|It’s that time of the year again! While South Florida weather is idyllic – most of the time – residents are vulnerable each year between June 1 and November 30 to the damage and devastation of hurricanes.“Broward County has not experienced a direct hit from a hurricane since Hurricane Wilma in October 2005, so complacency is not surprising,” said Chuck Lanza, director of Broward County Emergency Management Division. “But all residents have a responsibility to be prepared in case of an emergency, with sufficient food, water and other supplies to sustain themselves and their families for three to five days.”In between the summer fun, families should take time to dust off their emergency plans, replenish their emergency kit supplies and ensure they are Ready. Set. Safe. for hurricane season. Here are some tips to get started:
• Visit broward.org/hurricane for helpful information. Check out Broward County’s A-Z Hurricane Guide with links to preparedness and safety information on more than 60 topics, from airports and animals to water and windows.
• Create a family plan using Broward County’s easy 10-step process.
• Develop a shelter plan, whether you plan to stay at home or evacuate to a shelter. If you plan to evacuate to a general population shelter, preregistration is not available. However, if you have a medical condition that requires a greater level of care than appropriate in a general population shelter, you may qualify for the County’s Special Needs Sheltering program. Pre-registration is encouraged if you plan on going to a Special Needs Shelter, or need functional needs support services in a general population shelter. Residents are also encouraged to preregister for Paratransit assistance, if needed. For additional information on sheltering and transportation services or to preregister, visit the Special Medical Needs website or call Broward County Human Services Department at 954-357-6385 or TTY 954-357-5608.
• If you or a member of your family is elderly, frail or disabled and may become vulnerable in the aftermath of a storm, register with the Vulnerable Population Registry. The Registry is not a guarantee of services, but helps emergency responders in each municipality plan for their recovery effort. For additional information or to register, visit broward.org/registry or call the Broward County Call Center at 3-1-1 or 954-831-4000.
• If you plan on sheltering with a pet (not including service animals, which are accepted at all shelters), you must preregister at Broward County’s pet-friendly shelter, located at Millennium Middle School in Tamarac, operated by the Humane Society of Broward County and the American Red Cross. This is a pet-friendly shelter only, and not a general population shelter. Owners are expected to stay in the same shelter with their pets and care for them. For more information, visit broward.org/hurricane and click ANIMALS in the Hurricane A-Z Guide or to preregister call the Humane Society at 954-989-3977.
• Stock up on your hurricane kit supplies. To spread out the cost, follow Broward County’s convenient eight-week shopping guide. Adding a few items to your regular shopping list each week is the easiest way to complete your hurricane kit with minimal impact to your budget. This guide also includes information for preparing a hurricane kit for infants, the elderly, pets and a first aid kit.
• Secure your home. Verify that shutters are in good condition and that generators and other emergency equipment are operating properly. Before the storm season begins, trim your trees and get rid of other bulky waste around your home that could become a projectile in a storm. Each Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., residents of participating cities can dispose of trimmings for FREE at one of Solid Waste and Recycling Services trash transfer stations (no commercial vehicles permitted). For additional information, call 954-765-4999 or visit broward.org/waste.
• Participate in the Home Damage Assessment Program. In the immediate aftermath of a storm, you can help first responders quickly identify areas of devastation, even before damage assessment teams are able to canvass the County. As soon as it is safe to go outside, compare the way your home looks to the four photos on the Home Damage Assessment Program website, and select the number of the photo that most closely matches your level of damage. To report, call the Broward County Emergency Hotline at 3-1-1 or 954-831-4000. If you have power and Internet service, you can visit broward.org/hurricane and click HOME DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM. You can also report through your smart phone.
• Most important, monitor media reports for the latest information and updates, and stay connected to breaking news and public safety information by subscribing to one or more of Broward County’s emergency update services:
Hurricane eMail Updates – This system provides residents with information from the Broward County Emergency Operations Center before, during and after a hurricane. To subscribe, visit broward.org/hurricane and click SUBSCRIBE TO HURRICANE UPDATES.
Twitter@ReadyBroward– Follow us for official tweets from Broward County Emergency Management and Office of Public Communications.
Facebook – Like us and visit us on Facebook for the latest public safety updates in an emergency, and year-round.
You can also call the Broward County Call Center, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 3-1-1 or 954-831-4000 for answers to your important questions about hurricane preparedness. During an emergency, the Call Center becomes the Hurricane Hotline and is open 24/7 to respond to resident inquiries.
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