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  • Hurricane season is June 1 – November 30, with the peak season from mid-August to late October.
  • high winds
  • heavy rainfall
  • storm surge
  • coastal
  • inland flooding
  • rip currents
  • tornadoes
  • Categories three and higher are considered major hurricanes.

Prepare your family

  • Build a disaster kit to ensure you have all the supplies needed during the hurricane. Visit our page and FEMA’s Prepareathon page for must-have items.
  • Residents who have no alternative means of shelter and suffer from a medical condition that requires medical attention by a skilled professional should register with the Orange County Special Needs Registry to receive assistance during a disaster. This registry provides first responders with valuable information to prepare for disasters or other emergencies.  To learn more about the special needs shelter program in Orange County click here.

Prepare your home

  • Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure; this will reduce roof damage.
  • Trim trees and shrubs around your home. Bag loose leaves and twigs and bundle large sticks and branches.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Consider building a safe room.

Prepare your neighborhood

  • Limit water usage as city systems are most likely overwhelmed which could cause sewers to overflow into lakes and surrounding neighborhoods.
  • If you’re able, offer to help a neighbor that may not be able to prepare their home for a storm.

Visit the FEMA flood map website to see if you live in a flood plain →

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Shelter in Place

  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Avoid using the phone unless it is a serious emergency.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure— such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building— hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river or on an inland waterway.
  • If you feel you are in danger.

If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm and winds could pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.

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Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. Safety is the primary issue, as is your mental and physical well-being.

Water Purification

  • Residents under a boil water notice should bring water to a rolling boil for one minute.
  • Drink bottled water if available.
  •  If you cannot boil water, add six drops of unscented household bleach per one gallon of water and let stand for thirty minutes prior to use. Water purification tablets are also available at most pharmacies and sporting goods stores.

Food Safety
In the event of a power outage, the following should be discarded:

  • Perishable foods including meats, dairy products and eggs that have not been refrigerated for more than two hours.
  • Foods contaminated by floodwaters.

Flood Safety

  • Walking, swimming, or driving through floodwaters is extremely dangerous. Fast-moving floodwater produces more force than most people imagine. Floodwaters often contain sewage and dangerous bacteria levels.
  • Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
  • If you are driving and come upon floodwaters, stop, turn around and go another way.
  • Do not drive where water is covering the road.
  • If you see a stopped sewer, please contact the water reclamation division immediately for investigation at 407-246-2213.
  • If you smell a sewer-like scent in your neighborhood, contact the Water Reclamation Compliance and Public Awareness Section to schedule an inspection at 407-246-2657

Generator Safety
Portable generators can be hazardous if used improperly. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas produced by incomplete combustion in internal-combustion engines. CO poses a serious health risk due to its ability to displace Oxygen. Carbon monoxide is fast becoming a killer among people of all ages.
To avoid CO poisoning:

  • Only operate generators outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home.
  • Never use generators indoors or in attached garages.

To avoid electrocution:

  • Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy duty, outdoor rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load.
  • Observe the generator manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.
  • Do not plug the generator into a wall outlet.
  • If you must connect the generator into the house wiring, have a qualified electrician hook up the standby electrical system.

Chainsaw Safety

  • Wear protective clothing, including grip gloves, a hard hat, safety goggles, hearing protection, non-slip steel-toe shoes and trim-fitted clothing that won’t get caught in the chain.
  • Follow instructions in the owner’s manual for starting and operating the saw.
  • Stand to the side of the saw so you won’t follow the cut through into your leg.
  • Hold the saw parallel to the ground, holding your left arm straight for better control and to reduce the chance of kickback.
  • Keep both hands on the saw while it is running.
  • Avoid cutting above mid-chest height.
  • Never try to cut a tree with a diameter greater than the length of the chainsaw blade.
  • Be extremely careful when cutting limbs or stems of trees that are bent or under tension; the branch can spring back into the operator.
  • Carry the saw below the waist with the engine off and bar pointed to the rear.
  • Do not work alone. Have a companion nearby and keep bystanders and helpers at a safe distance.

Communication & Recovery

  • Follow the City of Orlando on Twitter @citybeautiful and Facebook for immediate updates and resources.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
  • Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.

For more information about how to prepare for hurricanes, visit America’s PrepareAthon site.

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