With Hurricane Matthew causing quite a bit of damage around the Caribbean, Florida is rushing to prepare for the first deadly hurricane we’ve seen in years.
Earlier today, we provided you an all-encompassing list on how to best prepare (here), but now it’s time to remind ourselves on how best to handle the actual storm and its potential aftermath to secure your safety, and that of your household and/or guests.
- Do Not Ignore Evacuation Zones – If your local government suggests you evacuate your home, we strongly suggest you pack up and head for safety. Board up your home, pack up treasured belongings, take patio furniture and other debris inside and head to a relative or friends’ home further in-land. If you’re unsure of where to go, please visit floridadisaster.org/shelters/ to locate a hurricane shelter near you. Return home only when officials declare it is safe.
- Do Not Stand Outside During the Storm– Cabin fever can sometimes ensue after a few hours locked inside with the windows boarded up. Often times, people tend to stand in their patio during the storm, putting them at risk of flying debris, falling trees or tornadoes. What’s more, if you’re a dog owner, you may be tempted to let him or her out to relieve themselves. We strongly advise against that. Keep your pets, including your outdoor pets, inside during the storm. Invest in cat litter and/or potty-pads so that your pet may weather out the storm comfortably.
- Do Not Run Generators Indoors – Running a generator inside your home during or after the storm may seem like a good idea; however, we must strongly warn you not to do it. This includes garages, basements and crawlspaces. Generators release an alarming amount of carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas; and the use of generators during various storms have led to countless deaths. We advise that you invest in a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector (available at Walmart and Target) just to be safe.
- Do Not Drive Unless a Dire Emergency – Unless absolutely necessary, stay inside your home until the storm passes. If strong enough, hurricane winds can flip your cars, and you’re at risk of flying debris, falling trees and tornadoes. Downed powerlines and trees, as well as flooding, may close off roads. Unless it’s a medical emergency or you’re actively seeking shelter, avoid driving.
- Do Not Walk Around After the Storm – The strong winds, rainfall and risk of flying debris may be gone, but fallen wires, floods and flapping debris still remain. Wait until officials have declared it “All Clear.”
- Avoid Using Tap Water – After the storm has passed, be sure to avoid using tap water for drinking or cooking until officials confirm it is not contaminated.
- Do Not Panic – If you’ve taken the necessary steps to prepare yourself, remain calm. Keeping a level-head is important for your safety, and will help you brush off. Bring out the board games and puzzles and enjoy time with your family or friends, free of technological distractions.
Below, please find some important numbers to keep handy during this time.
DURING THE EMERGENCY
Broward County Hurricane Hotline: (954) 831-4000
Miami-Dade Citizen Line: 311
Broward County Emergency Management Division: (954) 831-3900
• Special Needs Registry: (954) 537-2888
• Hurricane Hotline during a storm: (954) 831-4000
Miami-Dade County Office of Emergency Management: (305) 468-5400
• Emergency Evacuation Assistance: (305) 513-7700
• TDD number (305) 468-5402
• (To register if you have special needs)
Miami-Dade County Answer Center:
• 311 (English and Spanish)
• TDD number (305) 468-5402
Monroe County Office of Emergency Management: (305) 289-6018
• Special Needs Registry: (305) 292-4591
• Emergency Information: 1-800-955-5504
Palm Beach County Division of Emergency Management: (561) 712-6400
OTHER IMPORTANT NUMBERS
American Red Cross
Broward: (954) 797-3800
Miami-Dade: (305) 644-1200
Upper Keys: (305) 852-9612
Lower Keys: (305) 296-4033
Palm Beach County: (561) 833-7711
Cooperative Extension Service (for questions about saving trees after a storm)
Miami-Dade: (305) 248-3311
The Keys: (305) 292-4501
BellSouth Repair: 1-866-620-6900
To Report Electric Trouble
Call 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) to report an outage or a downed power line that is sparking or appears to be energized. Have your FPL account number for faster service.
Florida Keys Electric Cooperative
Tavernier: (305) 852-2431
Marathon: (305) 743-5344
Keys Energy Services
South of Marathon to Key West: (305) 295-1010
To find out if a contractor is licensed
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation: (850) 487-1395
Miami-Dade: (305) 468-5790
Broward: (954) 765-5108
Florida Department of Financial Services (Insurance): (800) 342-2762
State Farm: (800) 732-5246
Allstate: (800) 547-8676
Nationwide: (800) 421-3535
National Flood Insurance: (800) 638-6620