June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season, but Florida has already had a FEMA disaster declaration just a few weeks ago due to severe storms and tornadoes, causing flooding and a gas explosion. At least 3 people died in Florida, hundreds were injured, and over 300 calls came in to officials from people who were stranded.
So if you don’t have a plan yet, now is a great time to make one. Don’t know where to start? Florida Disaster can help you create a plan to keep your family, including your pets, safe during a disaster. FLASH.org also has videos and step by step guides to make your home safer during a hurricane. Do you have a supply kit for your family? If you’ll be re-stocking your kit, Gov. Scott approved tax free hurricane supplies from 5/31-6/8, so that’s a good time to do your shopping.
Do you have a disability or know someone who does? Registering with the Department of Emergency Management before a disaster lets them know if they have sufficient equipment and shelters. It also benefits you with the services they provide during a disaster! For Marion County residents, visit the Department of Emergency Services Special Needs Program to register. For people outside of Marion County, you can visit this website to get information on your county and how to register for the special needs registry.
Any time there is a natural disaster, there is a powerful community response of people wanting to help. Volunteers are needed before, during and after an event to help in times of disaster. Agencies such as Marion County Medical Reserve Corps and American Red Cross are always in need of volunteers. Post disaster, contact the local United Way to inquire about giving financial contributions to assist in community recovery.
Remember, 2-1-1 is available before, during and after a disaster to help 24 hours a day.