The Red Cross and emergency departments across Florida are continuing to remind people to stay prepared for hurricane season, which officially began on Memorial Day. The recent heavy rain may have reminded residents of last year’s category 5 Hurricane Irma that tore through Florida, leaving many hanging on for survival.
The lack of preparedness is what leaves many in a vulnerable state and is why the American Red Cross has stepped in to serve as a resource.
The mission of the Red Cross is to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
“During times of disaster our first concern is the safety and the wellbeing of our communities”, said Sharon Tyler, director of the Capital Area Chapter of the Red Cross. “Everyone should have a kit, have a plan and stay informed in order to be best prepared for disasters. We have created a free emergency app that is available through the app stores and it contains everything you need for your emergency kit, information as to what to do before, during and after storms/disasters. If the situation warrants it, safe shelters are also provided.”
Daishon Smith, a student at Tallahassee Community College, says he’s glad to have resources like the Red Cross around. “My family doesn’t live here with me so I need some help with preparing and knowing what exactly to get. I’ve downloaded the app and now I feel a little more confident.”
The local Red Cross covers 12 counties in the Big Bend. It averages 4-5 disaster calls per week. During hurricane season, which extends through Thanksgiving, it is much higher. It is also in constant need of volunteers 365 days of the year.
Florida’s Division of Emergency Management has also released a disaster supply kit list to prep for this hurricane season and at the top of the list are things like water, food, cash, batteries and gas for your vehicle. But those items, everything from the food, to the batteries , it encourages residents to get early because the later they wait the more it will cost and supplies will be limited. They key message they want to get across is the need to keep three days’ worth of supplies on hand at all times.
Hurricanes can happen at any time along the coast and the Pacific or Atlantic territory.
A designated emergency management program and checklist can be found at redcross.org