HAVE A PLAN
Hurricane season starts June 1 and ends November 30. Before hurricane season each year, make sure you and your family are prepared by making plans.
- Write down emergency phone numbers or program them in your cell phone.
- Prepare an emergency supply kit. Printable Hurricane Supply Checklist
- Locate the nearest shelter and different routes you can take to get there from your home. If shelter locations in your area have not been identified.
- You must preregister for Special Needs Shelters, go to Special Needs
- Pet owners: Polk County has three pet-friendly shelters that allow residents who own pets to shelter with their pets. Pre-registration is strongly suggested to ensure you have a spot at the shelter and some limitations apply. ONLY dogs, cats and birds and their owners will be allowed to shelter in Polk’s pet-friendly shelters
- Remember that a hurricane could cut off your power and water supply for several days. You may not be able to drive because of damage to your car. Roads may be flooded or blocked. Stock up on everything you might need now. Be sure to prepare the following:
- An emergency food and water supply.
- An emergency medicine supply.
- Flashlights (don’t forget extra batteries).
- Safety and personal items.
- Important documents, including medical documents, wills, passports, and personal identification.
- A fire extinguisher. Make sure your family knows where to find it and how to use it!
Know the difference between a hurricane “WATCH” and “WARNING”
A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 miles per hour [mph] or higher) are possible in a stated area. Experts announce hurricane watches 48 hours before they expect tropical-storm-force winds (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) to start.
A hurricane warning is more serious. It means hurricane-force winds are expected in a stated area. Experts issue these warnings 36 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected in the area to give people enough time to prepare for the storm.
For more information about hurricane watches and warnings, check out the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Center.
GET YOUR CAR READY
- Fill your car's gas tank.
- Move cars and trucks into your garage or covered area.
- Always keep an emergency kit in your car.
- Visit Ready.gov for information on how to prepare your car and what to include in your kit.
GET YOUR FAMILY AND PETS READY
- NEW THIS YEAR: Make sure you have face masks in your hurricane kit.
- Go over your emergency plan with your family.
- Keep checking for updates about the storm. Watch TV, listen to the radio, or check online.
- Call the hospital, public health department, or the police about special needs. If you or a loved one is older or disabled and won’t be able to leave quickly, get advice on what to do.
- Put pets and farm animals in a safe place. Read more about pet safety during an emergency.
- Printable Hurricane Supply Checklist
GET YOUR HOME READY
- Clear your yard. Make sure there’s nothing that could blow around during the storm and damage your home. Move bikes, lawn furniture, grills, propane tanks, and building material inside or under shelter.
- Cover up windows and doors. Use storm shutters or nail pieces of plywood to the outside window frames to protect your windows. This can help keep you safe from pieces of shattered glass.
- Be ready to turn off your power. If you see flooding, downed power lines, or you have to leave your home, switch your power off.
- Fill clean water containers with drinking water. You’ll want to do this in case you lose your water supply during the storm. You can also fill up your sinks and bathtubs with water for washing.
- Check your carbon monoxide (CO) detector’s battery to prevent CO poisoning
IF YOU MUST EVACUATE
- Always listen to authorities regarding whether you should evacuate or stay home.
- Grab your emergency supply kit and only take what you really need with you (cell phone, chargers, medicines, identification, and cash).
- Unplug your appliances. If you have time, turn off the gas, electricity, and water.
- Follow the roads that emergency workers recommend.
- Contact your local emergency management office for Polk County Residents go to Polk Emergency Management or call (863) 298-7000 or 1 (800) 780-5346 and ask about shelters for pets.
IF YOU STAY HOME
- Keep your emergency supply kit in a place you can easily access.
- Listen to the radio or TV for updates on the hurricane.
- Stay inside. Even if it looks calm, don’t go outside. Wait until you hear or see an official message that the hurricane is over. Sometimes, weather gets calm in the middle of a storm but then quickly gets bad again.
- Stay away from windows—you could get hurt by pieces of broken glass or flying debris during a storm.
- Stay in a room with no windows or closet.
- Be ready to leave. If emergency authorities order you to leave or if your home is damaged, you may need to go to a shelter or a neighbor’s house.
National Hurricane Center
Department of Homeland Security-Hurricanes
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Preparing for a Hurricane or Tropical Storm
Polk County Emergency Management
Storing Important Documents - SafeHome.org