En español | The 2011 hurricane season could be the sixth one in a row that Florida lucks out and escapes unscathed without a major storm making landfall. Then again, it could not be. That’s why AARP Florida urges Floridians to be prepared just in case Florida isn’t so lucky this time around.
With a hurting economy, the rising price of fuel, food and prescription drugs, AARP Florida members have enough to worry about without the potential of a big storm affecting their lives as well. Now is not the time to let your guard down. Older Floridians, especially, must be prepared for a major storm.
Here are some important tips to consider:
- Prepare to be able to manage for at least three days until government responders and volunteers can deliver supplies in the event of a major disaster. 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.
- Have two survival kits on hand – one for an evacuation and one to help you be self-sufficient for several days when you return home. Your kit should include a flashlight, first aid kit, batteries, food, water and any medications you may need.
- 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.
- Prepare your home against hurricane damage. Have a licensed professional install hurricane shutters on your windows.
- Review your insurance policy.
Floridians 50+ with special health needs should register with a special needs shelter. For registration information, visit the Florida Department of Elder Affairs website, or call 1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337).
Not only is it important to prepare yourselves in case of a disaster, but you should also consider helping those who may not be able to prepare for themselves. If you’re in good health, your fellow older Floridians can use your assistance. Join others in helping your friends, neighbors and communities prepare for storms. To help, we have compiled several hurricane-preparedness resources online that are specifically tailored to Floridians 50+.
Learn more online and look for Operation Hurricane Prepare. Using AARP’s Operation Hurricane Prepare toolkits, you can make a positive difference in the lives of others.