Bunnell, FL - National Hurricane Preparedness Week is underway and emergency officials encourage residents and businesses to get their supplies and plans in order.
The National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have established daily preparedness themes to guide the process: Determine Your Risk; Develop an Evacuation Plan; Assemble Disaster Supplies; Get an Insurance Checkup; Strengthen Your Home; Help Your Neighbor; and, Complete a Written Plan.
Flagler County Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord says having a disaster kit is key to preparedness. "Make sure that you have your disaster supplies ready in case your home is damaged or you lose power for a couple of weeks. Our website has a great list of things you should have in your kit." You can find a Disaster Preparedness Guide at flaglercounty.org.
Having a plan on what to do and where to go, depending on the situation, is also important. Lord said if evacuations are required, shelters will be open but he suggests you don't make your plan to go to a shelter unless it's absolutely necessary. "Know what you're going to do. If a hurricane is approaching, speak with your household and know what you're going to do about protecting your home, and if you are told you need to evacuate, definitely know where you're going to go. We'll always open shelters up but they really should be treated as shelters of last resort."
Lord said that there will always be at least one shelter for those with special medical needs. To make sure there will be room, contact flaglercounty.org to pre-register.
If you are a pet owner, which includes domesticated animals - dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents, or turtles, Lord says there will be at least one designated pet-friendly shelter. Owners and pets may be housed in a separate area of the shelter. There's a four-pet limit and owners will have to show current vaccination records for each one. Owners will need to show a government-issued picture ID, proof of residency within an evacuation zone, and all supplies needed for their pet.
Volusia County residents can find out more at volusia.org