A guest blog by Community Affairs Specialist Tammy Wilkie
Now that we have arrived at Hurricane season in Florida, are you ready, are you prepared? Let’s talk about your plan. It has become apparent that everyone’s plan is different. If you have lived in Florida long enough you have probably lived through one or more hurricanes or natural disasters. As a caregiver you now face a new series of challenges. Do you evacuate or do you stay?
For most staying in a local shelter presents a new degree of problems. Shelter Listings are found on the following website: Shelter Listing | Charlotte County, FL (charlottecountyfl.gov)
The top 5 are Liberty Elementary School, Neil Armstrong Elementary School, Kingsway Elementary School and Harold Avenue Regional Park Recreation Center. These may or may not be open when the time comes, check first before you pack up and go. All are pet friendly, but are your pets shelter friendly? Something to consider in your planning. If you need to go to a Special needs shelter did you know that you need to preregister as space is limited. Special needs shelters are available for those individuals that require medical assistance that is not available at a public shelter. Only basic medical assistance and monitoring will be available. Oxygen will be provided to those persons who require it. All persons must be accompanied by a caregiver and provide their own bedding, food, water, medications, and transfer oxygen devices. No pets are allowed unless they are a service animal. All service animals must have vaccination records and be caged. You must also provide their food, water, leash, and litter box. Fill out a Special Needs application and mail to Charlotte County Emergency Management. The completed application will be reviewed by the Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County and you will be notified by US Mail of your status.
If you want to plan to leave the area, put your thinking cap on and look into possible evacuation routes and sign up for alerts. Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office app is an excellent way to stay in the know whether it’s a disaster or just everyday occurrences. The Disaster planning guide is available online or you can pick up a copy at the local libraries. This guide should be in every household in the county.
If you choose to stay home make sure that you have adequate food, water, medications and cash available for at least a few days. If power goes out so do ATM’s. Figure out a place to ride out the storm in your home that offers the most protection. Take refuge in a safe room, usually an interior, windowless reinforced room such as a closet or bathroom on the lower floor.
Once you make up your mind let out-of-town family members or friends know what you will be doing. Riding out the storm at home or getting out of Dodge, make a plan!