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HAPPENINGS: Prepare as hurricane season approaches

May is here and our attention needs to be turned to hurricanes once again. With all of the wind, rain and tornado watches we have had, we need to be prepared for inclement weather should it strike us here in Northwest Florida.

According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 9-15.

With the official start date of June 1, we need to be ready. Now is the time to be mindful of approaching storms.

Let's stock up our supplies now, instead of rushing to the store once a hurricane is predicted. Make sure you have plenty of supplies on hand, order extra now instead of waiting.

Make an evacuation plan. Know where you will go should the need arise to leave the area. Plan more than one route to get to your destination as roads may be closed or gridlocked due to traffic.

Know your destination. Will you stay with relatives or go to a hotel? If you have pets, is the hotel you have chosen pet friendly?

Be sure to have enough supplies for everyone in your family if you stay home, including pets and some extras for neighbors who may not be as well prepared.

Necessities

Here is a partial list of needed items. You can customize it to meet your family's needs:

•Battery-operated radio to keep updated about hurricane conditions.

•Cash to buy needed supplies.

•First aid kit.

•30 days' supply of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

•Plenty of fresh batteries and working flashlights.

•Bottled water – at least two gallons per person daily, plus one gallon per pet daily.

•Post multiple copies of your evacuation route in your home and have a meeting place for the family.

•Have a list of motels with phone numbers ready if you need to evacuate.

•Cell phone, laptop and tablet chargers as well as extra cell phone batteries.

•Home owner's insurance, car insurance, banking information, birth certificates and all other important papers should be placed in a portable file or in waterproof zippered plastic bags.

•Pet leashes and carriers in an accessible place, along with pet vaccination records.

•Pet medicines and two-week supply of pet foods.

•Keep your car full of fuel. If we lose power, there will be no pumping gas.

•Propane for the grill – use OUTSIDE only.

•Five-day supply of canned food and a hand can opener.

•Diapers, formula and baby food if you have babies or small children.

•Fill your bathtubs with water for cleaning up, hand washing and flushing.

•Take your jewelry, cameras and other valuables with you if you evacuate.

Shelter supplies

If your family plans to go to a local shelter, know the rules ahead of time.

Is this a pet friendly shelter? Do they have services for the disabled? Will your family need to have masks and what are the COVID-19 restrictions? What supplies will be needed?

Check on the requirements ahead of time, so you know what you will need. Generally the following are needed in a shelter:

•Sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, sheets

•Food and drinking water for your family.

•Important papers and Identification.

•Snacks, games and toys for your children.

•Medicines and prescriptions for family members.

•Battery operated radio.

Most importantly, be prepared, know your plans and be organized. Remember to take all of your pets with you. They cannot fend for themselves during a disaster.

 If you want a more complete list of items needed, visit www.national-hurricane-center.org/hurricane-awareness/hurricane-checklist.

Stay safe Crestview and Northwest Florida!

Janice Crose: Additional Lifestyle articles

Janice Lynn Crose

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.

This article originally appeared on Crestview News Bulletin: HAPPENINGS: Prepare as hurricane season approaches