Should I Stay Or Should I Go? This is a decision we must all make related to our comfort level with danger and adversity. If you are at all uncomfortable and don't feel safe staying in your home during the storm, by all means, evacuate. Please remember to prepare your unit (clear balcony, secure shutters, unplug electrical devices, etc.) before you leave. If you evacuate, let your neighbors and family member know you are leaving and where you are going. The best place to go is to friends or family outside of the projected storm path. Be prepared to stay for a bit longer than you think you will. If a storm is very destructive, roads may not be passable and you may not be able to get home as soon as you thought. Remember, if you do return home, living conditions may be primitive and harsh. Given no compelling reason to the contrary, it would seem prudent to stay where there is electricity and running water until conditions improve.
If You Are Staying: Broward County has a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan, including sheltering for persons with pets, sheltering for people with special medical needs, as well as registration for wellness-checks after a storm for vulnerable residents.You can even subscribe to an automatic email service that will alert you to any announcements and messages during an emergency. See websites below for additional information.
Definitions: A hurricane watch (HWA) is issued for a specified area for which a hurricane or a hurricane-related hazard is a possible threat within 36 hours. A hurricane warning (HWW) is issued when a hurricane with sustained winds of 74 mph (65 knots, 118 km/h) or higher is expected in a specified coastal area in 24 hours or less.
The Following Is A List Of Steps To Take In The Event Of A Hurricane
Make A Storm Plan.....Water Is Critical: Organize yourself, what supplies will you need, where will you need to be, what will you need to do (see internet websites below).
Save gallon jugs and fill them with water for drinking and cooking. See water need calculator below. You may want to consider 1 gallon/day per adult but your level of activity will ultimately determine your needs.
Fill bathtubs with water for bathing or flushing toilets. You may want to purchase a water purifying device; the lake has plenty of water!
Get extra spending money (in cash).
Gas up the car and keep it full.
If you use a landline phone in your home, remember that the newer electronic/cordless phones require power. If you don't have a simple phone that doesn't require power, you can get one for $7.00 at Walgreens. If the phone lines are intact, you can be in touch.
When the power goes out (and it will) you will need battery powered lights. Flashlights are directional and cumbersome. In addition to the flashlight, consider buying a battery powered "lantern" device that shines light in all directions. One large device can light an entire room. Please, no candles or kerosene lamps, they are a fire hazard.
Invest in a battery operated radio with TV band, or battery operated TV to hear important information when the power and cable are out.
Get battery powered fans (Walmart had them before), they can make the nights without A/C somewhat tolerable.
Stock up on batteries.
Refill medications for which you only have a limited supply remaining.
Consider purchasing or at least assembling a first aid kit. Peroxide, alcohol, iodine, band aids, sterile dressings, bandage tape, antibiotic ointment, sunscreen, bug repellant, etc.
Stock up on enough better shelf-stable/non-perishable foods to last at least a week. Don't forget to get pet food and supplies as well.
Consider a large high quality ice chest to provide for more food storage.
Have a heavy duty mop and water bucket with mop squeezer, a wet-dry vacuum to clear water, some cheap towels for soaking up water and heavy duty work gloves for picking up broken glass. Get some rolls of plastic film to cover broken windows and stop flying insects. Duct tape is great stuff to have and don't forget a good sharp knife and bug spray.
Consider buying a hand saw or even a chain saw to help yourself and your neighbors clear downed trees in the roads so our vehicles can go our and emergency vehicles can get in.
Consider setting up a "hurricane buddy group." Organize yourselves to help each other plan and acquire expensive resources that you all agree to share.
If you have special needs or have relatives in Lake Emerald who have special needs, contact the American Red Cross or Broward County to register today. These are agencies that have people and programs dedicated to assisting and checking in on folks after the storms. Unfortunately, Lake Emerald's staff is busy trying to clean up and restore the community and they do not have the resources or proper expertise to do wellness checks or help those who may need medical assistance.
Have a digital camera or buy a disposable camera and keep it for after the storm for proper documentation. Pictures of damage to your property go a long way in expediting and validating your losses and can be electronically filed.
If there is a storm, take protective measures. When the storm approaches, the first rule is to stay calm and be careful. This is not the time to injure yourself! Keep your wits about you and think about what you are doing before you do it. If you have planned well, all you need to do is execute your plan.
Make sure to remove all items from your balcony. If you have protective shutters, now is the time to get them secured and locked down. Secure your car. Charge your communication devices, digital camera and tooth brushes. Find your car phone charger. Wash a load of clothes so you have clean things to wear for several days. Make sure you have socks, long pants and long sleeved shirts to block mosquitoes.
Turn the refrigerator and freezer to their highest setting and if you have any space left put plastic containers nearly full of water in the refrigerator and freezer. Leave some space and caps off or loose to allow for the expansion of water as it freezes (about 10%). When power goes off, put frozen water jugs in the refrigerator with your food. You can improve the efficiency of the rubber seals of the refrigerator doors by covering them with a thin coat of Vaseline.
Unplug all appliances (microwaves, tv's, cell phone chargers, computers, etc.) when finished with them. When the power does come on it isn't likely to be stable and sustained. Surges are common so avoid any damage to your electronics. If you have an older clock radio keep it plugged in and turned on. You will know when the power goes out and when it comes back on without damaging expensive electronics.
Make a "go-bag". Put your important documents (any original, birth certificates, passports, insurance papers, copies of prescription numbers, a recent bank statement) in a sealed plastic bag or container, along with keys, wallet, laptop, cell phone and car charger, prescriptions and other immediate essential items in a bag ready to go. If you need to evacuate in a moments notice, (perhaps the roof is coming off and the windows are breaking), these are the things that cannot be easily replaced and may be needed to help you immediately after a disaster. Think about a fire alarm going off, you must immediately evacuate and knowing you can't come back, what would you take that was most important? Those are the items for your go-bag.
Wear substantial shoes at all times in case you encounter broken glass. Protect your feet, you will need them.
Remember that it is illegal to barbecue on your balcony. State and municipal laws prohibit this. There must be a 10 foot clearance from the nearest building and there must be a source of sustainable water nearby (garden hose, spigot, etc.). This means no gas or charcoal grilling. Set up your parking space outside to cook or boil water.