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September is National Preparedness Month

Posted On: September 1, 2018

It’s already September, and we’ve barely had a breeze. But we’re not out of the woods yet!

September is the most active month for hurricanes. September is also National Preparedness Month, and there’s no better time to brush up on safety tips and do a self-check on your personal emergency plans.

The theme for this year’s preparedness month is “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.”

Disaster plan

The best way to be prepared is to have a family plan and a disaster supply kit. After a disaster, emergency workers may not be able to reach everyone right away. In some cases, it may take five or more days for help to arrive.  A disaster plan will help to prepare your family for these difficult times. Discuss your plan as a group and decide what you will do if a hurricane is headed our way.

Volusia County’s Emergency Management personnel encourage you to decide now where you will stay if an evacuation order is issued. Arrange to stay with friends or relatives who live well inland if possible. You’ll be more comfortable there than in a shelter. For those who have no alternatives, hurricane shelters will be set up at key locations across the county.  

Your first step should be to stock a disaster supply kit for your family and pets. Your disaster supply kit should include a two-week supply of medications and enough drinking water and nonperishable food to last five to seven days. Don’t forget personal items and first-aid supplies. For a list of other items you should include, visit www.volusia.org/emergency.

Prepare your home

You can reduce damage to your home and property by following a few steps. Start by walking around your home and looking for vulnerable areas such as the roof, garage door, patio door, windows and yard.

Hire a licensed professional to check your roof and doors to make sure they can withstand high winds.

If you can afford shutters, have them installed by a licensed professional. Plywood is more economical, but may not offer enough protection.

Identify a safe room in your home. The strongest part of your home usually is away from windows and exterior doors. A bathroom or walk-in closet near the center of the home may be your best bet.

For more tips on safeguarding your home, visit www.volusia.org/safeguard

Flood insurance

Flood damage is not covered under homeowners insurance policies. If you want protection, you have to buy a separate flood policy.

“Don’t wait for a hurricane to purchase flood insurance,” cautioned Jim Judge, Volusia County’s emergency management director. “It takes 30 days after purchase for a flood insurance policy to take effect. Also, if a hurricane is within 500 miles of Florida, flood insurance policies will not be written.”

To learn about flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov. The website can help you rate your risk, estimate premiums, and find an agent.

Emergency app

Emergency Management staff has created an app to keep residents and employees informed during disasters.

The app includes weather alerts, checklists, shelter status, sandbag locations, evacuation routes, push notifications, links to county sites, and a location indicator that can be sent to family and friends. It also aids in damage assessment as residents can submit damage reports along with photo documentation.

The app is available in the Google Play store at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ocv.volusiacountyema&hl=en and the App Store at https://appsto.re/us/MBOYib.i.