“It takes only one hurricane to change your life and your community. Hurricanes are one of nature’s most powerful and destructive events that this nation faces, and they’ve caused eight of the ten most costly disasters in U.S. history.  This hurricane season is expected to be above average in intensity according to the NOAA outlook.  The most important thing our residents can do is to be prepared and self-sufficient for the first 72 hours have your emergency kits ready and review your emergency and family communication plan before a storm comes.” – Stephen Taylor, Homestead Emergency Manager

To talk about hurricanes is not pleasant, especially when it brings bad memories. But, we live in a state where the hurricane season runs from June to November every year. For that reason, it is important to be prepared in case an emergency arises.
It is also important to talk with your family about a plan of action in the event of a disaster. Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes; therefore, discuss with them how you can get in contact with each other and if it is possible, how to reunite and what to do in case of an emergency.

Below is a hurricane information guide that contains helpful tips to keep in mind before and after a weather emergency.
Before the Hurricane
- First, clean the garden and household of any waste materials. In the case of balconies, remove everything that is placed there. Remember that all objects can turn into projectiles and become hazards to people and homes.  The following is recommended:
- Protect windows and doors, preferably with your county-approved permanent shutters.
- Bring patio furniture and all other objects that are loose into the interior of the house.
- Use surge protectors and waterproof covers for your electronics.
- Maintain one gallon of drinking water per person and have bottles in the freezer for after the storm.
- Fill up the gasoline tanks of your cars, and store five gallons or less in a cool, dry and ventilated place.
- Have a first-aid kit with essential supplies before any emergency occurs.

After a Hurricane
Many of the injuries related to a hurricane sometimes occur after the storm has passed. Follow the recommendations below to protect yourself:
• Stay in your shelter until local authorities say you can leave. If you must leave, watch out for fallen objects and downed electrical cables.
• Inspect your home for any damage and make sure it is safe to live in. If you have gas service, check for leaks.
• Do not go to inspect the affected areas to see what happened.
• Obey all curfews and emergency orders that are issued.
• Do not use charcoal grills, kitchens or camp stoves with propane gas or generators inside the house or anywhere else.
• Do not approach downed electric lines, and report them to Florida Power & Light.
• Get rid of any refrigerated food that you may think is spoiled.
Visit www.miamidade.gov or call 3-1-1 to get an update of your County’s services. Weather conditions can affect bus and train services, garbage collection, as well as airport and port operations.

ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES

1. Put your personal documents in an airtight, waterproof plastic bag.
2. Have at least five gallons of bottled water and non-perishable, packaged or canned food supply for seven days.
3. Non-electric can opener.
4. First-aid kit and any medicine that a person takes.
5. Batteries for a radio or electric converter.
6. Flashlights and batteries.
7. Special articles for babies, the elderly or disabled.
8. Charged cell phones, extra batteries, cables for wall and car charging, and a land telephone.
9. Fill up your car’s gas tank
10. Bedding.
11. Articles of personal hygiene.
12. Extra clothing.
13. List of telephone contacts and other useful numbers.

Hurricanes that have landed in an area of the Florida peninsula and have made history:

1. Hurricane Andrew, August 24, 1992. Category 5
It struck the Bahamas, Homestead, and the southern area of ​​Miami-Dade County and the southwest region of Louisiana. It left 15 people dead, 90,000 without homes and $34 billion in damages.

2. Hurricane Wilma, October 25, 2005. Category 3
It struck Cozumel, Mexico, then landed near Cabo Romano on Marco Island and crossed the Everglades to enter Broward and Palm Beach counties. It left 5 people dead, 33,975 without homes and $2.06 billion in damages.

3. Hurricane Charley, August 13, 2004. Category 4
It landed north of Captiva Island, it struck Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte and then headed northeast across Kissimmee and Orlando. It left 29 people dead, 52,145 without homes and $1.35 billion in damages.

4. Hurricane Frances, September 5, 2004. Category 2
It landed near Stuart and crossed the Florida peninsula. It left 37 people dead, 120,000 without homes and $8.32 billion in damages.

5. Hurricane Donna, September 10, 1960. Category 4
It struck the middle of the Florida Keys and Naples, and then it hit the coast of North Carolina, Long Island and New England. It left 50 people dead in the US and $5.7 billion in damages.

6. The Great Miami Hurricane, September 18, 1926. Category 4
 It hit Miami Beach and downtown Miami, went into the Gulf of Mexico and hit Pensacola. It left 373 people dead, 25,000-50,000 homeless and $124 billion in damages.

7. Hurricane Opal, October 4, 1995. Category 3.
It touched down on Pensacola Beach and hit the Florida Panhandle, then passed through Alabama and southeast Tennessee. It left 1 person dead and $1.2 billion in damages.

8. The Hurricane of San Felipe-Okeechobee, September 16, 1928. Category 4.
It touched land near Palm Beach and crossed Lake Okeechobee, where floods destroyed agricultural land and the surrounding homes. It left 2,500 people dead and $321 million in damages.

Haz clic para leer en Español: Preparándonos para la temporada de huracanes

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Go Latinos Magazine is a free monthly publication that reaches South Florida’s residents in Miami-Dade County, dedicated to family themes in a variety of topics. Every month and during the year, we publish stories that promote local education, wellness, sports, healthy eating, finances, home ownership, fitness, local events and more.

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