Preparing for the 2021 Hurricane Season
The 2021 Hurricane Season starts on June 1, and now is the time to prepare! It only takes one storm to change your life and our community. The Oaks at Zephyrhills, an RV and mobile home senior community (55+) in scenic Zephyrhills, Florida, recommends that you prepare early, creating a plan for your household that will help you avoid added stress and the panicked rush to buy basic supplies when a severe storm approaches. In this blog, we’ve compiled a guide for you, including links to resources, to help you weather any storm.
Know What’s Coming
Storms are named differently according to their intensity. Tropical depressions are cyclones with winds of 38 mph, tropical storms have winds between 39-73 mph, and hurricanes have wind speeds of 74 mph and greater. The upper right quadrant of the storm is also typically the most intense part of it. But, with any storm, the biggest threats are high winds, storm surge, and flooding.
Stay advised of storm watches, warnings, and outlooks during hurricane season. The National Weather Service’s website at https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane-ww is a great resource to keep you up-to-date.
Sign up for local emergency alerts for your city and county. For residents of The Oaks at Zephyrhills, here are your links:
- City of Zephyrhills’ Alert Center: https://www.ci.zephyrhills.fl.us/AlertCenter.aspx?CID=1,2,
- Alert Pasco (County): https://www.pascocountyfl.net/4440/Emergency-Notifications
Know Your Zone
Before there’s a storm threat, make sure to determine the hurricane risk in your area and know your evacuation zone. You can find statewide zone maps and evacuation routes online here (https://www.floridadisaster.org/planprepare/disaster-preparedness-maps/).
Make a Plan
The best planning happens when skies are blue, not stormy! Take this time to create a plan that your family can follow in case of evacuation or if you are separated. Your plan should include where you will evacuate, making sure to map out the route in advance. Also, think about planning for communication, such as identifying one family member to call when you safely made it to the shelter and having them pass on the message. Make sure everyone is familiar with the plan and knows their role. Having checklists for supplies can also help ensure that everyone has what they need and can reduce anxiety.
Note that most shelters do not allow pets so pet owners must plan in advance for their furry family members, and COVID-19 restrictions may also still be in effect.
Also, if you or anyone in your household is an individual with a disability, you may need additional help during an emergency. Making sure you have a plan in place is important to your health and safety!
Ahead of any storms this hurricane season, we recommend that you have the following supplies on hand:
- Non-perishable food (seven-day supply for each family member)
- Water (seven-day supply for each family member)
- First-aid kit
- Prescription medicines and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane, etc.)
- Personal hygiene items
- Battery-operated radio
- Extra batteries
- Copies of personal documents (insurance policies, birth certificates, lease or deed to home)
- Manual can opener
- Lighter or matches
- Books, magazines, games for recreation
- Disinfectant supplies like hand sanitizer or wipes, soap, and two face coverings per person
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- Multi-purpose tool
- Emergency blanket
- Insect repellent and sunscreens
- Pet supplies (pet food, collars, identification tags) and/ or baby supplies (diapers, bottles, formula, baby food), if applicable
- Rain gear
- A copy of your family’s hurricane plan
As part of your stock of supplies, prepare a “go” kit that you could easily take with you if your family is forced to evacuate. Pack it in a large tube or tote, making sure to include enough food for at least three days, a gallon of water per person, personal hygiene items and sanitation supplies, medications, change of clothes, spare car keys, first aid kit, waterproof container with cash and important documents, and a cell phone and charger. Preparing a cooler and ice packs is a good idea, too! Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you build your kit: https://www.ready.gov/kit
Securing Your Home
Especially in the event of high winds, it’s important to know how to secure your home and protect it from potential damage:
- If you live in an RV, make sure to secure it with a hurricane strap kit, checking that tie-downs are tight.
- Cover all of your windows. Know that, while tape can prevent the glass from shattering, it won’t stop windows from breaking.
- Make sure all trees and shrubs are trimmed in your yard. If you’re a resident at The Oaks at Zephyrhills, our maintenance staff will handle this for you.
- Clear rain gutters.
- Reinforce your garage doors and brace internal doors.
- Remove any debris or loose items from your porch or outside areas of your home, including chairs, tables, and trash bins.
Losing power during a storm brings additional challenges and inconvenience, but here are some ideas to plan for that, too:
- If you have a car, make sure your gas tank is full. Also, consider keeping an extra gallon of gas on hand in a safe container.
- Have some cash for emergency needs.
- Keep your cell phone charged and use it sparingly after the power is out.
- Fill your bathtub and large containers with water for washing and flushing. (Please note that this is not a solution for drinking water!)
- Turn down the temperature in your refrigerator to keep food colder longer and freeze drinking water.
Help Your Neighbors
Get to know your neighbors before there’s an emergency. Exchange contact information, and check to make sure they have a plan for before and after a hurricane.
Most importantly, follow the instructions of property management and local officials, especially if evacuation is made mandatory. We want you and your home to be safe, no matter the weather! If you have any questions about what we’re doing at The Oaks at Zephyrhills to make sure our community is hurricane-ready, please contact us at 866-499-9026 or email@example.com.