Are you eligible for a free home inspection to identify ways to reduce hurricane damage?
Every year, prior to hurricane season, your family should review your hurricane plan and make changes as necessary. It should include if you plan to evacuate, where you will go, the route you will take to get there, when you will leave and what supplies you will take.
If you plan to stay, make sure you have all of the supplies necessary to be on your own for at least 72 hours. If you are planning to go to an evacuation shelter, have your shelter supplies kit packed and ready. Make sure you have all the materials on hand to protect your home. You should also trim dead wood from trees. Don't forget to make arrangements for pets. Print and save this page for future reference. You may not have power if a storm is approaching.
If the storm is threatening the area you should listen to local media for information and actions to be taken. In addition you should:
- Fuel your car. You will need it to evacuate and pumps don't work without electricity.
- Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools.
- Install your storm shutters or cover windows with plywood and secure all doors.
- Prepare boats as appropriate.
- Turn refrigerators and freezers to the highest settings.
- Turn off small appliances that are not needed.
- Turn off LP tanks.
- Call an out-of-town friend or relative to let them know of your plans. Then instruct other family members to call that person for information about your family after the storm.
- Fill sinks and bathtubs with water.
- Get an extra supply of cash. Banks and ATMs may not be operational immediately after the storm.
- Prepare Insurance Information.
Tracking a Storm
Those of us who live along the Florida Gulf Coast should track every Atlantic hurricane or tropical storm. Many times, we will need to begin making preparations before the storm ever enters the Gulf of Mexico. When tracking a storm, remember that a hurricane is not just a point on a map. Usually the coordinates of the center of the storm are given so that you can track it on your map, however, hurricanes can have tropical storm force winds over 200 miles from that center and even hurricane force winds over 75 or 100 miles from the center. We must remember that hurricane forecasting is not an exact science and they don't always go where predicted.
Tropical Storm Watch
Issued when tropical storm conditions are possible in the specified watch area, usually within 36 hours.
Tropical Storm Warning
Issued when tropical storm conditions are expected in the specified warning area, usually within 24 hours.
Issued when hurricane conditions are possible in the specified watch area, usually within 36 hours. During a hurricane watch, be prepared to take immediate action to protect your family and property in case a hurricane warning is issued.
Issued when hurricane conditions are expected in the specified warning area, usually within 24 hours. Storm preparations should be completed and evacuation under way.
If you plan to stay home during a hurricane, you should have the following items on hand. It is a good idea to get these items at the beginning of the hurricane season because as a storm approaches, stores become very busy and stock is depleted quickly.
Water should be stored in plastic containers. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break. Store one gallon of water per person per day. It is also a good idea to fill bathtubs and sinks with water for sanitation use. Water purification agents such as bleach should also be on hand.
Store at least a one week supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, cooking or preparation. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno.
First Aid Kit
It is a good idea to have two first aid kits. One for your home and the other for your car. Your kit should include things like bandages, scissors, tweezers, soap, latex gloves, lubricant, assorted size safety pins and any non-prescription drugs deemed necessary.
Tools and Other Supplies
You should have a basic tool kit with items you feel are necessary to make temporary repairs after the storm. Some other items you should consider are plastic sheeting, paper plates and plastic utensils, flashlights and a battery operated radio with plenty of spare batteries, non-electric can opener, fire extinguisher, tent, matches, aluminum foil, plastic storage containers, plastic garbage bags, small shovel, insect repellent and personal hygiene items.
Clothing and Bedding
Some clothing and beddings items should be protected by placing them in waterproof boxes, plastic bags or other suitable containers. Include at least one change of clothing and footwear per person. Some items to consider are work boots and gloves, rain gear, blankets or sleeping bags, towels, hat, sunglasses.
- Corded Phones - Cordless phones will not operate if power is lost.
- Battery Jump-Start Pak with charger adaptor. These can be used to plug cell phone chargers into and have continued service. (This item can be found at places such as Sam's Club or auto parts supply stores).
- The purchase of an automobile charger would also be helpful in the event of power outages for the purpose of charging cell phones.
- Always remember family members with special needs.
- For children you should have plenty of necessary baby formula, diapers, bottles and medications.
- Adults with medications such as insulin or other prescription drugs should have their prescriptions filled before the storm.
- Extra Eyeglasses
- Hearing-Aid Batteries
- Insect Spray
- Hat or cap to wear in the sun
- Appropriate clothes to wear after the storm: closed-toe shoes, several changes of socks, rain gear. It may be sunny and hot; it may rain
- Spray paint for painting your insurance carrier's name on your house so roving adjusters know who you are; and for painting your address - street signs may be blown down
- Air horn or whistle (to call for assistance)
- Medications for routine illnesses such as colds (we all get sick after great stress and exhaustion)
- Flat fixer for tires (streets may be full of glass, sharp rubble)
- Work gloves to pick up broken glass
- Laundry detergent (you may be washing clothes in a bucket until the power is back on)
- Bleach, for demolding
- Manually operated can openers
- Pet Food
- Powerful flashlight or a laser pointer so you can attract attention/get help in the dark
One of the most important tools for emergency preparedness is the Disaster Supplies Kit. Below are the most important items. Stock up today and store in a water-resistant container! Replenish as necessary, especially at the beginning of hurricane season by June 1st.
- Two weeks supply of prescription medicines
- Two weeks supply of non-perishable/special dietary foods
- Drinking water & containers: 1 gallon / per person / per day for two weeks
- Flashlights and batteries for each member of the family
- Portable radio and additional sets of batteries
- First aid book and kit including bandages, antiseptic, tape, compresses, non-aspirin pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication
- Mosquito repellent & citronella candles
- Two coolers (one to keep food; the other to go get ice)
- Plastic tarp for roof / window repair, screening, tools, nails, etc.
- Water purification kit (tablets, chlorine (plain) and iodine)
- Infant necessities (medicine, sterile water, diapers, ready formula, bottles)
- Clean up supplies (mop, buckets, towels, disinfectant)
- Camera and film
- Non electric can opener
- Extra batteries for camera, portable TV & flashlights, etc.
- Plastic trash bags
- Toilet paper, paper towels and pre-moistened towelettes
If you evacuate you also should take:
- Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags or air mattress
- Extra clothing, shoes, eyeglasses, etc.
- Folding chairs, lawn chairs or cots
- Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.)
- Quiet games, books, playing cards and favorite toys for children
- Important papers (driver’s license, special medical information, insurance policies and property inventories)
Precious commodities before and after a storm:
- Cash (with no power, banks may be closed, checks and credit cards unaccepted, and ATMs may not be operational).
- Charcoal, wooden matches and grill Ice
If you have to evacuate, you'll want to take hard-to-replace documents with you.
Here's a list of what should be in a water-proof, lockable container that you can grab easily:
- Car charger for your cell phone. If the power is out, this might be the only way to recharge it. Also get a land line that plugs into a phone jack in your home; cordless phones will not work when electrical lines are down
- Checkbook, savings account passbook
- Safe-deposit box key
- Birth, death and marriage certificates, divorce decree
- Will/power of attorney
- Social Security card/records
- Military records
- Medical records (living will or other medical powers)
- Insurance policies
- Insurance cards
- Retirement account records
- Recent pay stubs, in case you have to document employment to collect benefits
- Tax returns
- Car titles and registrations
- Mortgage deeds or rental agreement
- Warranties and receipts
- Credit cards
- Passports, green cards
- Food Stamp, WIC or other benefit cards and paperwork
- List of phone numbers (relatives, bank and insurance company)
- Disc on which to back up computer files just before you shut down the computer and evacuate
- Home inventory (on paper, disc, or video; you should keep another copy in a safe place, like at work or at the home of a relative out of state)
- A few family photographs or other memorabilia
Only 38% of U.S. households have children, but 43% have pets! Take time now to plan how you will protect yours during a weather emergency.
If You Plan To Evacuate
All pet owners should make arrangements for their pets if they plan to evacuate. Public shelters will not accept pets. If you can't take your pets with you, arrangements should be made with a clinic or kennel. These arrangements should be made well in advance because available spaces fill up quickly as a storm approaches. If you plan to take your pets with you, remember to take these items for their care:
- A secure pet carrier of appropriate size
- Food/water bowls
- A one week supply of dry food
- Water in plastic containers
- Pet medications and health records
- Leashes (muzzles if necessary)
- Newspapers and paper towels for cleanup
Disclaimer - The Town of Longboat Key presents this information for your reference use only, and makes no guarantee of its accuracy. If you find errors in any of the links provided, please let us know as soon as possible. We assume no liability for any inconvenience or loss as a result of your use of this information.
Many hotels/motels will accept pets, especially in emergency situations. If you plan to go to a motel, determine in advance if pets are welcome and what, if any, special rules are applicable. Please see our pet-friendly lodging list for phone numbers and addresses and also local shelters that accept pets. It is also a good idea to photograph each of your pets and include these pictures with your health records. All pets should have current immunizations and ensure that they have a collar with proper identification.
- Pet Friendly Shelter Agreement
If You Must Leave Your Pet At Home
If you have to leave your pets at home try to secure them in a safe area of your home. Otherwise, your pets may escape and become disoriented as a storm could alter landmarks and scent trails. Make sure the pet is wearing a collar with proper identification. Remember, don't leave dogs and cats in the same space. Even if they normally get along, things may change as the storm approaches. Some other things to remember are:
- Place pets in ventilated safe rooms without windows
- Leave at least a three day food supply
- Leave plenty of water
- Leave access to elevated spaces in the event of flooding
After the storm, walk pets on a leash until they become reoriented to their home and surroundings. Downed power lines and other debris pose risks for you and your pets. Don't let pets consume food or water which may have become contaminated.