Hurricane Safety Guide
Hurricane season officially starts on June 1 and ends on November 30. In the past two years, Florida had to endure both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Michael. This hurricane season is expected to have an average level of activity, with approximately 13 named storms, only two of those possibly developing into major storms. Whether or not the hurricane season ends up being active or inactive, we highly suggest preparing for hurricane season in Florida well in advance. If Hurricanes Irma and Michael taught Floridians anything, it is that unexpected devastation can happen in a blink of an eye. We NEED to be as ready as possible to face the storm.
- Know Your Evacuation Zone: Are you in flood zone or an evacuation zone? If you are unsure, click here for a map that will show you. Another interactive map, known as the Hurricane Evacuation Assessment Tool (HEAT), assists Hillsborough County residents in determining if they are in one of the five evacuation zones. It also provides information on shelters- some animal-friendly, hospitals, fire stations, and sandbag locations. Search evacuation information by owner name, address, or parcel using HEAT.
- Know Your Flood Zone: Your FEMA Flood Zone is different than your evacuation zone listed on the HEAT map. You can find your flood zone by clicking here.
- Know Your Evacuation Route: Based off of your zone on the maps above, it is possible that you will have to evacuate. If you do have to evacuate, how do you get out and where can you go? HART will provide free emergency evacuation bus services for people who need transportation to shelters. You can check all the routes here and plan ahead.
- Be Prepared to Evacuate: In the case that you will have to evacuate, make sure you have all your important documents together and anything you will want to take with you packed and ready to go. This might include birth certificates, passports, medicines, insurance information, health information, precious photos or family items and other related things.
- Prepare Your House: Houses can be damaged starting at a Category 1 Storm (as low as 74 mph). Boarding your windows, getting sandbags and having a generator are all things to think about. Make sure you have no leaks in your roof and anything outside that is not secure is moved inside.
- Get All Necessary Supplies: This is a great list of everything you might need during a hurricane. Some standouts are non-perishable food enough for at least three days, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation, medicines, flashlights, batteries, phone back-up batteries, pliers or a wrench to turn off utilities and a first aid kit.
Above all, do not take this hurricane threat lightly; preparing for hurricane season is crucial for everyone’s safety. Even if no storms hit Tampa, it is better to be safe than sorry. What a state of emergency declaration means here.