June 1, marked the official start of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season that runs through the end of November. June 1 should serve as an important reminder about the need for individuals to be prepared for any emergency. This may be the start of the hurricane season, but emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, and everyone needs to be prepared – not just those folks in hurricane-prone states.
Florida residents should check their personal preparations such as important phone numbers and emergency kits, note any alerts or messages from local emergency officials, and rehearse emergency evacuation routes. Emergency kit supplies should last at least seventy-two (72) hours.
Important items to have ready in case of an emergency include a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, medicine, non-perishable food, hand-operated can opener, utility knife and first aid supplies. All important documents should be copied and stored in a waterproof bag. These may include medical records, contracts, property deeds, leases, banking records, insurance records and birth certificates.
When preparing for hurricane season and potential emergencies, the needs of all members of a household should be considered. If a household includes a person with a disability, special steps to assist them may be necessary and should be incorporated into all emergency planning.
Pets also require special handling. They may become agitated during the onset of a storm, so a pet carrier is a must for safe travel. Pet owners should research pet boarding facilities now within a certain radius of where they may evacuate, since animals may not be welcome in all shelters or hotels.