This hurricane season, I urge all Floridians to take the time to make sure that their families and businesses are prepared for a storm. Throughout my eight years as Governor and now as your United States Senator, I have seen firsthand the destruction left behind by multiple devastating hurricanes – Idalia, Fiona, Ian, Michael, Irma, Hermine, and Matthew. If there is one thing I learned, it’s that Florida is resilient. Our state and local communities come together in times of need and work incredibly hard to recover from these storms.

Florida is resilient because we prepare for storms. I cannot stress this enough: preparedness saves lives. 

Here are a few tips to help you prepare your family and business for this upcoming season:

Before a storm

  • Prepare an evacuation plan & make sure everyone in your home knows the plan.
  • Stock up on emergency supplies, including:
    • Water – You will need water for drinking, cooking and sanitation purposes. Pack a minimum of 1 gallon daily per person for 7 days
    • Food – You will need enough food for a minimum of 7 days:
      • Non-perishable packaged or canned food and juices
        • Manual can opener
      • Foods for individuals with dietary restrictions (i.e. infants, elderly, etc.)
      • Snack foods
      • Cooking tools and fuel
      • Paper plates and plastic utensils
    • Flashlight and Extra Batteries
    • Pillows, Blankets and/or Sleeping Bags
    • Clothing – Include a complete change of clothes suitable for your area's climate. Be sure to include sturdy shoes to protect you from debris or other sharp objects you may encounter outdoors post-storm
    • First Aid Kit, Prescription Medication and Other Medicines
    • Radio – Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
    • Toiletries
    • Cleaning Supplies – Include garbage bags, moisture wipes and other items you may need to sanitize your home or surrounding post-disaster
    • Special Items – Assess all family members needs. Consider other items needed for infants, elderly and individuals with access and functional needs (i.e. medical items, baby bottles, etc.)
    • Cash – Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods following a disaster
    • Toys, Books and Games
    • Important Documents – Consider storing all critical documents in a waterproof container, as well as saving them electronically. These items can include, but are not limited to, insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
    • Tools
    • Pet Care Items
      • Proper identification/ immunization records
      • Ample supply of food and water
      • Carrier or cage
      • Medications
      • Muzzle and leash
      • Photo of you and your pet(s) – in the event that you are separated from your pet, having an updated photo with your pet will help validate pet ownership
  • If you have been told to evacuate, EVACUATE. Don’t stay behind. We can rebuild a home, but we can’t rebuild a life.

During a storm

  • Follow instructions from local law enforcement and emergency management officials.
  • Stay away from windows and seek shelter.

After a storm

  • If you were advised to evacuate, do not return home until it is safe to do so.
  • Be mindful of debris and down power lines.
  • Do not drive or walk around outside if you do not have to.