We just have been getting updates from FEMA, NOAA, the National Weather Service and Florida Emergency Management about Hurricane Irma.

Their message was unmistakable: take the threat seriously and prepare accordingly.

Although we cannot control the severity of Irma, we can act ahead of time to safeguard our families, homes and businesses. Governor Rick Scott has already declared a state of emergency as wind gusts are expected to exceed 200 miles per hour. All tolls on Florida highways have been suspended and prescription drug refills covered by health insurance are available early.

A number of simple steps can make a big difference in surviving a natural disaster.

FEMA recommends that you identify your local hurricane evacuation route, make a family emergency communication plan, purchase a portable generator, secure loose rain gutters and downspouts, reinforce roofs, windows and doors and remove any damaged trees and limbs before rainfall. There is absolutely no downside in preparing for the worst.

hurricane irma

hurricane irma

Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org/info/ to get up-to-date emergency information and make sure you follow the directions of local emergency management officials.

If you are thinking of leaving, please check out https://fl511.com/ for routes, cameras, and accidents.

Important website www.readypbc.org

Price gouging hotline is now operational. 1-866-9 no scam

Many stores including Publix, gas stations, and Home Depot have backup generators. We fully expect them to up and running getting new supplies.

Bottom line – Stay calm.

New advisory after Harvey is one week worth of items for your entire family as well as animals, not three days like in the past. It would also be the time to decide if you are staying or leaving. We are in the cone now up to about Orlando. According to the news tonight, the only place not having to deal with the storm much will be the panhandle west, but that is not a given either. Storms don’t read or follow maps. According to again to the news, we might be in the storm by mid day Sunday into Sunday night.

Not time to put up shutters, yet. Get food, water, meds, gas, know where your important documents are, battery operated radio, charge up/check your generators, check your flashlights/battery supply, animal supplies, and maybe a tarp if you need one after the storm and any other items that are important to your household. Also, you will need gloves and cleaning supplies (shovels, rakes,etc..) after the storm.

For those riding the storm out.

Hurricane Checklist
1. Charge any device that provides light. Laptops, tablets, cameras, video cameras, and old phones. Old cell phones can still use for dialing 911. Charge external battery back ups.

2. Wash all trash cans, big and small, and fill with water for flushing toilets. Line outdoor trash cans with trash bags, fill with water and store in the garage. Add bleach to sterilize.

3. Fill every tub and sink with water. Cover sinks with Saran Wrap to keep it from collecting dust. Fill washing machine and leave the lid up to store water.

4. Fill old empty water bottles and other containers with water and keep near sinks for washing hands.

5. Fill every Tupperware with water and store in the freezer. These will help keep food cold longer and serve as a backup water supply.

6. Fill drinking cups with water and cover with Saran Wrap. Store as many as possible in the fridge. The rest you can store on the counter and use first before any water bottles are opened. Ice is impossible to find after the storm.

7. Reserve fridge space for storing tap water and keep the sealed water bottles on the counter.

8. Cook any meats in advance and other perishable foods. You can freeze cooked food. Hard boil eggs for snacks for first day without power.

9. Be well hydrated before the storm hits and avoid salty foods that make you dehydrated.

10. Wash all dirty clothes and bed sheets. Anything dirty will smell without the A/C, you may need the items, and with no A/C, you’ll be sweating a lot. You’re going to want clean sheets.

11. Toss out any expiring food, clean cat litter boxes, empty all trash cans in the house, including bathrooms. Remove anything that will cause an odor when the A/C is off. If you don’t have a trash day pickup before the storm, find a dumpster.

12. Bring in any yard decor, secure anything that will fly around, secure gates, bring in hoses, potted plants, etc. Bring in patio furniture and grills.

13. Clean your environment, so you have clear, easy escape routes. Even if that means temporarily moving furniture to one area.

14. Scrub all bathrooms, so you are starting with a clean odor free environment. Store water filled trash cans next to each toilet for flushing.

15. Place everything you own that is important and necessary in a backpack or small file box that is easy to grab. Include your wallet with ID, phone, hand sanitizer, snacks, etc. Get plastic sleeves for important documents.

16. Make sure you have cash on hand.

17. Stock up on pet food and fill up bowls of water for pets.

18. Refill any medications. Most insurance companies allow for two emergency refills per year.

19. Fill your propane tanks. You can heat soup cans, boil water, make coffee, and other stuff besides just grilling meat. Get an extra, if possible.

20. Drop your A/C in advance and lower temperatures in your fridges.

21. Gather all candles, flashlights, lighters, matches, batteries, and other items and keep them accessible.

22. Clean all counters in advance. Start with a clean surface. Buy Clorox Wipes for cleaning when there is no power. Mop your floors and vacuum. If power is out for ten days, you’ll have to live in the mess you started with.

23. Pick your emergency safe place such as a closet under the stairs. Store the items you’ll need in that location for the brunt of the storm. Make a hand fan for when the power is out.

24. Shower just before the storm is scheduled to hit.

25. Keep baby wipes next to each toilet. Don’t flush them. It’s not the time to risk clogging your toilet!

26. Run your dishwasher, don’t risk having dirty, smelly dishes and you need every container for water! Remember you’ll need clean water for brushing your teeth, washing, and cleaning your hands.

27. Put a small suitcase in your car in case you decide to evacuate. Also, put at least one jug of water in your car. It will still be there if you don’t evacuate! You don’t need to store all water in the house. Remember to pack for pets as well.

28. Check on all family members, set up emergency back up plans, and check on elderly neighbors.

29. Remember, pets are family too. Take them with you!

30. Before the storm, unplug all electronics. There will be power surges during and after the storm.

31. Gas up your car and have a spare gas container for your generator or your car when you run out.

If you can, take a video of your house and contents….walk room to room–open cabinets/drawers and closets. This will help if you need to make a claim later. It will show proof of items and help you list all the items (help your memory, so you don’t forget anything)…I highly recommend!!!

I also heard you should freeze a cup of water, place a coin on top after it is frozen…keep this in your freezer to help you gauge the temperature if the power goes out. If the coin stays on top, the food is staying frozen. If the coin falls into the water, the freezer thawed out and most food will likely need to be thrown away. This is super helpful if you have to leave and come back, as it may appear everything is still frozen, but if the coin is in the cup–you will know!!

Finally, anything that you want to try and preserve, but you can’t take with you—place it in a plastic bin and put in your dishwasher, lock the door—this should make it water tight in case of any water intrusion into your home. But of course, take all the important/irreplaceable items you can!!

Landlines worked during the 04/05 hurricane season; cordless did not work because of no electricity for three weeks. If you have a corded phone, find it and be prepared to plug it into the wall to use if your cell goes out. Keep your cell charged as much as you can around this weekend.

Common sense tells us that after the storm has passed, don’t call FPL to report an outage. They will know that. However, call if all your neighbors have power and you don’t.

If we get a direct hit, pass up the temptation to go outside and assess the damage. Believe me; there will be more in the back half of the storm. Stay safe in your house. With standing water after the storm, don’t go walking in it, if possible. There could be a live electric wire in that water, snakes, red ants and more to name a few.
Your safety, your families safety, and your animals safety if first, but if you are ok, check on your neighbors to make sure they are ok as well. This area pitches in to help each other, and we are counting on everyone to help each other.

If you stay calm, hopefully, your animals will stay calm. They will sense the storm before you do. Make sure all your animals have tags with name/phone numbers.

For the larger animals, write your name and number right on them with a grease pen or other pens that are permanent, not wash off in the rain if they get out. I am sure there are plenty of experts out here on animals. Check with your vet if you need to sedate your dog or cat for the storm.

The important take away is to be prepared and stay safe!

Please be safe,

South Florida Review

By staff

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