As Hurricane Matthew makes its way toward, and potentially across, Florida, we must remember severe storms can take unpredictable routes, putting our homes and lives in danger without much time to prepare. I encourage all of you to start taking proactive measures to prepare for the brunt and effects of this storm. Below are some helpful checklists and website links for you and your family to use for hurricane preparedness. Stay safe, and God Bless!
Suggested FEMA Precautions:
~ To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
~ Consider the following things when putting together your emergency food supplies:
- Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Choose foods your family will eat.
- Remember any special dietary needs.
- Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.
- Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.
- Following a disaster, there may be power outages that could last for several days. Stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation. Be sure to include a manual can opener and eating utensils.
- Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF).
~ Water is an essential element to survival and a necessary item in an emergency supplies kit.
- Following a disaster, clean drinking water may not be available. Your regular water source could be cut-off or compromised through contamination.
- Prepare yourself by building a supply of water that will meet your family’s needs during an emergency.
- View the recommended emergency supplies list (PDF).
~ Click here for a list of emergency preparedness materials (families, pets, seniors, disables, businesses).
~ Know your surroundings.
~ Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are predicted.
~ Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
~ Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
~ Make plans to secure your property:
- Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Determine how and where to secure your boat.
- Install a generator for emergencies.
- If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
~ For details on how to best prepare for a hurricane, please visit the Federal Emergency Management Association.
Emergency Contact Information:
- Emergency Communications Center: 863-401-2234
- Animal Services: 863-499-2600
- Fire Rescue: 863-519-7350
- American Red Cross: 863-294-5941
- United Way: 863-648-1515 or 800-881-UWAY
- Citizens Information Line (local emergency updates): 863-401-2234 or 866-661-0228
- Emergency Communications: 813-274-7011
- Animal Services: 813-744-5660
- Fire Rescue: 813-272-6600
- American Red Cross: 813-348-4820
- United Way: 813-274-0900 or 813-234-1234
- Flooding Emergency: 813-274-3101
- Emergency Communications and Operations Center (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.): 352-343-9420
- Animal Services: 352-343-9688
- Public Safety and Fire Rescue: 352-343-9458
- Citizens Information Line: 352-253-9999
FDEM Hurricane Matthew Contact Information
- During the day (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.), call 863-534-0134 or 863-534-0142.
- After 5 p.m., call 863-534-0134 and you will be routed to the police department to dispatch to the electric utility.
- The Florida Emergency Information Line has activated FOR CITIZENS and can be reached at 1-800-342-3557.
- State Emergency Operations Center Media Line: 850-921-0217.
- Follow @FLSert or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live updates on Hurricane Matthew.
- Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org/info to find information on shelters, road closures and evacuation routes.
More Hurricane Preparedness Links:
My office contact information:
- Lakeland, Polk County: 863-644-8215
- Plant City, Hillsborough County: 813-752-4790
- In the case that my Lakeland and Plant City offices are closed due to a storm or other natural disaster, please contact my D.C. office at 202-225-1252.
As always, please continue to write, call, and email your opinions to my office. I could not effectively represent you in Congress without the advice of my constituents. It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Congress.
Dennis A. Ross