Student Services

Hurricanes

Hurricane

The hurricane season is June through November. Be Prepared!

Refer to the Hurricane Evacuation Maps on the Web sites below, or in the Official Hurricane Guide for Manatee County and/or Sarasota County, or in the front information section of the local telephone directory. Locate where you live and your evacuation level. Determine if and when you would have to evacuate.

 REMEMBER:  All mobile home residents must evacuate, regardless of location.

  • Decide NOW where you would go if ordered to evacuate (a friend or relative, a hotel or motel, out of the region, or, as a last resort, to a public shelter). Remember, if you are going to leave the region or go to a hotel, you must leave early. Determine your route. Also note that pets--except for seeing-eye dogs and service dogs--are not allowed in public shelters.
     
  • Check your Disaster Supplies Kit and obtain any items you need [see list of suggestions below under "Disaster Supplies Kit"]
     
  • Inventory your property (either a written list including all information, or, if possible, a video tape is best)
     
  • Whether you rent or own, review your insurance policies with your agent now.

Suggested List of "To Dos" to Prepare for a Hurricane

(Compiled by Kay Mackenzie, University of West Florida

  • Contact anyone in the U.S. you know who might take you for a couple of days or weeks if we must evacuate again. Do it now and try to make a plan of how you would get to this person's home.
  • Get necessary prescriptions filled and keep any medicine you might need with you. Take enough for at least two or three weeks.
  • Double plastic bag your textbooks and notebooks to keep them dry and save them. Do the same with your computer equipment, any other valuable electronic equipment and musical instruments. Try to keep these with you if possible. -- You might also want to join with a few other friends to rent a small storage compartment to store important things in a dry, safe place.
  • Keep your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, I-94, and any important papers double bagged and on you, with you.  Do the same for any car keys or house keys.
  • Throw out everything from your frig or kitchen that will go bad in 3 or 4 days without cool air.
  • Keep the car filled with gas, the tub filled with water (for flushing the toilet). Keep sturdy shoes with you at all times and wear them--don't go barefoot.
  • Keep flashlights (and extra batteries) with you and a battery radio tuned to a local radio station.  It will be a lifeline!
  • Buy non-perishable food that is easy to eat and you don't have to cook.  If anyone has a yummy list, give it up!
  • Wash all your clothes and get everything clean because you might not be able to wash them again for a while!  Remember that one?

AS THE STORM APPROACHES

  • Listen for weather updates on local stations and on NOAA Weather Radio. Don't trust rumors, and stay tuned to the latest information.
     
  • Check your Disaster Supplies Kit. Obtain any needed last minute items. [see suggested list of supplies below under "Disaster Supplies Kit"]
     
  • Stock up on canned foods (and a non-electric can opener) enough for 2-3 weeks.
     
  • Refill prescriptions. Maintain at least a two-week supply during hurricane season.
     
  • Clear yard, porch, patio (e.g., lawn furniture, potted plants, bicycles, watering hoses and trash cans).
     
  • If you have a car, fill your car's gas tank and check oil, water, and tires. Gas pumps don't operate without electricity!
     
  • GET CASH! Banks and ATMs won't be in operation without electricity, and few stores will be able to accept credit cards.

IF YOU MUST EVACUATE

 Stay tuned to your local radio and television station for emergency broadcasts. If ordered to evacuate, you must do so immediately! Shelter openings will be announced (not all shelters may be open).
 

  • Take your Disaster Supplies Kit with you!
  • Take ORIGINAL documents with you, including your driver's license, visa, passport, SEVIS-issued I-20 or DS 2019, I-94 card, Social Security card, EAC card, SCF ID card, special medical information, insurance policies, financial records, CASH, checks, credit cards, plane tickets, and anything else of value to you and to your staying in the U.S.
     
  • Let friends and relatives know where you are going.
     
  • Inform the SCF International Student Office where you are going.
     
  • Turn off major appliances. Turn off electricity and gas.
     
  • Lock windows and doors.
     
  • Make safe arrangements for any pets. Pets are not allowed in public shelters.

IF YOU CAN STAY AT HOME

IF you are outside the evacuation area (not close to river, bay, or beaches) and do not live in a mobile home, you can stay at home.

  • Make sure your windows are protected and the home is secured (all loose items put away)
     
  • Clean the containers for drinking water and clean your bathtub for storing cleaning water. Plan on at least three gallons per person, per day for all uses.
     
  • During the storm, stay inside and away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
     
  • Wait for official word that the danger is over. Don't be fooled by the storm's calm "eye" because the "eye" is followed by even worse winds and storm.
     
  • If flooding threatens your home, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
     
  • Offer your home as shelter to friends or relatives who live in vulnerable areas or mobile homes.
     
  • If you lose power, turn off major appliances, such as the air conditioner and water heater to reduce damage when the power comes back on.

    AFTER THE STORM

    • Be Patient! Access to affected areas will be controlled. You won't be able to return to your home until search and rescue operations are complete and safety hazards, such as downed trees and downed power lines, are cleared. It may take up to three days for emergency crews to reach your neighborhood. It may take 2-4 weeks before utilities are restored.
       
    • Stay tuned to your local radio station for advice and instructions about emergency medical aid, food, and other forms of assistance.
       
    • Carry valid ID and your ORIGINAL documents with you on your person.  Security operations will include checkpoints. Valid identification with your CURRENT LOCAL ADDRESS will be required.
    • Avoid driving. Roads will have debris which will puncture your tires! Don't add to the congestion of relief workers, supply trucks, law enforcement, etc.
       
    • Don't sight-see, especially at night. You may be mistaken for a looter [someone stealing other people's property after a disaster] and be arrested!

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    • Avoid downed or dangling utility wires. Metal fences may have been "energized"  [electrified] by fallen wires. Be especially careful when cutting or clearing fallen trees. They may have power lines tangled in them and you could be electrocuted [killed].
       
    • Beware of snakes, insects, or animals driven to higher ground by floods.
       
    • Enter your home (apartment, or room) with caution. Open all windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
       
    • If there has been flooding, have an electrician inspect your home before turning on the electric circuit breaker.
       
    • Be careful with fire. Do not strike a match (or use a lighter) until you are sure there are no breaks in gas lines. Avoid candles. Use battery-operated flashlights and lanterns instead.
       
    • Keep cookout grills outdoors.
       
    • Assess and photograph damage to your home (apartment, or room) and its contents.
       
    • Use your telephone ONLY for emergencies. 

    Disaster Supplies Kit:

    One of the most important tools for emergency preparedness is the Disaster Supplies Kit. Below are the most important items for your kit. Stock up today and replenish as necessary.

    • Two-week supply of prescription medicines
    • Two-week supply of non-perishable/special dietary foods
    • Drinking water in clean containers = 3 gallons per person
    • Flashlights and 7 sets of batteries for each family member
    • Portable radio and 7 sets of batteries
    • First-aid kit including bandages, antiseptic, pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication
    • Mosquito repellent
    • Two coolers (one to keep food; one to go get ice)
    • Plastic tarp, tools, screening, and nails
    • Water purification kit (tablets, chlorine[plain] or iodine)
    • Infant necessities (medicine, water, diapers, ready formula, bottles)
    • Clean-up supplies (mop, buckets, towels, disinfectant)
    • Camera and film
    • Non-electric can opener
    • Extra batteries for camera, flashlights, radio, portable TV, lamps, etc.
    • Plastic trash bags (lots of them)
    • Toilet paper, paper towels, and pre-moistened towelettes

    If you evacuate, you also should take:

    • Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags or air mattresses
    • Extra clothing, shoes, glasses, etc.
    • Folding chairs, lawn chairs or cots
    • Personal hygiene items such as toothbrush, comb, deodorant
    • Quiet games, books, playing cards (and favorite toys if you have children)
    • ORIGINAL documents and important papers (driver's license, Visa, passport, I-94 card, EAC card, SCF ID card, medical information, insurance policies, property inventory, etc.) AND CASH!

    Precious commodities after a storm:

    • Cash (with no electric power, banks and ATMs may be closed; checks and credit cards may be unaccepted at stores)
       
    • Charcoal, matches, and cookout grill (use ONLY outdoors!)
       
    • Ice

    Repairs & Safety Precautions:

    • Make temporary repairs to correct safety hazards and minimize further damage.
       
    • Only hire licensed contractors to do repairs. Check with the city or county Building Department to ensure the contractor is licensed. If you hire a contractor, DON'T get the building permit for him. If the contractor makes this request, that may be an indication that he is not properly licensed.
       
    • Take photographs of all damage before repairs and keep receipts for insurance purposes.
       
    • Call professionals to remove large, uprooted trees, etc.
       
    • Always use proper safety equipment such as gloves, safety goggles, heavy boots, light-colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants when working outdoors after a storm.
       
    • Tie back long hair, wear a hat, and wear sunscreen.
       
    • Drink plenty of liquids/fluids. Rest, and ask for help when you need it.
       
    • Lift with the legs, not with the back.
       
    • Don't burn trash! Bag it or put in waste cans for yard trash pickup. Call the local Garbage/Trash Service for "after-storm pickup" rules and regulations.
       
    • If you can't identify it, don't touch it.
       
    • Be extremely careful with a chain saw, and always heed safety warnings.
       

    Some Useful Web Sites:

    With Appreciation for information obtained from:

    • Verizon's Telephone Directory Emergency Information pages on hurricanes
    • "The Official Hurricane Guide for the Tampa Bay Area" (published by St.Petersburg
      Times, Tampa Bay's Channel 10, and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council)
    • Manatee County (FL) Emergency Mangement
    • Sarasota County (FL) Emergency Mangement
       
     

 

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