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2012 Hurricane Season Is Here

Although some Floridians may be sluggish in gearing up for the start of the 2012 hurricane season June 1, AARP Florida is urging our nearly 3 million Florida members to prepare for this year’s season.

See Also: Operation Hurricane Prepare Toolkit

Since hurricane forecasters, like the National Hurricane Center, predict fewer hurricanes this season, it’s tempting to let down your guard. It’s been five years without a category five hurricane in Florida. But the truth is, all Floridians should be on their guard for a major storm, especially older Floridians.

To help, we have compiled several hurricane-preparedness tips to consider that are specifically tailored to Floridians 50+:

  • Prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three days. While government responders will work hard to respond to a major disaster, it will take time to deliver supplies. You should be able to cope on your own for at least three days. A week would be better.
  • Recognize that your health is at risk if you lose air conditioning, fresh water, sewage service or other services. If you may need assistance during and after a storm, register with your local special needs shelter. To register, call your county Emergency Operations Center. The phone number can be found in the Blue Pages of your phone book or online.
  • Update your Evacuation kit. Your Evacuation kit should include your ID or Driver’s License, birth certificate; clothes, food and water (for at least three days); cash and traveler’s checks; maps of the evacuation route, alternate routes and a way to get to local shelters; and your car keys along with a full tank of gas.
  • Have a Supply Kit ready. Your Supply kit should include a flashlight, first aid kit, batteries, food, water and any medications you may need for at least three days.
  • Evacuate no farther than you have to. If you must evacuate, frequently 100 to 150 miles is far enough to go to get to an area less affected by the storm.
  • Make a plan for your pets. Because many of us consider pets to be family members, we can hesitate to evacuate when necessary for fear of leaving our animals at risk.
  • Harden your home against hurricane damage now.

Floridians 50+ with special health needs should register with a special needs shelter. Keep in mind that even if you need no assistance now, when you have access to electrical power and many services, your situation could change if your area loses power for days or weeks. For registration information, visit the Florida Department of Elder Affairs website, or call 1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337).

Think you are already prepared for this hurricane season? AARP also is urging Floridians age 50+ to join others in helping their friends, neighbors and communities prepare for storms as well.

If you’re in good health, your fellow older Floridians can use your assistance.

Create The Good will provide continuing opportunities for AARP members and other Floridians to give back to their communities through hurricane-preparedness. Viewers of the website will find step-by-step instructions on how to lend a helping hand to those in need.

Whether Florida residents have five minutes, five hours or longer, Create The Good/Operation Hurricane Prepare offers ways to engage and to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

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