" "
Need help? Dial 2-1-1 to contact a United Way call center specialist or click here to find resources.


Seven tips for staying safe during hurricane season

July 31, 2019

Elizabeth Lufrano, community impact manager, United Way of Northeast Florida


Home damaged from hurricane Irma. Photo credit: Pixabay

Through its role as fiscal agent for Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, United Way of Northeast Florida is responsible for coordinating a large-scale collaborative relief effort among Northeast Florida’s nonprofits. With hurricane season well underway, we want to make sure you are well prepared if disaster strikes. You may be thinking we’re in the clear, but August and September are the most active time for tropical storms and hurricanes in Florida. Keep you and your family safe this year by following these seven tips:

  1. Sign up for emergency notifications.

Stay up to date on the latest news in your county this hurricane season by signing up for Alert Florida.

  1. Restock/create your emergency supply kit.

Emergency management experts recommend creating a three-day emergency supply kit for every household. Emergency supplies should include items such as nonperishable food, water, essential medications and a first-aid kit. For a full list of recommended items click here.

  1. Know your evacuation zone.

If you are unsure of your evacuation zone, take a minute to look up your address. Knowing your evacuation zone ahead of time will ensure you can make timely decisions should a hurricane or tropical storm occur. To learn what evacuation zone you are in, click on the link with your county’s name: Baker*, Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns.

*Baker county does not have any designated evacuation zones.

  1. Consider flood insurance.

Most property insurance policies do not cover damages caused by flooding. Make sure your household is prepared by checking with your insurance agent to see what your policy will and won’t cover should a natural disaster strike. You can learn more about flood insurance here.

  1. Don’t underestimate floods.

Flooding is just one of the major threats that hurricanes can bring; however, it is important not to underestimate flooding. Do not go through flooded areas by foot or car! According to FEMA, it takes only six inches of water to overpower an adult and one foot to carry away most motor vehicles. Flooded areas can also contain unseen risks such as sewage, storm debris, or downed power lines. So, when you see a flooded area, turn around.

  1. Read up on your food and water safety measures to ensure you and your family don’t get sick.

Hurricane season brings unwelcomed risks to our drinking water and refrigerators. Power outages can cause food to spoil and restrict cooking options and flooding can contaminate our water supply. To learn how to overcome these risks read and follow the FDA’s guide on food and water safety during power outages and floods.

  1. Don’t wait until a storm develops to prepare — plan ahead of time!

Once a disaster happens, there’s no more time to prepare. The best time to prepare for a storm is before a threat exists. For more resources and information on natural disaster preparations and planning visit Florida Division of Emergency Management’s website.