FSS has a detailed emergency preparedness plan in place to ensure the safety of our children during a hurricane. We would like for all of our families, partners and employees to be safe with Hurricane Irma heading into Florida.
Here are some tips that you might want to consider in case of power outages, flooding or possible wind damage to your home:
1. Order supplies from Amazon today (Sept. 6) and have them delivered on Friday (Sept. 8) — LED flashlights, batteries, plastic sheets, duct tape, etc. Have at least one flashlight for every person in your family, and ideally have a lantern or two for general lighting.
2. Take photos of every room, every piece of electronics and everything valuable. Upload the pictures to the cloud (Dropbox, Microsoft Cloud, iCloud, Google Drive, etc.) before the storm. Take photos of key documents and upload them, as well.
3. Save your contacts in your phone to the Cloud. If you don’t know how to do that, frame grab your screen or have someone take photos of your contacts with their phone and email or text the pictures back to you, or a friend.
4. Secure your photographs and albums in double plastic bags.
5. Put documents in gallon-size (or larger) Ziploc bags. Put larger items in double large trash bags cocooned so the opening of the first bag is in the bottom of the second bag. Put some clothes in plastic bags in case you get a roof leak. Duct tape bags closed. Put valuables on a high shelf in a closet.
6. Think now about where you are going to park your car. A parking garage is ideal if you have access to one. Try to park away from areas with lots of trees.
7. Do your laundry and wash your dishes before the storm.
8. Your dishwasher, washer and dryer are excellent “safes” in your house if you need someplace to put your valuables. These could be good places to put your bagged-up photos, for example.
9. Fill Ziploc bags ¾ full of water and stuff them in your freezer to fill up the space. The less air you have in the freezer, the longer your refrigerator will stay cold. Do not turn your refrigerator to any lower setting than normal — that can damage the unit. Fill clean bathtubs, sinks, ice coolers, etc., with water, as well.
10. Choose a friend or relative out of town to be the contact point for your family or group of friends. Be sure everybody has the out-of-town number, and make a plan to check in ASAP after the storm.
11. If you live in a high rise, be sure you know what the procedures are going to be in the building. Will the building be evacuated? Will the water continue to work? Will elevators work? What is on a generator? If you can stay in the building (if it’s away from the water), find an interior hallway on a low floor where you can set up camp during the storm. It will not be safe to be on a high floor or near windows, even with modern hurricane impact windows. A hallway surrounded by concrete is your best bet.
12. Think about what you will sit on if you are in a hallway or other safe spot for a number of hours — maybe 12 hours or more. Consider comfortable folding chairs. Take food to your safe spot. Have books or other non-electronic amusements, including for the kids.
13. Do not count on your cellphone for communications. When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas as a Category 4 storm, it knocked out the mobile phone system. In addition, your battery may run out, and you may have no ability to charge it. In any case, it’s essential you have a portable AM/FM radio that you can leave on so the entire family can hear what’s going on with the storm.
14. Most importantly, be sure you know a safe place where you and your family can ride out the storm, if it comes. If you live near the water, put together the food, clothes, valuable items and important papers you’ll take with you now. Leave as early as possible. There will be a crush on the road and hotels are already filling in Florida, northward.
15. Please consider your pets and that you will have ample food and water for them, as well. Be sure your animals have I.D. tags with your contact information in the event of separation.
16. Don’t forget to stock up on your medications and first aid supplies, in the event of injury.
We are all hoping that Irma turns early or otherwise weakens or stays away. The hurricane is most likely to have some effect on a significant part of the state. What you do before the storm has everything to do with how you and your family will fare after the wind stops blowing. Please take precautions now.