As Floridians, we know that it isn’t always sunny here in the sunshine state!
With June 1st marking the beginning of hurricane season, it is important that, whether this is your first or sixtieth hurricane season, everybody takes the proper precautions. Please take the time to create a disaster plan for your family, assemble an emergency kit, and educate yourself on local evacuation routes.
Before the Storm
The best defense against hurricanes is preparation; take the time to create a well thought out disaster plan. Please review the following steps to make sure you and your loved ones are prepared to protect yourselves and your property against disaster.
Access Alerts and Warnings
Confirm that your mobile devices can receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), which are sent from state and local public safety organizations. Alongside receiving WEAs, please make sure that you and your family are signed up to receive emergency alerts from your local county. You can sign up to receive alerts from your local country here: St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia, and Lake.
Prepare a Hurricane Kit
In the event of a hurricane or other severe weather, electricity and regular household staples can be limited, so it is important that you have a hurricane kit prepared that contains necessary supplies, such as non-perishable food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies. Make sure this kit is stocked and easily accessible. Find a sample emergency supply list here.
Have a Evacuation Plan
Make sure that if your local authorities give an evacuation order, that you and your family are prepared to evacuate to safety as quickly as possible. Plan ahead of time and determine how you will travel and where you will go. Make sure to print or download evacuation routes on a mobile device so you can access them without electricity.
Before you evacuate, make sure that you have grabbed your hurricane kit, fully charged your electronic devices, filled your vehicle with a full tank of gas, stored important documents in a safe place or have created password-protected digital copies, turned off household utilities, and have a plan to stay connected with family. Your pets are part of your family - do not leave them behind if you need to evacuate.
During the Storm
Heed the warnings of local officials! If you are given a mandatory evacuation order, evacuate without hesitation. Should you choose to ignore evacuation orders, first responders may not be able to assist you during the storm and your life could be at risk. Avoid traveling during the storm for your own safety and the safety of emergency personnel.
If sheltering from high winds, go to an interior room on the lowest possible level and stay away from windows.
Move to higher ground if there is flooding or a flood warning. Never walk or drive on flooded roads or paths - turn around don’t drown.
Never use a generator, gasoline-powered equipment and tools, grill, camp stove, or charcoal burning device inside or in any partially enclosed area. Keep these devices outside and at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.
Our local emergency management authorities are often the best resource for immediate needs in our community. You can find contact information for your county's emergency management team here St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia, and Lake.
Please continue to monitor weather updates from official channels.
After the Storm
Continue to listen to local authorities as you return to your homes - contact numbers for each county's emergency management team can be found here: St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia, and Lake. Be aware that public works and electrical crews are likely working to remove debris and restore power.
Make sure not to wade in any floodwaters, which can contain harmful debris or electrical equipment.
Avoid drinking tap water and using utilities until you know it is safe. Boil or purify water if uncertain.
Throw out any food that wasn’t maintained at a proper temperature or has been exposed to flood waters. When in doubt, throw it out.
Due to damage from the storm, FEMA may issue a disaster declaration that authorizes individual assistance to residents in our area. Information on individual assistance can be found by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling toll-free 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
If you have questions regarding your insurance policy, you may contact the Florida Department of Financial Services helpline at 1 (877) 693–5236. They are open Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5PM. Call center staff will be able to help offer guidance and answer questions regarding your policy.
Please be aware of frauds and scams after a major storm event! Ensure that you are dealing with a licensed contractor and be wary of providing personal information. If you would like to report fraud or price-gauging, call the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Consumer Helpline at 1-877-693-5236.
FEMA Disaster Assistance: (800) 621-3362
Florida Help Line: 211
Florida Power and Light: (800) 468-8243
State Volunteer and Donations: (800) 354-3571
American Red Cross: (904) 358-8091
Price Gouging Hotline: (866) 966-7226
Our local emergency management authorities are often the best resource for immediate needs in our community. You can find contact information for your county's emergency management team below.
St. Johns County
- 2017 Hurricane Preparedness Week Social Media Toolkit
- Hurricane Information Sheet
- Six Things to Know Before a Disaster
- National Hurricane Center
- National Weather Service Hurricane Safety
- When the Waves Swell – Hurricane Animated
- How to Prepare for a Hurricane
- Hurricane Playbook
- Prepare Your Organization for a Hurricane Playbook
- Communication Tools
- Hurricane Creative Materials
- National Creative Resources
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my offices in the district or Washington, DC. If my offices in the district need to evacuate in case of an emergency, please direct your concerns to my DC office at 202-225-2706.