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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Ready for hurricane season? Marion Health Department urges all residents to prepare.

Hurricane season is underway, and the Florida Department of Health in Marion County is encouraging all residents and visitors to prepare for severe weather emergencies.

“It’s time for every Florida resident and visitor to prepare for hurricane season and put a plan in place,” said State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “With this week being the start of hurricane season, it is a great opportunity for Floridians to obtain essential supplies and prepare for possible impacts of hurricane weather.”

Make a Plan

During an emergency or disaster, residents may lose access to basic services, such as power and water, and be subject to limited or no access to essentials like food and water. Visit the Florida Department of Emergency Management’s “Plan and Prepare” webpage for guidance on making an emergency plan for a family or business.

Sales Tax Holiday for Disaster-Preparedness Supplies

The sales tax holiday began on Saturday, May 27, 2023, and it extends through Friday, June 9, 2023. During this sales tax holiday period, residents can save money while stocking up on critical supplies.

Make a Kit

The Florida Division of Emergency Management recommends that residents maintain a well-stocked emergency preparedness kit to last for a minimum of seven days.

Disaster supply kits can differ based on personal needs for each individual and family. Here is a list of the basic items that all residents are encouraged to include in their kit:

  • Water: Enough for drinking, cooking, and sanitation purposes – pack a minimum of one gallon daily, per person, for seven days.
  • Food: Non-perishable packaged or canned food and juices, snacks, and foods for those with dietary restrictions such as infants and people with diabetes.
  • Cooking Supplies: A manual can opener, cooking tools and fuel, paper plates, and plastic utensils.
  • Flashlight and Extra Batteries.
  • Pillows, Blankets, and/or Sleeping Bags.
  • Clothing: A complete change of clothes suitable for the current climate, and include sturdy shoes to protect feet from debris or other sharp objects post-storm.
  • First Aid Kit, Prescription Medication, and Other Medicines: Include a first aid kit and plan to bring medications that you need. After a storm, there may be limited supplies of prescription medications and local pharmacies may close. Residents should keep an updated list of each medication they take, its dosing instructions, and the name and contact information of the prescribing doctor.
  • Radio: A battery operated and NOAA weather radio.
  • Toiletries.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Garbage bags, moisture wipes, and other items for cleaning.
  • Cash: Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods following a disaster.
  • Important Documents: Store all critical documents in a waterproof container and save them electronically. Examples of critical documents include insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
  • Contact List: Keep an updated list of all important contacts, including doctors, friends, relatives, out-of-state friends, or relatives.
  • Special Items: Assess the needs of family members. Plan for infants, elderly, and individuals with access and functional needs by having medical items, baby bottles, etc.
  • Pet Care Items: Proper identification, immunization records, ample supply of food and water, carrier or cage, medications, a muzzle and leash, and a photo showing the pet owner with their pet(s) to validate ownership.

Know the Location of Shelters

The time may arise when residents need to evacuate their home to go to a safer place. In certain situations, it may be safest to evacuate to a more secure location like a shelter. A hurricane evacuation shelter is a refuge of last resort; a place to go for those who are unable to evacuate to a hotel or the home of a relative, friend, or co-worker. Hurricane shelters are also available for people who have no other place to go.

A list of open shelters can be viewed on the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s “Shelters” webpage.

For those who are caring for an individual with a disability or special need, such as a medical condition that requires assistance but not hospitalization, it is important to pre-register with the Florida Special Needs Shelter Registry. This registry allows local emergency management officials to provide important information and quick assistance during an emergency.

Anyone who is eligible for a Special Needs Shelter is encouraged to have an emergency preparedness kit that includes the following:

  • A list of medications and dosage.
  • A 30-day supply of medications.
  • Vital medical equipment for those who may be electrically or oxygen dependent.
  • Back-up energy sources for essential medical equipment.
  • Any special dietary needs or food.
  • Personal information including a photo ID, insurance card, list of emergency contacts, and the primary care provider’s contact information.

Stay Connected

During severe weather and other emergencies, the toll-free State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) is activated to provide accurate and up-to-date information on emergency or disaster situations impacting Florida. The SAIL hotline is: 1-800-342-3557.

For more information, visit the Florida Department of Health’s “Emergency Information” webpage.