Emergency Preparedness


Hurricane season begins June 1st of each year and ends November 30th. South Florida can be threatened any time during this season. This information will help you prepare for a hurricane. Please take the time to read this information carefully.

The following are some useful definitions:

• TROPICAL DEPRESSION has winds of less than 38 miles per hour or 33 knots.
• TROPICAL STORM has winds from 39 to 73 miles per hour or 34 to 63 knots.
• TROPICAL STORM “WARNING” once issued, can develop into a hurricane.
• HURRICANE “WATCH” – a hurricane may threaten the area within 24-36 hours.
• HURRICANE “WARNING” – a hurricane is expected to strike the area within 24 hours or less.
• HURRICANE has winds of greater than 74 miles per hour or 64 knots.
Category 1 74-95 MPH (64-82 knots) Minimal
Category 2 96-110 MPH (83-95 knots) Moderate
Category 3 111-130 MPH (96-113 knots) Major
Category 4 131-155 MPH (114-135 knots) Extensive
Category 5 156 MPH + (135+ knots) Catastrophic

Before the Storm
Preparing in advance for hurricane season can determine not only how safely and comfortably you ride out the storm, but also how easy it is to handle the days and weeks after the storm has passed. Take a look at the information collected below to learn how you can prepare in the days and weeks before a hurricane.

Plan your stay or evacuation:
Stay Home. However, before you choose this option, make sure you know your elevation. If we experience a storm that may put a significant storm surge in your home, you need to look at the other options. Also, people in manufactured and mobile homes cannot use this option. Mobile homes and manufactured homes are not built to withstand the high winds associated with tropical storms and hurricanes.

Stay With a Friend or Relative Who has a Safe Place. If this is your plan, make arrangements in advance. You need to make sure that where you are going is safe. It defeats the purpose of evacuating if you go to an unsafe place.

Relocate Out of the Area. You may wish to travel out of harm’s way. Be sure to bring a road map and make sure that your car is full of fuel. Stay away from major bodies of water. Make arrangements in advance if you can. If you decide to use this option, go early, traffic will be heavy if you leave at the last minute, and you may not make it to your destination.

Emergency Public Shelters. For more information on Emergency Shelters and a list of available Public Shelters, please visit Polk County Public Library or Publix Super Market near you.

Have a 72-Hour Survival Kit

You should plan to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours (3 days) during and after a disaster. You should anticipate no water, electrical power, or utilities for that period of time. To ensure the comfort of your family, whether at home or evacuated to another location please download and print the 72-Hour Survival Kit (PDF).

Sandbag Information

Sandbags will redirect storm water and debris away from homes and other structures, provided the sandbags are properly filled and maintained. Sandbags usually last for only one year. Consult your local environmental protection department before disposing of used sandbags. Sandbags exposed to contaminated floodwaters may pose an environmental hazard and require special handling. You can download the Sandbag Information document (PDF) to learn more about filling and placing sandbags, as well as where to find sand and bags.

Display Your House Numbers Properly

Posting the address numbers on the outside of your home correctly could prevent a delayed response by emergency services and could potentially save the lives of you and your family. You can download the Address Posting (PDF) document to learn more about posting your address numbers properly.

Polk County Emergency Preparedness Website

Osceola County Emergency Preparedness Website

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