Most forecast models currently have the entire state of Florida in the projected path of Hurricane Irma. According to the latest forecast, South Florida is likely to experience tropical storm force winds as early as Friday evening. If you haven’t already, now is the time to get prepared.
Your smartphone can be the most powerful way to get prepared before the storm and help you navigate what comes after. Consider downloading the following apps or bookmarking the following websites:
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency: app at fema.gov/mobile-app and web page at ready.com. Offers storm preparation tips, shelter maps and maps of disaster recovery centers.
- Find an Evacuation Route: Go to FL511.com or the FL511 app. If you’re evacuating, these sites provide a guide to road and bridge closures, toll suspensions and evacuation routes. You can also go to them after the storm to check road conditions and road closures.
- Find Local Shelters: Go to floridaevacuates.com. Enter your location to find the nearest open shelter. You can also download their app.
- Power Outages: Report outages at fpl.com/outage or call 800-4-OUTAGE. To check power outages in your neighborhood, go to fplmaps.com, where you can find the total outages in your area, the cause and estimates for when power will be restored.
- First Aid for People and Pets: Two Red Cross apps give advice on first aid for people and pets. Find them here: redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps
- Home improvement stores, gas stations, and grocery stores are likely to be busy as the storm approaches, which is why it is important to have a list planned out ahead of time. Here is a great sample checklist:
- Bottled water: Figure on 20 gallons for a family of four.
- Fruit, canned and dry goods: 20 cans of tuna, chicken, beans, chili, soups, can opener; fresh fruit; peanut butter, powdered drink mix, juices, cookies, cracker, chips, bread, pet food.
- Medications: Be sure you have prescription medications for up to two weeks.
- Batteries: All sizes to power flashlights.
- Paper goods: Freezer bags, garbage bags, paper plates, paper towels and bleach and bug spray
Or, you can create your own based on the size of your family here.
In addition to normal preparations like filling your vehicles with gas, buying fuel for generators, getting cash and identifying evacuation routes and storm shelters, now is a really good time to review your home and flood insurance plans – and to obtain insurance if you do not already have it.