Hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th, and the City of Margate wants you to be prepared for a storm. To assist with hurricane preparation, Broward County has launched a new Hurricane Preparedness Guide designed to provide a wide range of valuable resources such as how to develop a hurricane plan, a hurricane shelter map, how to safeguard your home before the storm, and keeping safe after the storm.
- Make a Plan for what you will do in an emergency.
- Be prepared to assess the situation.
- Use common sense and whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Develop a Family Emergency Plan
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another and review what you will do in different situations. Consider a plan where each family member calls, or emails, the same friend or relative in the event of an emergency. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members. Be sure each person knows the phone number and has coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact.
You may have trouble getting through, or the phone system may be down altogether, but be patient. Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the attack, the first important decision is whether you stay put or get away. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. Use common sense and the information you are learning here to determine if there is immediate danger. Watch television and listen to the radio for official instructions as they become available.
Create a Plan to Shelter-in-Place
There are circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as sheltering-in-place and sealing the room can be a matter of survival. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you may want to shelter in place and seal the room. Consider precutting plastic sheeting to seal windows, doors, and air vents. Each piece should be several inches larger than the space you want to cover so that you can duct tape it flat against the wall. Label each piece with the location of where it fits.
Use all available information to assess the situation. Quickly bring your family and pets inside, lock doors, and close windows, air vents, and replace dampers. Immediately turn off air conditioning, forced air heating systems, exhaust fans, and clothes dryers. Take your emergency supplies and go into the room you have designated. Seal all windows, doors, and vents. Understand that sealing the room is a temporary measure to create a barrier between you and contaminated air. Watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet for instructions from local emergency management officials.
Create a Plan to Get Away
Plan in advance how you will assemble your family and anticipate where you will go. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency. If you have a car, keep at least a half tank of gas in it at all times. Become familiar with alternate routes as well as other means of transportation out of your area. If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if you have to. Take your emergency supply kit, unless you have reason to believe it is contaminated, and lock the door behind you. Take pets with you if you are told to evacuate, however, if you are going to a public shelter, keep in mind they may not be allowed inside.
If you believe the air may be contaminated, drive with your windows and vents closed and keep the air conditioning and heater turned off. Listen to the radio for instructions. Know Emergency Plans at school and work. Talk to your children's schools and your employer about emergency plans. Find out how they will communicate with families during an emergency. If you are an employer, be sure you have an emergency preparedness plan. Review and practice it with your employees. A community working together during an emergency also makes sense. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together.
Be Informed About What Might Happen
Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling a supply kit and developing a family emergency plan, are the same for both a natural or manmade emergency. However, there are significant differences among potential terrorist threats, such as biological, chemical, explosive, nuclear, and radiological, which will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. By beginning a process of learning about these specific threats, you are preparing yourself to react in an emergency. View Ready.gov to learn more about potential terrorist threats and other emergencies or call 800-BE-READY (800-237-3239) for a free brochure. Be prepared to adapt this information to your personal circumstances and make every effort to follow instructions received from authorities on the scene. Also, learn about your community's local emergency plan. With these simple preparations, you can be ready for the unexpected.