Tropical Storm Idalia is rapidly developing and headed for the Gulf of Mexico. There is a possibility that Hillsborough County will experience the effects of flooding and storm surge. September is also National Preparedness Month and marks the start of peak hurricane season. The time to prepare your home, property, and family is now.
The most important step you can take is to remain alert by signing up for Hillsborough County's HCFL Alert system, which provides emergency alerts for severe weather, hurricane evacuations, and flood warnings. HCFL Alert also provides Hillsborough County information on major road closures, County events, County closures, and more.
Here are six important steps to take now to become hurricane-prepared:
Step 1: Have a plan Having a plan for every scenario is the best way to reduce your risk in case of a disaster. Where do you go if you have to evacuate? What should you do if you are sheltering in place? What about your business? What should you have packed and ready? What is in your disaster kit? Plans should be specific to each household or business. Visit the Stay Safe page to review Hillsborough County's Disaster Guide and see other tools that can be used to help make a plan. The Florida Division of Emergency Management has additional information and resources.
Step 2: Prepare supplies Stock your disaster supply kit with nonperishable food, pet supplies, batteries, flashlights, and water. The supply kit should have enough supplies to last each individual and pet in your group for at least seven days. The kit can also include important documents, such as banking information, medical records, and copies of birth and marriage certificates. Visit the Stay Safe page or the Florida Division of Emergency Management's Disaster Supply Kit Checklist page to learn more.
Step 3: Know your zone Learn and understand the difference between evacuation and flood zones. Evacuation zones are areas that may be ordered to evacuate during a storm and indicate areas that could be affected by storm surge. Flood zones signal a property's risk for flooding throughout the year. Use the tools on the Stay Safe page to find your evacuation and flood zones in Hillsborough County. Also, take time to prepare your property by cleaning rain gutters and drainpipes, trimming limbs and shrubs, and removing trees with rotting trunks located near the home. Learn more by visiting the Florida Division of Emergency Management's Plan & Prepare page.
Step 4: Protect your family Make certain your preparation plan and checklist meet the needs of your children and elderly relatives, including specialty foods, clothes, medicines, and other specific items tailored to them. And don't forget about pets. They are a part of the family and will need food, medicine, and other essentials to get through the uncertainty of a storm just like everyone else in the family. Learn more on the Stay Safe page and the Florida Division of Emergency Management's Plan & Prepare page.
Step 5: Prepare your property Clean rain gutters to ensure obstacles can’t block water flow. Trim leaves and shrubs near your house and remove trees with rotting trunks. Move lightweight, unsecured outdoor items, such as patio furniture and potted plants, indoors. Items that can’t be moved should be secured. Keep insurance information and important documents in a waterproof and fireproof safe or box. It is important to document everything you have with video or photos.
Step 6: Review your plan Go over your readiness plan and all the preparations you have made with loved ones. By making a plan that includes your children, elderly family members, pets, and a disaster supply kit, and reviewing your evacuation zone and routes, you'll be prepared for the remainder of this hurricane season.
If you are already prepared for a hurricane, continue to stay informed and remain vigilant. If you aren't prepared, act now. Hurricane season continues through Nov. 30.
Get Connected. Stay Alert.For more information on Hillsborough County's response to Tropical Storm Idalia, visit HCFLGov.net/StaySafe and sign up for the HCFL Alert system. Additionally, you can follow Hillsborough County on social media at Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor for updates.
Residents without digital access are encouraged to call 833-HC STORM or 833-427-8676, the County's storm information line for information on Tropical Storm Idalia or visit HCFLGov.net/StaySafe.Here are six important steps to take now to become hurricane-preparedStep 1: Have a planStep 2: Prepare suppliesStep 3: Know your zoneStep 4: Protect your familyStep 5: Prepare your propertyStep 6: Review your planGet Connected. Stay Alert.