Hurricane Preparedness


Hurricanes season begins June 1 and lasts through November 30. Hurricane preparedness should be a part of every family’s safety plans. Download the Tampa Area’s Disaster Planning Guide, print and keep handy.

Emergency Supplies

It is recommended to store 1 gallon of water per person per day for a minimum of seven days and enough non-perishable food to last 5 days. While water and canned goods are considered non-perishable, they do indeed expire.

A helpful way to keep up with these items is to keep them for a year and then donate them during holiday drives (right after the end of hurricane season Nov 30), then replenish with fresh reserves.

In addition to food, you’ll want to have several other items on hand like flashlights, batteries prescription medications, first aid kit, battery-operated radio, important documents and more.

Download an emergency supply list here.

Have a Safe Area in the Home in Case of Impact

Strong hurricanes and the tornadoes they sometimes cause could affect the structure of your home endangering occupants. A room with no windows is the safest place in such a situation, so it’s helpful to find such a room in your house and be sure that everyone in the home is aware of where they should go in such an emergency.

Know Your Flood Zones and Shelters

Residents are sometimes encouraged or even ordered to evacuate for a storm. You’ll need to know your flood zone and be prepared to head to a shelter if necessary. Of course, your most comfortable option in case of evacuation would be to stay with friends, family or even at a hotel, if those are options. However, if they are not, or if circumstances make it impossible for you to get far, you’ll need to be aware of which shelters you could use if needed.

Find the list of Hillsborough County shelters here.

Find the list of Pasco County shelters and flood zones here.

Keeping Your Pets Safe During a Storm

Most shelters do not accept pets, so it’s important to know ahead of time, which will. Check the links above for shelters to determine which will allow pets. You’ll want to have an emergency kit for your pet as well. Included in your kit should be food, water, serving bowls, pet carrier, rabies tag and shot records. If your dog uses medication for stress, that should also be included. Having name tags with your contact information is very important, but you should still also chip your pets so that they can be returned to you if they’re found without tags.

For more information on keeping your pets safe during a storm, visit here.

Preparing your home

If flooding is anticipated, sandbags will be made available at various locations. Check your county’s online emergency page for these details. You can find those here:

Hillsborough County Safety First

Pasco County Emergency Management

You’ll need to gather all lawn furniture and other items that could get caught up in the wind and do damage. We spend so much time outdoors that this could include quite a few items.

Depending on what potential impact is projected, you may employ hurricane shutters or purchase plywood to protect your home’s windows.

For more information on preparing your home for a hurricane, click here.

Better safe than sorry

Most of the time, we prepare for storms and we are fortunate enough not to sustain any damage at all. In fact, storms sometimes miss our area all together and we get only a sprinkle of rain and a light breeze. Occasionally, home owners will get resentful of their efforts at preparation when nothing bad happens, but it’s important to understand that it’s far better to prepare “for nothing” over and over and over again, than to be caught unprepared when something more serious does happen.

The following links for each county offer a variety of resources and updated information in case of an emergency:

Hillsborough County Safety First

Pasco County Emergency Management