florida should have an emergency preparedness kit that meets their specific needs, according to the agency, which says some items residents may want to include in their kit are:

  • Water (at least one gallon per day per person)
  • Non-perishable packaged or canned food (enough for at least 3 to 7 days)
  • Any necessary medication (enough for two weeks)
  • Written instructions for care and medication (including medication dosages, a list of medical devices you use, and a list of your doctors)
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Pet care items (including any pet medications)
  • Other important documents stored in a waterproof container

The Florida Division of Emergency Management offers an interactive online tool to help residents develop an emergency plan: http://www.floridadisaster.org/getaplan/

In Louisiana, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness has tips and resources for hurricane season at http://www.getagameplan.org/.

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