It’s that time of year again, hurricane season, and the best way to weather the choppy seas and high winds is to be well prepared – and we’re going to help! We cover all the main issues to be aware of and ways to stay safe this hurricane season thanks to your wonderful questions below, so read on!
Q. I just adopted a golden retriever and live alone near the beach. In case I need to seek shelter during a hurricane, am I allowed to bring my dog?
A. Yes. Indian River County has designated Liberty Magnet School at 6850 81st Street in Vero Beach as the county’s pet-friendly evacuation shelter. The Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County will manage the shelter. Please note that you must bring an animal crate sizeable enough to comfortably accommodate a place for your pet to sleep, a litter pan and a place where your pet can eat and drink. In addition, you’ll need to show proof of a current rabies vaccination as well as a county license, if applicable. Be sure to get to the shelter early as space is on a first-come, first-serve basis. To expedite the process, it’s recommended that you complete the registration form (which you can find on the www.Ircgov.com website) before entering the shelter, although it’s not mandatory to prepare it in advance. For additional questions, call the Humane Society at 772-388-3331.
Q. How long does the hurricane season last in Florida?
A. The Atlantic hurricane season is designated annually as June 1 through November 30th.
Q. My family is new to Florida and we’re not really sure how to prepare for a hurricane. Any suggestions?
A. Below is a list of ways to prepare for a hurricane suggested by the CDC. Some of these suggestions anticipate your possible evacuation. In addition, you should follow your local hurricane preparedness team for any specific alerts in your area. In Indian River County, a good place to start is by signing up for text and phone alerts by visiting www.ircgov.com/emergencyservices/emergencymanagement/
What To Prepare Ahead of Time In Case of A Hurricane:
- An emergency food and water supply.
- An emergency medicine supply.
- Emergency power sources such as flashlights (don’t forget extra batteries).
- Safety and personal items that you cannot do without. This includes medications, hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol and clean masks for yourself and your family.
- Important documents, including medical documents, wills, passports and personal identification.
- A fire extinguisher.
- Stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines as this will minimize your chance of contracting (or spreading) the disease.
- If you use a generator, make sure you take measures to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
In addition to the above, the Red Cross advises that if you’re asked to evacuate by local authorities, you should heed their advice and go to a safe place. To ensure you’ll find safe shelter, it’s important you plan in advance. Know about local shelters and/or other places you could seek refuge, and how you will get there. Please note that mobile/manufactured/trailer homes and recreational vehicles (RVs) cannot provide safe shelter from hurricane winds or tropical storms.
Q. I have special needs. What are my options if there’s a Category 4 or 5 hurricane and I need to go to a shelter?
A. Firstly, depending on where you live and where the storm is going to hit, you may be advised to evacuate and seek shelter for even a Category 1 hurricane – just something to keep in mind. But to answer your question, if you have special needs you should go to a local special-needs shelter. To ensure you get a space, complete the special-needs application ahead of time. You can find the application for Indian River County by visiting the special-needs section of www.Ircgov.com. Please note that the Emergency Management Division of Indian River County has to approve and register all potential people for the shelter and this process takes time, so be sure to fill out the form asap.