The time to put your survival plan into action is when forecasters predict a hurricane is headed toward Pinellas County. Forecasters use a “cone of certainty” to show areas likely to be impacted by a storm. Do not wait until the last minute! You need to start getting ready as soon as the storm is predicted to hit near our county.
What should you be doing during the 5-day cone, 3-day cone,
WATCH and WARNING phases of a forecast?
Read through the following topics to learn when to act and what to do when a storm is headed our way and more tips about how to get ready when the storm is nearing our coast.
Select A Safe Room:
you don’t have to evacuate and plan to weather
a hurricane at home, set up a safe room for you
and your family in case your home is damaged.
This is also a good place to store emergency supplies,
important papers and battery-powered radios.
Make sure the room has a solid-core door with
heavy duty hinges for greater protection. Use
long screws to ensure the hinges are anchored
securely. Installing a deadbolt lock, like those
found on entry doors, will further help protect
you and your family.
Where your safe room should be located depends
upon how many levels are in your home or building.
a one-story house, the ideal safe room is in
the center of your home with few or no windows.
a two-story house, seek out an interior first-floor
room such as a bathroom, closet or space under
a multiple-story building, go to the first or
second floors and take refuge in halls or other
interior rooms away from windows. Interior stairwells
and areas around elevators shafts are generally
the strongest parts of a building.
As A Storm Approaches: If
you are planning to leave the area, go early.
your prescriptions. Make sure you have at least
a one-week supply. (see prepare your medications)
your car’s gas tank. Have the oil, water and
tires checked. Gas pumps cannot operate during
power outages. Place emergency items inside
like booster cables, tire repair kit and spare
tire and flashlight with extra batteries.
your home may flood, stack valuable items and
cover them with plastic.
cash. Credit cards may not work. ATM's may not be operable.
your boat and make arrangements for your pets early.
When a Hurricane Watch is issued, a storm may
affect our area within 36 hours. This is the
time to review your Family Plan and Emergency Survival Kit checklist.
family members to coordinate efforts and exchange
refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings.
drinking water in plastic jugs.
up on an emergency water supply. Sterilize bathtub,
jugs, bottles, utensils and containers.
up 5-gallon buckets with tight-fitting lids
for use as emergency toilets. Line each bucket
with a heavy-duty plastic trash bag.
shutters or precut plywood over windows.
the water level in your pool by 1 or 2 feet.
Shock the pool with extra chlorine to compensate
for heavy rains.
off the pool pump. Put outdoor furniture and
pool equipment into the pool, but remove after
the storm passes to prevent rusting.
for weather updates and information on local
TV or radio. The NOAA Weather Radio is a reliable
source. Turn to PCC-TV, Your County
Connection, to receive the latest official Pinellas-specific
information. Don’t rely on rumors and speculation.
If You Must Evacuate:
an evacuation order is given you should:
all windows and doors tightly.
your Disaster Survival Kit in your car.
off electric, water and gas.
protective clothing like long pants, long sleeve
shirts and sturdy shoes.
quickly but safely. The sooner you leave, the
less time you spend in a traffic rush.
evacuate as far as necessary. Traffic gridlock
could leave you stranded. When the storm passes,
you may not be able to get back in. Officials
suggest going to someone else’s home in a non-evacuation
friends and family know your plans.
When A Hurricane Warning Is Issued:
Hurricane conditions are less than 36 hours away and violent
weather may come quickly. If you are not ordered
to evacuate, complete your preparations and head
to your home’s safe room.
your supplies and emergency survival kit to your
all interior doors. Secure and brace external
doors, particularly double inward-opening doors
and garage doors.
importantly, stay inside and do not leave your
When the storm’s impact is felt
While the approach of a hurricane can be an anxious time, living through the storm can be terrifying.
If you live in an ordered evacuation zone, you should already be at your safe place (host home, hotel or shelter). If you are not evacuating, it’s time to brave the storm.
Here are some important tips to remember:
- Stay tuned to local news or PCC-TV for updates.
- Close interior doors. Secure and brace external doors.
- If power goes out, use your weather radio for alerts. For light, use flashlights, lanterns or chemical light sticks. Avoid burning candles and do not run a generator inside.
- Stay indoors and most importantly, stay calm.
- Parents should extend greater patience and understanding to children having difficulty coping with the situation. Be honest about the danger and reassure them that you are focused on their safety. Do your best to keep them entertained or occupied.
- Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm and winds may pick up again.
If Your Home is Breached:
Even though you have taken the necessary precautions to protect your home, the exterior can be breached. Debris can break through windows, and trees can crash through your roof.
When this happens, take these immediate actions:
- Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level of your home. Remember, the center of your house is the safest.
- Lie on the floor under a table or other sturdy object if you cannot make it to a safe room.
- Consider leaving your home ONLY if remaining poses an imminent threat to your life.
- Wait until the storm has passed to tend to any damage.