I hope that you and your loved ones are safe from harm. Early Wednesday morning, Hurricane Idalia made landfall along Florida’s West Central Coast as a Category 3 storm. As of Friday, many areas of North Florida are without power, and there has been widespread damage from high winds and storm surge. UF/IFAS Extension faculty and staff are out assessing damage and helping with relief efforts.
No matter how carefully we prepare for a disaster, we can be left with many questions in its aftermath. How long will the electricity be out? Is my food and water safe to eat or drink? What’s the safest way to clean up? How do I get assistance to get back on my feet? Everyone’s situation is different–it’s hard to predict what we’ll be left to deal with after disaster strikes.
To help answer some of your questions, UF/IFAS Extension has a wide array of useful resources about the steps you can take to recover from Idalia.
Written in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole, the UF/IFAS Extension Disaster Handbook has over 75 brief tip sheets on disaster preparation and recovery. Post-disaster topics include food and water safety, home cleanup and repair, filing insurance claims and seeking assistance, and assessing damage to your farm business.
What to Do If the Power Goes Out
Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid structural damage, you could be left without electricity for hours, days, or even weeks. Suddenly all the things we take for granted–refrigeration, air conditioning, internet connection–are not there to serve us. Make sure that your food and water remain safe to consume and know how to safely operate devices like gas-driven generators.
How to Clean Up after the Storm
Cleaning up from the storm can be arduous–and dangerous. These resources can help you avoid hazards while putting your home back in order.
How to Apply for Assistance
Getting the assistance you need is an important step to recovering from a disaster. No one should have to do it alone–these resources can help you assess the damage to your home or business and seek every avenue of assistance from insurance and government relief programs.
Disaster Assistance and Recovery Resources
- Disaster Assistance Resources: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topics/disaster-assistance
- Disaster Recovery Resources: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topics/disaster-recovery
- 6 Steps in Making an Insurance Claim: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/dh199
- Replacing Lost or Damaged Documents: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/dh215
It’s sad but true–there are people out there who will try to scam you in your hour of need. Be alert to the warning signs of identity theft and fraud.
For Agricultural Producers
Farms, ranches, nurseries and fisheries take the biggest hits in a disaster, such as Hurricane Ian in 2022. To help Florida’s agricultural producers get the relief they deserve, UF/IFAS researchers are studying the agricultural losses and damages resulting from Hurricane Idalia. Click on https://go.ufl.edu/idaliaimpacts to share information about impacts experienced at your farm, ranch, or aquaculture operation. How is this data used? See Harmonizing the Assessment of the Impacts of Natural Disasters to Florida Agriculture (FE1075) https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe1075
Marine Recovery Resources
The UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station in Cedar Key (NCBS) is one of the leading institutions for studying coastal resiliency and recovery, and it was caught in the crosshairs of Hurricane Idalia. Here, Dr. Savanna Barry, regional specialized agent at NCBS, shares resources especially useful to commercial fisheries and other marine businesses.
Dealing with the aftermath of a disaster can be overwhelming. Make sure that you pay as close attention to your mental health as you do to your knees, back, and shoulders. UF/IFAS Extension resources can help you deal with stress and care for the well-being of your loved ones.
We are all in this together, and in the coming days and weeks, UF/IFAS Extension faculty and staff in all of Florida’s 67 counties will be cleaning up and assisting in relief efforts in your community, serving as information first-responders to get you the answers you need to move on from Hurricane Idalia and build up resilience for the future.
To find the UF/IFAS Extension office near you, visit sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu