Since the probability of Florida being hit with a hurricane in any year is high, it is best to have an evacuation plan for your home. Have a prepared plan and have it set for the summer and fall months. Don’t second guess the St. Johns County Emergency Operations (EOC) officials when they mandate to evacuate. To summarize the UF/IFAS Extension publication (FCS 3254) Hurricane Preparation: Evacuating Your Home, these are suggestions to keep in mind:
Know Your Evacuation Route and Follow Directions! Know what routes are available for recommended evacuation from local authorities. In St. Johns County, use this following link. It offers several routes to safely get you out of harms way of a hurricane. If you are unfamiliar with the area, use your GPS or phone to follow the suggested location.
Keep Your Vehicles Tank Filled. Prior to a hurricane full up your vehicle tank. The closer the hurricane gets the longer the lines and possibility of gas running out. If there is power outages, gas stations may not be open.
One Vehicle per Household. Keep the family safe! Use only one vehicle to know that family members are together.
Clothing. Be as comfortable as possible. It is best to wear long sleeves and long pants. Wear sturdy shoes in case you have to go outside. Be safe. Bring a hat. Rain gear should also be packed.
Disaster Kit. Have it prepared and ready to load in a car. Check out the American Red Cross for how to build an emergency disaster supply kit. Make plans to have enough supplies for at least three days.
Emergency Shelters Know in advance where the emergency shelters are. Here is a list of what to bring with you according to St. Johns County EOC.
Shelter Supply List
- 3 day supply of water
- 3 day supply of non-perishable ready to eat food
- Special dietary foods if needed – Regular meals are provided at shelter
- Manual can opener
- 3 day supply of medications, Diapers, Depends, Chux, urinals, etc.
- If you are a diabetic on insulin, bring a small cooler for your insulin.
- Personal grooming / hygiene items, feminine supplies
- Extra clothing
- Books, magazines, cards, games, etc.
- Egg crate or air mattress / sleeping bag
- Lawn chair / chaise lounge
- Pillows, blankets, sheets
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Personal identification / Important papers
- Wheelchair / walker / cane, if needed
- Oxygen, if needed
‘Shelter in Place’ – According to publication on UF/IFAS Hurricane Preparedness, Evacuating Your Home, when remaining inside your home or office remember to:
- Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
- Turn off all fans, heating, and air conditioning systems.
- Close the fireplace damper.
- Get your disaster kit and make sure your radio is working.
- Go to an interior room without windows that is above ground level.
- Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or that you are to evacuate. The length of your stay can range from a few hours to two weeks. During this time you should maintain a 24-hour communications and safety watch. Take turns with family in listening for radio broadcasts.
- Assemble an emergency toilet, if necessary. Use a garbage container, pail, or bucket with a snug-fitting cover. If the container is small, use a larger container with a cover for waste disposal. Line both containers with plastic bags. After each use, pour or sprinkle a small amount of a regular household disinfectant, such as chlorine bleach, into the container to reduce odor or germs.