Broward County Cities Covered by Hurricane Preparedness Guide:
• Coconut Creek FL
• Cooper City FL
• Coral Springs FL
• Dania Beach FL
• Davie FL
• Deerfield Beach FL
• Fort Lauderdale FL
• Hallandale Beach FL
• Hollywood FL
• Lauderdale Lakes FL
• Lauderhill FL
• Lighthouse Point FL
• Margate FL
• Miramar FL
• North Lauderdale FL
• Oakland Park FL
• Parkland FL
• Pembroke Pines FL
• Plantation FL
• Pompano Beach FL
• Sunrise FL
• Tamarac FL
• West Park FL
• Weston FL
• Wilton Manors FL
Develop a Hurricane Preparedness Plan:
STEP 1 Hold a family meeting
Discuss the hazards of hurricanes. Encourage children to talk about their fears and explain some of the things you’ll be doing to keep everyone safe. Start a written list of things you’ll need to take care of before hurricane season and encourage everyone in the family to contribute their ideas.
STEP 2 Discuss whether you’ll need to evacuate
Determine whether you live in an evacuation zone and, if so, where you will go if an evacuation order is given. Going to a family or friend’s house or hotel outside the evacuation area is your best choice. If you choose to go out of town, do so well in advance of the storm. Since shelters provide for only basic needs, this should be your choice of last resort.
STEP 3 Ensure your assets are protected
Inventory your home possessions and videotape, record or photograph items of value. Review your insurance policies before hurricane season starts to ensure you have adequate coverage. Once a hurricane watch has been issued, insurers will not issue new or additional coverage.
STEP 4 Assess your home for vulnerable areas
Do a walk-through of your home and property to evaluate your roof, windows, garage door, landscaping, etc. and determine what actions you will take.
STEP 5 Make a plan to protect your vehicles
Decide where you will store or park your vehicle, boat or RV. Check your vehicle insurance policy and keep it in the same safe place as your homeowner’s policy.
STEP 6 Secure your home
Decide what actions you will need to take to protect your home and your property (shutters, generator, tree-trimming), and to keep as comfortable as possible during recovery.
STEP 7 Determine if anyone in your home has special medical needs, or is vulnerable in an emergency
Discuss whether anyone in your home has special needs in an emergency because of a medical condition, or because they are elderly or disabled. Make arrangements in advance to accommodate those needs.
STEP 8 Make a plan for your pets
Determine how you will address your pet’s needs and make a plan in case you have to evacuate. Be sure to plan for large outdoor animals as well, such as horses, pigs and cows.
STEP 9 Gather your supplies
Determine your family’s food, water and medical needs and assemble your hurricane kit according to those needs (see checklist on page 3 for essential non-perishable items to include). As the storm approaches, you will need to buy ice to have on hand in the event of a power outage after the storm.
STEP 10 Notify others of your plan
Let family or friends know what your hurricane plan is so they can check on you in the aftermath of the storm. Establish an out-of-town contact.
Every family in Broward County should be prepared to be self-sufficient for the first three to five days after a major storm so recovery efforts can focus on those who can’t help themselves.
Plan for the Hurricane’s Approach:
Plan in Advance – If you live in an evacuation zone and an evacuation is ordered, you are required by law to evacuate. Public shelters are a refuge of last resort. Remember, shelters are not designed for comfort, and only one shelter accepts pets, although service animals for the disabled are accepted at all shelters.
Identify a Safe Room – If you plan to stay at home, identify the safest room in your home. This is generally an interior room with no windows, such as a bathroom or closet. Make plans to take shelter in this room in the event of a direct hit.
Request Assistance if Needed – If you require special assistance in evacuating, or need to stay at a Special Needs Shelter, call Broward County Human Services Department at 954-357-6385 [Call: 954-357-6385] (TTY 954-357-5608 [Call: 954-357-5608] ). If a member of your family is elderly, frail or disabled and may become vulnerable in the aftermath of a storm, register them with Broward County’s Vulnerable Population Registry. Visit http://www.broward.org/registry, call 311 or 954-831-4000 [Call: 954-831-4000].
Stock Your Hurricane Kit – See Checklist at right. Plan on supplies including food and water that will sustain your family for three to five days, and a two-week supply of medicines. Don’t forget to buy ice just before the storm approaches.
If Evacuating Out of the Area, Leave Early – Plan to leave as early as 48 hours in advance, and no later than the issuance of a Hurricane Watch. Keep in mind that a hurricane’s path is uncertain and you could inadvertently evacuate to an area where the storm may eventually strike. Take along your hurricane kit.
Document Assets – Make a visual or written record of your assets for insurance purposes. Also, photograph the exterior of your home including landscaping or structures that may not be insurable but impact the value of your property. Take these records with you if you evacuate.
Protect Important Papers – Photocopy important papers such as insurance policies and store them with a friend or in a safe deposit box outside of the hurricane area. Or, protect important family and financial documents inside a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag. If you evacuate, take these documents with you.
Secure Your Home – Shutter windows and glass doors, and anchor loose yard objects or bring them inside.
Prepare a Water Supply – Know who your water service provider is so you will know if a “boil water” order applies to your home. Check your water bill if you are unsure. As the storm approaches, fill pre-sanitized sinks and tubs with clean water for bathing and flushing toilets.
Set Appliances – Turn refrigerators and freezers to highest settings in anticipation of a power outage.
Get Cash – Banks and ATMs do not operate without electricity.
Get Gas – Gas pumps do not work without electricity.
Charge Phones – Charge your cell phone and wireless phone batteries.
Check on Neighbors – Check on your neighbors—especially the elderly and those with special needs.
Notify Others of Your Plans – Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all family members have a single point of contact. Notify this contact and other family members and friends of your plans.
Plan For Your Pet – Specialized pet shelters, pet-friendly hotels, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm’s way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster. For a list of pet-friendly hotels and boarding kennels, visit http://www.broward.org/animal. If you plan to go with your pet to a pet-friendly shelter, space is limited to those living in mobile homes and evacuation areas, and advance, in-person, pre-registration is required. Call the Broward County Humane Society at 954-989-3977 [Call: 954-989-3977].
Quick Tip – Prepare ahead for your medical needs such as dialysis, insulin, oxygen, and any prescription drugs. The emergency refill law now allows you to obtain a 30-day supply of medications when an emergency is declared.
Hurricane Kit Checklist:
• Drinking Water: At least one gallon per person per day for three to five days, preferably two weeks. Extra water is needed for food preparation and personal hygiene. To store drinking water, use food-grade containers. You can use clean, airtight containers such as two-liter soda jugs, but no milk containers. If you re-use disposable plastic bottles, do not keep them for more than a month.
• Food: At least enough for three to five days, including non-perishable packaged or canned food, canned or shelf milk, cereal, etc.; ice and snack foods
• A three- to five-day supply of special items for babies such as formula, food, wipes, diapers; special foods for the elderly; toiletries and extra toilet paper
• Manual can opener/bottle opener
• Paper goods such as plates, bowls, napkins, towels, and plastic eating utensils
• Unscented household bleach and medicine dropper
• Extra bedding such as blankets, pillows, sleeping bag, etc. in case you must evacuate
• Clothing, including rain gear and sturdy shoes
• First aid kit
• Medicines/prescription drugs: A two-week supply
• Hand sanitizer
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Battery-operated or hand-crank radio
• Disposable batteries, car charger or solar charger for your cell phone
• Hardline telephone with jack (not cordless)
• Books and games or toys
• Pet food, cat litter and other pet care items
• Tool kit including cord, rope, hammer, wood nails, saw, hatchet or axe, crowbar, chain saw blades, tarp, duct tape, and heavy work gloves
• Plastic trash bags and ties
• Extra resealable plastic storage bags, heavy-duty aluminum foil and disposable aluminum pans
• Extra charcoal or propane gas for outdoor cooking. Sterno can also be used. Never cook with any of these items inside your house. The smoke and fumes are deadly.
• Fire extinguisher (ABC type)
• Matches in a waterproof container
• Mosquito repellent with DEET, and sunscreen
• Any special equipment or items you may need
Develop a shelter plan, even if your plan is to shelter at home. If you plan to evacuate to a shelter, pre-registration is not required; however, pre-registration is encouraged if you plan on going to a Special Needs Shelter. Call Human Services Department at 954-357-6385 [Call: 954-357-6385] (TTY 954-357-5608 [Call: 954-357-5608] ). If you pre-register, you are not obligated to go to the shelter in an emergency. You can change your plans without notice if you make other arrangements.
Pre-register for paratransit transportation, if you think you may need it. As with shelter registration, you are not obligated to take advantage of the service if your plans change. To pre-register, call Broward County Human Services Department at 954-357-6385 [Call: 954-357-6385] (TTY 954-357-5608 [Call: 954-357-5608] ).
VULNERABLE POPULATION REGISTRY:
Residents who are disabled, frail or have health issues should register in advance with the Vulnerable Population Registry. The Registry is not a guarantee of services, but it enables city emergency workers to better respond to vulnerable resident needs in a recovery effort. For more information or to register, visit the Emergency Preparedness for Vulnerable Individuals Web Site, call 311 or 954-831-4000 [Call: 954-831-4000] .
PET-FRIENDLY SHELTER REGISTRATION:
Service animals are accommodated at all shelters. If you plan on sheltering with your pet, however, you must stay at Broward County’s pet-friendly shelter at Millennium Middle School in Tamarac, operated by the Humane Society of Broward County and the American Red Cross. Call 954-989-3977 [Call: 954-989-3977] , and press 6, or visit www.humanebroward.com. This is a pet-friendly shelter only, and not a General Population Shelter. Pre-registration is required, and owners are expected to shelter with their pets and care for them.
BROWARD COUNTY EMERGENCY UPDATES:
To sign up to be notified via e-mail of important public safety information during a storm, visit the Hurricane Home Page and click on Subscribe to Emergency Updates or follow us at twitter.com/ReadyBroward to receive updates on your phone or other mobile device.
Know the Lingo
• Hurricane Watch — Hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours. Your preparations should be underway.
• Hurricane Warning — Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Your preparations should be rushed to completion.
Know the Hazards
• Storm Surge — Storm surge is the most dangerous element of a hurricane. This is a dome of ocean water that can be 20 feet high at its peak and 50 to 100 miles wide. Nine out of 10 hurricane fatalities are attributable to storm surge.
• Wind — A hurricane is a tropical storm with constant winds greater than 74 miles per hour. These winds can extend inland for hundreds of miles. Hurricanes can also spawn tornadoes, which add to their potential for destruction.
• Rain — Because of the tropical nature of hurricanes, they contain rain which can, at times, be torrential and cause floods and flash floods.
Know When to Go
• Evacuation — Hurricane evacuations are ordered by the Broward County Mayor to protect coastal residents from dangerous storm surge, and mobile home residents from rising water and high wind. The type of evacuation ordered will be based upon the severity of the storm.
• Evacuation Plan A – Hurricane Category 1 or 2 – All residents east of the Intracoastal Waterway, mobile home residents, residents beside tidal bodies of water and in low-lying areas.
• Evacuation Plan B – Hurricane Category 3 and higher – In addition to those required to evacuate under Plan A, all residents east of U.S. 1 (Federal Highway) should evacuate.
SPECIAL PREPARATIONS FOR THE DISABLED:
If you have a disability or special medical need, your emergency plans must fit your unique circumstances.
• Talk to your physician or health care provider about a realistic plan for your safety.
• Carefully evaluate your shelter options and make advanced plans. Reasonable modifications will be made for shelter residents with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
• If you undergo routine treatments (such as dialysis), are a home healthcare client, or require oxygen supplies, call your service provider to discuss their plans for continuing service to you in an emergency.
• Create a Personal Information Card with all your health information (doctors, insurance policies, medications, etc.).
• Place identification labels on any medical support equipment you would take to a shelter with you, such as wheelchairs, walkers and nebulizers.
• If you have a service animal, make sure the animal has a collar with identification. Have proof that the animal’s vaccinations are up to date, and a copy of written instructions for your animal’s care.
• Collect your emergency supplies early. Keep ample supplies of prescription and non-prescription medications on hand, especially during hurricane season, June 1 through November 30.
• Visit http://www.broward.org/atrisk for more tips.
Safeguard Your Home:
Look For Vulnerabilities
Before hurricane season begins, there are steps that you can take to reduce damage to your home and property. The first step is to walk around your home and look for vulnerabilities including your roof, garage door, windows, pool and yard.
Assess The Roof
A great time to start securing or retrofitting your house is when you are making other improvements.
• Checking the roof yourself is not only dangerous, it can cause damage. • Hire a licensed professional.
• Shingles, tiles and panels should be fastened down tightly and loose ones replaced.
• Asphalt shingles should be attached using hot-dipped, galvanized nails.
• Roof trusses should have braces and hurricane straps should be installed. Check to ensure tarps are secured to the roof with 2”x1” wood strips placed at 48” on center, especially at the edges.
Trim Your Trees
• Trim trees and shrubs regularly. Remove weak branches, especially those resting on your roof, and thin out the upper canopy. Do not trim trees once a storm warning has been issued.
• Don’t attempt to trim any vegetation growing on or near overhead power lines. Only specially trained professionals should work around power lines.
• Consult with your city for specific provisions regarding tree pruning. Hat racking and tree topping are both illegal.
• Place properly cut and bundled yard waste at the curb in accordance with your city’s solid waste collection rules. However, do not take garbage or waste to the curb once a storm watch or warning has been announced.
• If you are inexperienced in the use of a chain saw, seek professional assistance.
• Make sure newly planted trees and recently reset trees are properly staked and braced.
• Be aware that Broward County requires all commercial tree trimmers to be licensed. To report unlicensed tree trimmers, contact the Broward County Permitting, Licensing and Consumer Protection Division at 954-765-4400, Option 2.
Check All Doors
• Solid wood or hollow metal doors are more likely to resist wind pressure and flying debris. Doors should have at least three hinges and a deadbolt security lock with a bolt throw of at least 1”.
• Install head and foot bolts on the inactive door of double-entry doors. The surface bolt should extend through the door header and through the threshold into the sub floor.
• Garage doors should have steel bracing. Check with your garage door manufacturer for braces or retrofitting kits. You can also attach wooden two-by-six-inch stiffeners running the full width of the door, approximately 18” apart. Also, this is a good time to clear out your garage if you plan on keeping your car in the garage during a storm.
Shutter Your Windows
If you already have shutters, now is the time to make sure they’re in good working condition. For accordion or roll-down shutters, test to see if they open and close easily, clear track of obstructions and lubricate. For panel shutters, check for excessive wear or rust on connectors.
• Using plywood may be a more economical way of covering windows, but may not offer enough protection. Metal hurricane-resistant shutters are preferred. If you use plywood, make sure it is at least 5/8” thick and use the proper anchors and support beams.
• Make sure shutters have the Miami-Dade County Product Approval or a Florida Building Code Product Approval.
• Shutters should be installed by a licensed professional and inspected by a government agency such as your city’s building code department.
• DO NOT USE TAPE! Tape will not keep the window from breaking.
• Do not leave any window open for equalizing pressure between the inside and outside of your home. It is not necessary and could be a dangerous mistake.
Protect Your Pool
• Keep water in the pool as it will protect the pool’s finish from sand and flying debris. You may lower the water level, but no more than one to two feet. Otherwise, hydrostatic pressure could cause the pool to pop out of the ground.
• Add extra chlorine to the water to prevent contamination.
• Turn off the power to the pool equipment.
• Remove the pool pump motor and store it indoors in a dry place, or wrap the motor in a plastic material such as a garment bag and secure it tightly with tape or rope.
• Remove all loose items from the pool area (furniture, pool cleaning equipment, filter house tops, deck lids, etc.).
• After the storm, reinstall pump, return water level to normal; clean pool thoroughly; balance the pH, super-chlorinate, and run the filter until the water is clean.
Hurricane-Proof Your Business!
• Make multiple backups of critical computer data and store them off premises. Keep checks, purchase orders, financial records, property and vehicle titles off the premises as well.
• Unplug and wrap all electronics in plastic and store them in high and dry places.
• Have a communication plan in place and make sure your employees’ emergency contact information is current.
• Take “before” and “after” pictures to aid in any claims.
• Allow employees adequate time to prepare for the approaching storm.
Your Shelter Options
Option One – Stay With Family or Friends Outside the Evacuation Zone
This is your first, best choice and where you will be most comfortable.
Option Two – Stay in a General Population Shelter
American Red Cross General Population Shelters provide a basic level of care and are open to all. No pre-registration is required. If you have a self-managed health condition or disability, you will likely be able to shelter comfortably in a General Population Shelter. When you arrive at the shelter, be sure to tell shelter personnel what your needs are.
If you need transfer assistance, sign language interpretation and other auxiliary aids, or a quiet zone for a cognitive disability or mental health need, call 954-831-4000 or TTY 954-831-3940 for the most updated information.
Option Three – Stay in a Special Needs Shelter
If you have a medical condition that requires a greater level of care than that provided at a General Population Shelter, but you do not require hospitalization, a Special Needs Shelter may be appropriate for you. These shelters offer basic medical assistance and monitoring, provided by the Broward County Health Department. They are staffed by qualified medical personnel and have back-up electricity for limited lighting and essential medical equipment. Family members and caregivers are encouraged to accompany residents with special medical needs. Pre-registration is encouraged but not required. Call Broward County Human Services Department at 954-357-6385 (TTY 954-357-5608).
Option Four – Stay in a Hospital or Other Medical Facility
If your medical condition exceeds the level of care provided at a Special Needs Shelter and/or you require hospitalization or one-on-one care, work with your physician or medical provider to arrange the safest shelter option, which may include a hospital or other medical facility.
IF YOU MUST EVACUATE…
• Have a good meal before you get on the road or go to a Red Cross shelter. Shelters open approximately four hours after an evacuation is ordered.
• Evacuate as soon as possible, preferably during daylight. Roads and bridges frequently become crowded and traffic moves slowly.
• Unplug appliances and turn off electricity, the main water valve and gas for the stove or water heater. This will reduce potential damage to your appliances and the risk of fire from power surges or gas line breaks.
• Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going.
• If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone or area prone to flooding, raise furniture, photographs and other irreplaceable items to a higher floor.
• Bring preassembled emergency supplies (see Shelter Kit Checklist).
• Lock up your home and leave.
• Items not permitted in shelters include firearms and explosive devices, intoxicating beverages, and illegal drugs.
• Service animals are permitted in all shelters.
• Be sure to bring food, water, bowls and any other items necessary for their care and comfort.
• For a list of pet-friendly hotels and boarding kennels, click on A-Z Guide and select Animals.
Hurricane Shelter Map:
TRANSPORTATION TO SHELTERS:
What You Need To Know
Bus operations: When an evacuation is ordered, Broward County Transit buses cease regularly scheduled service and begin emergency evacuation service from evacuation zones. The service coincides with the opening of American Red Cross shelters, and will not begin before the shelters open. Under Evacuation Plan A, you can go to any regular bus stop along A1A. Under Evacuation Plan B, buses will run routes along both A1A and Federal Highway.
Persons with disabilities: Broward County Transit’s Paratransit Services section coordinates transportation for residents with disabilities. Call Human Services Department at 954-357-6385 (TTY 954-357-5608).
Special Medical Needs
Pre-registration for the Special Needs Shelter is open throughout the year, and while not required, is strongly encouraged to ensure that the shelter will be adequately prepared to meet your needs. To register for a Special Needs Shelter, call Broward County Human Services Department at 954-357-6385 (TTY 954-357-5608).
A person with Special Medical Needs is someone who:
has minor health/medical conditions that require professional observation, assessment, and maintenance requires assistance with personal care and/or assistance with medications but does not require hospitalization needs medications and/or vital sign readings and is unable to do so without professional assistance.
All residents seeking shelter in a Special Needs facility will be reviewed on an individual basis to determine the best placement for their needs.
Reasonable modifications will be made for shelter residents with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you need transfer assistance, sign language interpretation and other auxiliary aids, or a quiet zone for a cognitive disability or mental health need, call Human Services Department at 954-357-6385 (TTY 954-357-5608) for the most updated information. As with all public places, residents with service animals accompanying them are welcome at all shelter sites.
The Oxygen-Dependent Shelter can accommodate a limited number of residents who require 24-hour Oxygen or 24-hour electrical power. Residents are encouraged to bring their caregiver and family members are welcome at all shelter sites.
What To Bring: If you will be going to a Special Needs Shelter, plan to bring the medical supplies you will need including any special foods, prescriptions, nebulizer, syringes, sterile swabs and oxygen equipment, in addition to items on the Shelter Kit Checklist.
Broward County, Florida
SHELTER KIT CHECKLIST:
Please remember that while a shelter is intended to help keep you safe during the storm, it isn’t a hotel. Bring these essential items along to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
• Personal hygiene items palm trees
• Bedding such as pillows, blankets, air mattress
• Books, games
• Non-perishable snacks
• Extra change of clothing
• Baby supplies: ample amounts of baby food, formula, juice, diapers and wipes, and a stroller, portable crib or play pen
• Needed medications
• Driver’s license, other identification
• Cash, traveler’s checks
• Personal items such as extra eyeglasses,hearing aid, etc.
• Battery-operated radio
• Important documents such as birth or marriage certificates, social security cards, passports, immunization records, checkbook and bank account files, wills, vehicle titles, insurance policies, stocks, bonds, deeds, computer backup disk, etc.
PET-FRIENDLY SHELTER NOW AVAILABLE
Register Early—Capacity Is Limited!
A pet-friendly shelter is available to pet owners living in evacuation areas and mobile homes throughout the County. The human side of the shelter is operated by the American Red Cross. The pet side of the shelter is operated by the Humane Society. Advance, in-person, pre-registration is required. You can do so at the Humane Society, 2070 Griffin Road, Fort Lauderdale (one block west of I-95) weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., starting June 1. Call 954-989-3977 or visit www.humanebroward.com for details. Call ahead for details on what you will be asked to provide. This is a pet-friendly shelter only, and not a General Population Shelter. The shelter is located at Millennium Middle School in Tamarac.
Broward County Transit buses will offer evacuation transportation from three assigned pick-up points to four homeless shelters when a hurricane warning is announced and a mandatory evacuation order is issued. For more information, please contact Hurricane Transportation for the Homeless Information at 954-563-HELP (4357) or 2-1-1.
Quick Tip – If you are elderly, frail, disabled, or have a special medical need and are concerned about your sheltering plan, or if you want the latest information on shelter modifications for individuals with disabilities or special needs, contact Broward County Human Services Department at 954-357-6385 (TTY 954-357-5608).
Riding Out The Storm
Once the storm arrives, there are some additional measures you can take to keep everyone as safe as possible.
• Stay indoors in a secure location, or your “safe room.” The strongest part of a house is usually away from windows and exterior doors.
• Place towels along window sills and the bottom of doors leading outside to keep water from coming in. Have buckets, mops and sponges handy in the event of flooding.
• Elevate valuables to table tops or high places if flooding occurs.
• Do not go outside as the calm eye of the hurricane passes over, unless repairs are absolutely essential. The storm is not over. The worst can happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction.
• Be aware that tornadoes can appear anytime during a hurricane. Monitor your local station and if a tornado warning is issued, take cover in an interior hallway or on the lower level if in a tall building. Stay away from glass doors and windows. You can also take cover under heavy furniture in the center of a house.
• Leave the main breaker on unless the electricity goes off. If the electricity goes off, turn off air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, television sets and computers to avoid the possibility of damage due to power surges. If the power returns and is steady, these may be turned back on.
• Use flashlights for lighting when the power goes off. Do not use candles or any other type of open flame. The fire department may be unable to respond during a hurricane.
• Use the telephone for emergencies only. Jammed phone lines may obstruct emergency calls for police, fire rescue, emergency medical and Red Cross disaster units.
• Open refrigerator and freezer doors as little as possible.
• Stay away from the fuse box, main breaker and electrical outlets in the event of flooding. Normally, the electrical current will fail with flooding.
Canes For Kids:
Children who live in the track of hurricanes feel firsthand the threat of danger to themselves and those they care about. To comfort and reassure them, try these suggestions from the National Mental Health Association:
• Reassure them that they’re safe.
• Be honest and open about the disaster, but keep information “age-appropriate”.
• Encourage them to express their feelings through talking, drawing or playing.
• Try to maintain your daily routines as much as possible.
• Limit their exposure to media reports Visit Hurricane Kids for a sampling of kid-friendly hurricane sites with games and activities.
Retreat To Your “Safe Room”
Having a designated “safe room” in your home can help you protect yourself, your family and pets from the dangerous forces of extreme winds. It can also relieve some of the anxiety created by the threat of an oncoming tornado or hurricane. Keep these things in mind when choosing your “safe room.”
• A good “safe room” location is an interior room on the first floor of the house.
• Closets, bathrooms and small storage rooms with only one door and no windows are well suited for use as “safe rooms.” Interior bathrooms have the added advantage of having a water supply and toilet.
• Keep in mind that a space selected as your “safe room” should be free of clutter for quick and easy entry, and so occupants will not be injured by falling objects. A bathroom is often a better choice than a closet or storage space.
• If you have the option, your “safe room” should not be in an area that can be flooded.
• Your “safe room” should be readily accessible from all parts of your house.
• Your “safe room” must be adequately anchored to the house foundation to resist overturning and uplift.
• The walls, roof and door of the home must be protected against penetration by windborne objects. Taping windows is not recommended as it does not prevent windows from breaking.
• Finally, buildings do not fail due to unequal pressures inside and outside. Therefore, windows and doors should not be opened to equalize pressure. This allows wind to enter a building and increases the risk of building failure. Keep windows and doors closed!
• For more information on safe rooms, visit Florida Alliance for Safe Homes web site at www.flash.org or click on the A-Z Guide and select “Safe Room.”
TUNE IN TO THE NEWS
To keep informed of all the latest storm updates and emergency information, tune your radio to one of the many city-operated emergency radio stations.
Quick Tip – Before you go to the airport or the port, be aware that operations may be interrupted due to the storm. Be sure to contact your cruise line or airline for scheduling information. A list of phone numbers can be found on the A-Z Guide and select Airport or Port. Call 311 or 954-831-4000 [Call: 954-831-4000] .
Keeping Safe In The Storm’s Aftermath
Some of the greatest hurricane dangers present themselves after the storm has passed.
Keep these important tips in mind.
• Treat all downed power lines as if they were live. If you see a power line that is sparking or arcing, call 911.
• Walk cautiously and avoid standing water which may hide downed power lines or hazardous objects. Don’t venture out in the dark because you might not see a power line that could still be energized.
• Debris-filled streets are dangerous. Snakes and poisonous insects may be a hazard.
• Guard against spoiled food. When in doubt, throw it out.
• Do not drive unless it is an emergency. If the power is out, traffic lights will not be working, stop signs and street signs may have blown away. Streets will be littered with debris. Washouts may have weakened road and bridge structures.
• Take precautions to prevent fires. Lowered water pressure in city mains and the interruption of other services will make firefighting difficult after a hurricane.
• Protect property from further damage. Plastic sheeting, plywood, lumber or other materials can be used to seal or protect property that has been exposed by the storm. Make temporary repairs that won’t endanger your safety.
• Notify insurance representatives of any losses.
• Take photographs or a video of damaged areas to substantiate your claim.
• Prepare a detailed inventory of damaged or destroyed property for the adjustor. Include a description of the item, date of purchase, cost at time of purchase, and estimated replacement cost.
• Be patient. Hardship cases will be settled first by insurance representatives. In a major catastrophe, the insurance industry will have emergency offices and extra adjustors available to expedite claims and speed recovery efforts.
Beware Of Flooding Hazards
• If there is flooding in your home or business, be sure the building is not in danger of collapsing, and watch for loose and falling debris.
• Remember that anything flood waters have reached must be considered contaminated, including food, canned goods, cosmetics and medicines.
• Call a licensed electrician if you have significant water damage to your home that might make it unsafe for you to receive electricity.
• If your home has gas service, be alert for gas fumes and call your local utility from outside the home if any are detected.
• Do not drink water from the faucet unless it has been declared safe.
Quick Tip – Protect against mosquito bites by taking these precautions: Stay indoors at dawn and dusk. Wear clothing that covers most of your skin. Use repellent containing DEET, except on children under two months. Get rid of standing water, where mosquitoes lay eggs.
Generator Safety Tips:
Generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but they also can be extremely dangerous. Hazards include carbon monoxide poisoning from toxic engine exhaust, electric shock, electrocution, and fire. Heed these important safety tips:
• When installing a permanent generator, be sure to obtain the necessary permits and have a licensed electrician do the installation.
• Use the generator according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Place portable generators outside in a well-ventilated area, NEVER inside a home including garages, basements or crawl spaces.
• You cannot see or smell carbon monoxide. If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using a generator, get outside to fresh air immediately.
• Install battery-operated or plug-in carbon monoxide alarms with battery back-up in your home.
• Do not refuel a generator while it is running.
• Do not store fuel indoors.
• Do not connect a portable generator directly to your house because the power you generate may flow back into power lines and cause damage or injure power workers.
Chainsaw Safety Tips:
The University of Florida Extension Service recommends the following safety precautions:
• Keep both hands on the chainsaw handles.
• Never cut branches above your head.
• Cut with the lower edge of the saw blade whenever possible.
• Don’t force the saw.
• Wear protective clothing: a hard hat, goggles sturdy shoes, gloves, and trim-fitting clothes.
Traffic Safety Tips:
When traffic signals are not working, intersections should be treated as four-way stops. To prevent chaos, please wait your turn. It is not necessary to report downed traffic signals as Broward County Traffic Engineering’s damage assessment teams will be aware of outages and will dispatch repair crews as quickly as possible.
If The Power Goes Out…
Keep Your Cool
Since hurricanes occur during the hottest time of the year in South Florida, heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses become a consideration when the power goes out and homes are without air conditioning. Problems can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
• Drink cool, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages. If your doctor limits the amount of fluid you drink or you take water pills, ask how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Also, avoid extremely cold liquids because they can cause cramps.
• Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath
• If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment such as a mall or public library, if they have power
• Wear lightweight clothing
• If possible, remain indoors during the heat of the day
• Avoid strenuous activities
• Signs of heat exhaustion may include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fainting, cool and moist skin, fast and weak pulse rate, fast and shallow breathing. If you experience these symptoms, consider seeking medical attention.
Use Running Water Sparingly
During power outages, lift stations that normally pump raw sewage/wastewater may not be operating if they are not powered by a generator. Please restrict your use of running water as the system can eventually back up into your street, or showers, toilets and sink drains inside your home.
Don’t Drink The Water
Immediately following a hurricane, don’t use tap water until you know it is safe. This includes not giving it to your pets, or using it for washing, cleaning, cooking, brushing your teeth, making ice or making formula. If a boil water order is issued for your area, follow these guidelines from the Florida Department of Health:
• Boil water at a rolling boil for one minute to kill infectious organisms
• If you don’t have power, you can mix 8 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of unscented household bleach per gallon of water and allow to stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, add 16 drops (1/4 teaspoon) and let stand for 30 minutes. The water will not be toxic, though it may have a chlorine odor and taste.
• If a boil water order is issued, remember that water system boundaries do not always correspond to city boundaries. Residents who are not sure of their water service provider should check their water bill or call their individual city.
Listen to local radio and television stations for curfew announcements. Curfews are not unusual for communities that suffer a direct hit from a storm. Roads and highways may be blocked, and hidden dangers may exist after dark such as downed trees and power lines, especially in flooded areas. Law enforcement and emergency services may be strained. All residents and businesses are expected to follow curfew laws. Exemptions to this are essential personnel such as law enforcement, fire-rescue, hospital or other healthcare workers, emergency management, and others involved in recovery efforts.
Quick Tip – Always keep a thermometer in your refrigerator. The temperature should read 41° F or lower. Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still “refrigerator cold.” However, you should discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture. Remember – when in doubt, throw it out!
Gas Safety Tips
Evacuate immediately if you smell natural gas which has the odor of rotten eggs, or see a broken gas line. Ventilate the area by opening windows or opening a door. Do not light matches, turn on any light switches, or use the telephone. Call the gas company immediately from a telephone outside the home or business. TECO Energy/Peoples Gas crews are available to respond to natural gas emergencies. For 24-hour service, call 1-877-832-6747. If you are unable to contact your gas company, call 911. If you evacuate, do not turn off the gas supply at the main meter. Only emergency or utility personnel should turn this valve. If you choose to do so, you can turn off the gas for individual appliances. If you have difficulty re-lighting pilot lights, or if gas appliances have been exposed to flood waters, do not attempt to operate the appliance. Contact a plumber, qualified service contractor, or your gas company.
Be patient. Expect delays in getting calls through because of the high demand. Use your phone only for necessary calls, leaving lines open for emergency calls. Your phone line may be inoperable if your phone equipment requires power. Plug a hardline phone (not cordless) directly into the phone jack to verify whether you have service. Use your cell phone to send text messages which often get through when voice calls won’t. Use your cell phone car charger to charge your cell phone.
Analog broadcasting for local television stations ended June 2009. Please Check your current battery operated television to determine if it can receive local digital television signals. Digital battery operated televisions are currently available at local electronic stores. For more information, visit http://www.dtv.gov or call 1-888-CALL-FCC.
AFTER THE STORM
Picking Up the Pieces
Put Debris In Its Place
In the wake of the hurricane, debris pick-up will vary by city. While trash and debris may not be picked up immediately due to sheer volume, if properly bundled, it will eventually be removed. As a resident, you can expedite the clean-up process by properly separating debris into: Yard debris, cut and stacked (including limbs, branches and other vegetative materials); collect small and loose material in bags and place on swales Building debris and building contents (fence material, roof tiles, screens, windows, carpet, broken framework, torn porch/pool screening)
Regular garbage and trash
Place the separated debris piles on the swales, away from power lines, mailboxes, trees, fire hydrants, valves, water meters, gas lines and storm drains. The collection of debris may cause temporary road closures on narrow neighborhood streets while heavy equipment is used to remove downed trees. Try to be patient during these temporary disruptions.
Quick Tip – Many older homes in South Florida were constructed with materials containing asbestos. When clearing debris after a storm, homeowners should use caution when handling building materials. To learn more about the dangers of asbestos and proper disposal procedures, visit the Air Quality Web Site and click on the “Asbestos Program” button or call 954-519-1220 (TTY 954-831-3940).
Make Sure Your Contractor Is Licensed
To check on the status of your contractor, or to file a complaint, call the Broward County Contract Licensing & Enforcement (Local Licensing/Complaints) at 954-765-4400, ext. 9674 (TTY 954-831-3940) or the State of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (State Licensing/Complaints) at 954-917-1333. In addition, consider the following when working with a contractor:
• Ask for references.
• Check references by calling persons for whom the contractor has done work.
• Ask how long the contractor has been in business.
• Check the contractor’s reputation with local suppliers.
• Check with your local Building Department.
• Get all proposals, contracts or agreements in writing and read all the fine print.
• Obtain a current copy of the contractor’s insurances including worker’s compensation, property damage and liability.
• Avoid any contractor who requires large advance payments.
• Avoid paying cash, and make all payments by check to the company contracted to do the work. Do not write a check to cash or to an individual’s name.
Quick Tip – Call Before You Dig. One phone call can prevent damage to underground water, gas, communications and electric lines; save lives; and prevent groundwater contamination. Call 800-432-4770 two business days before digging so buried utility lines can be located and marked for your safety.
To Help You Cope
• Talk About It! Realizing that others share your experiences and feelings can relieve the stress.
• Take One Thing at a Time. Pick one task and complete it, then select another. Completing one task at a time will give you a sense of control and you will feel less overwhelmed.
• Get Back Into a Routine. Resume your family routine as quickly as possible after a storm. This is important, especially for children. It provides a sense of normalcy and security, and often revitalizes a family.
• If You Can, Help Others. Give blood, or prepare “care packages” for people who have experienced a loss. Volunteer in the rebuilding effort. Helping others can give you a sense of purpose in a situation that feels beyond control.
• Avoid Drugs and Excessive Drinking. Drugs and alcohol might seem to help you feel better, but in the long run they generally create additional problems that compound the stress you are already experiencing.
• Ask For Help If You Need It. If your stress level doesn’t begin to subside, talk with a trusted relative, friend, doctor, mental health.
Lend A Helping Hand:
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross Broward County Chapter needs hurricane evacuation center volunteers. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and must submit to a background check. Visit http://www.browardredcross.org.
Center for Independent Living
The Center offers assistance to people with disabilities in Broward County before and after the storm. Call 954-722-6400 [Call: 954-722-6400] (Voice/TTY).
Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
CERT offers basic skills training in disaster preparedness through fire, police and other emergency management agencies that will enable you to assist. Call Broward Emergency Management at 954-831-3900 [Call: 954-831-3900] .
“Neighbors to the Rescue”
This program of Volunteer Broward will teach you everything you need to know to volunteer safely, then send you on a worthwhile mission to help your neighbors in need. Call 954-522-6761 [Call: 954-522-6761] or visit www.volunteerbroward.org.
United Way of Broward County is a volunteer driven, community-based, nonprofit organization that unites resources from across the community to target the most pressing needs. For information, visit www.unitedwaybroward.org.
Volunteer Broward provides a central focus for the development, growth and coordination of volunteer activities and services within Broward County. Call 954-522-6761 [Call: 954-522-6761] or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
First Call for Help: 211
Broward County Hotline: 311 or 954-831-4000
Special Needs Shelter Registration: 954-357-6385
Broward County School District Hotline: 754-321-0321
FEMA Hotline: 800-342-3557
Broward County Emergency Management: 954-831-3900
Pet-Friendly Hurricane Shelter Registration: 954-989-3977
Broward County Animal Care & Regulation: 954-359-1313
Hurricane Helpline: 800-22-STORM
Price Gouging Hotline: 800-HELP-FLA
Broward County Consumer Affairs Division: 954-357-5350
Broward County Waste and Recycling Services: 954-765-4202
Broward County Paratransit Services: 954-357-6794
Mass Transit Rider Services: 954-357-8400
Homeless Information: 954-563-HELP
Home Damage Assessment Program
Broward County’s Home Damage Assessment assists in quickly identifying areas of devastation, even before damage assessment teams are able to canvass the County. It’s easy and a great service to the community!
The Home Damage Assessment Program asks residents to report hurricane damage to their home as soon as it is safe to go outside by calling 311 or logging on to the Broward County Hurricane Web site and clicking on Home Damage Assessment Program.
Here’s how it works:
• Before the storm, print the Home Damage Assessment photos and keep them handy for reference.
• After the storm passes and it’s safe to go outdoors, survey the damage to your home.
• Compare your home to the four homes pictured on the page you printed out, and select the one that best represents the condition of your home for damage level and/or flood level. It doesn’t matter if you live in a single family home, condo, townhouse, apartment, duplex or mobile home.
• Call the Broward County Hotline at 3-1-1 to phone in a damage assessment report. If you still have power and access to the Internet, return to this page and click on the Report Your Damage below.
• You will be asked to provide your street address, city and zip code, and the number of the picture that best represents the level of damage to your home.
Remember, you must have access to the photos to make a report, as Hurricane Hotline call takers will only be able to accept numbers “1-4” as damage levels and “5-6” for flood levels.
Resident reports will provide a critical early indication of where major damage has occurred. These reports do not constitute a request for individual assistance and do not replace the normal grid-by-grid assessments performed by County assessment teams.
Report Your Damage
Level 1 – No or minor damage; habitable
Level 2 – Major damage; habitable
Level 3 – Major damage; uninhabitable
Level 4 – Destroyed
CALL 311 TO REPORT YOUR DAMAGE.