How to Prepare for Hurricanes and Other Disasters

Updated: Sep 21, 2019

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least SEVEN DAYS.

Disaster Preparedness - Hurricanes / Floods

If you choose to stay while under mandatory evacuation, understand that there will be no official assistance available until wind speeds drop beneath 45 miles per hour. Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below.

If your location is under a mandatory evacuation, locate a shelter and leave the area. Hurricanes are unpredictable and can increase intensity quickly. The jump from a category 3 storm to a category 4 or 5 is very possible and can be catastrophic. Evacuation maps for your area can be found online. Please heed the warnings of local authorities.

Should you choose to stay, or are unable to evacuate, understand that there will be no official assistance available until wind speeds drop beneath 45 miles per hour. Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have. After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least SEVEN DAYS. To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit into easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or duffel bags.

The Basics

Things to Have On Hand:

• Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least seven days, for drinking and sanitation Food - at least a seven day supply of non-perishable food requiring minimal preparation water or cooking.

• Shelf-stable (no refrigeration necessary) canned meals, canned protein, MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), granola bars, protein bars trail mix, etc.

• Manual can opener

• Ice

• Extra batteries / external battery for cell phone

• Handwritten list of important phone numbers

• Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert

• Flashlights + lots of batteries - at least one per person including children

• Battery operated fan

• Battery operated lanterns or candles - no wax candles or propane lanterns inside the house

• Cash (small denominations)

• Credit card

• Identification for re-entry to your neighborhood

• Bleach + eyedropper or water purification tablets

Things to Do:

• Turn Freezer to highest setting

• Organize the freezer so you know where things are to minimize having the door open too long.

• Stuff every available space with water bottles to extend freezer life and cold water to drink

• Place cell phones / laptops / chargers in Ziplock bags

• Know the full address / phone number where you’re staying if not at home

• Place original records & financial documents in Ziplock bags - including all insurance documents - keep these with you at all times Place valuables in Ziplock bags - keep these with you at all times

• Fill all vehicles with gasoline and check tire pressure

• Fill coolers with ice. *Note that washing machines and dishwashers make good makeshift coolers with drainage.

• Fill Ziplock bags with water and freeze - keep in freezer

• Unplug / surge protect computers and cover electronics in water-tight plastic • • • • Remove clothing / shoes from the floors

• Secure outdoor furniture and remove debris / projectiles - if no room indoors, outdoor furniture can be stored in the pool.

• Have a family meeting and have an emergency evacuation plan

• Alert family / friends of your location

• Sign up for CODE RED

• Download the CODE RED app

• Download the suggested apps below

First Aid

Things to Have on Hand:

• First aid kit, alcohol, bandages and Super Glue

• Prescription and non-prescription medications (refill prescriptions if running low)

• Extra eyeglasses / contact lenses / solution

• Anti-bacterial hand gel

• Wipes

• Additional necessary items for the elderly and disabled

• If you are oxygen or insulin dependent, you must have a generator and enough medication for at least seven days

Things to Do

• Know your blood type - if you are RH negative and especially if you could be pregnant, write it on your arm if you don’t wear a Medic-Alert bracelet. You cannot receive RH+ blood.

• If you have a medical condition and don’t wear a Medic-Alert bracelet, write it on your arm

• Write your social security # on your arm

• If anyone in your household is in need of care that relies on electricity, PLEASE move them to a shelter or hospital. DO NOT keep them in your home

• Know where the closest set of AED (Automated External Defibrillator) paddles are located i.e.: Fire Department / School

• Download PulsePoint AED app on your smartphone to find the closest one to you. Please get familiar with this app

• Take the CPR course before hurricane season approaches


Things to Have on Hand:

• Floatation Devices - Life Jackets for each person

• Whistle or air horn to signal for help

• Spray paint to write “HELP” OR “SAFE”

• Dust mask to help filter contaminated air

• Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

• Local printed maps

• Sunblock

• Bug spray

• Fire extinguisher

Things to Do:

• Tape emergency phone numbers and Emergency Alert System call letters to your refrigerator / TV / radio - save them to your phone

• Download suggested apps below to your Smartphone

• Secure safe shelter and seek higher ground.

• If a mandatory evacuation is issued, PLEASE follow the instructions of authorities and leave.

• Do not seek shelter inside of stairwells in high rise buildings

Hygiene / Sanitation

Things to Have on Hand:

• Moist towelettes or baby wipes

• Garbage bags and plastic ties

• Large Ziplock bags

• Pitcher to use to flush toilets (or gallon jugs)

• Anti-bacterial hand gel

• Toilet paper

• 5-gallon bucket with lid

• Feminine hygiene items

• Adult diapers

• Disinfectant wipes

• Paper plates, towels and utensils

Things to Do:

• Fill bathtub with water to flush toilets


Things to Have on Hand:

• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

• Plywood to cover windows if you don’t have shutters

• Hammer drill

• TapCons

• Duct Tape

• Plastic sheeting

• Sandbags to place in front of doors in flood zones and to hold down tarps

• Large and medium sized tarps or 8mil contractor plastic sheeting

• Utility knife with extra blades

• Shovel

• Broom

• Squeegee

Things to Do:

Place an extra set of keys in waterproof container

Babies / Children - Keeping small children in an area under mandatory evacuation or a potential storm surge zone is very dangerous. DO NOT DO IT.

Things to Have on Hand:

• Diapers

• Wipes

• Diaper rash cream

• Powdered baby formula

• Extra bottled water

• Baby food Snacks

• Games / toys / books

• Comfort / care items

• Juice boxes

• Life jackets for every child

Things to Do:

• Secure a safe area for children. Preferably one that is category 5 sound, tornado-proof and above 10-15ft storm surge level.

• Bring coloring books, games, puzzles and comfort items

• Teach children about storm safety and how to ‘Shelter in Place’

• Instruct children about a sound evacuation plan

• Ensure children know their parents phone number and how to dial 911

• Create a meeting place if you are separated

• Get CPR certified

• Alert family / friends about current location and alternate location

• Clothing / Bedding

Things to Have on Hand:

• 2-3 complete changes of clothing per person in ZiplocK bags

• 7 pair of undergarments in ZiplocK bags

• Sturdy (waterproof if possible) footwear

• Sleeping bag (or 2 blankets) per person

• Pillows

Pets / Livestock

Things to Have on Hand:

• Water

• Food

• Medication

• Medical records

• Bedding

• One crate per animal

• Floatation devices for each animal

• Toys

• Collars with updated info + contact information

Things to Do:

• If you have multiple and/or exotic pets or if your pet will be difficult to transport in case of emergency PLEASE make arrangements for them ahead of time and DO NOT keep them in the house with you.

• Ensure that each animal is up to date on shots and keep medical records with you • Take pictures of your pets

• Make sure that each animal has owner contact information on their collar or is chipped.

• If you are unable to house horses, cows and other livestock in the case of immediate danger in the state of Florida, please contact Florida Agricultural Center & Horse Park and make reservations by calling 352-307-6699. Also, visit to find an online database of locations and facilities for the temporary relocation of horses. Check your state if not a Florida resident.

• Register your pet for shelter. DAS opens pre-registration for the shelter at the start of hurricane season every year, and it suspends it once a hurricane warning has been issued. Pet owners can register at DAS, 7610 Davis Blvd., East Naples, or online at For information, call 239-252-7387 (PETS) Check your community if not a Florida resident.

• Make a list of pet-friendly hotels by visiting or • Feral cat colonies should be left alone, according to a blog post from the Humane Society of Naples. Feral cats are adept at protecting themselves during a storm by following their instincts to seek shelter and higher ground

Survival Tools and Equipment

Things to Have on Hand:

• Generator

• Gasoline

• Propane

• BBQ grill + charcoal or camping stove

• Canoe / kayak / paddles

• Small boat

• Air boat

• Jet ski

• Coolers

• Lanterns

• Lighters

• Utility knife

• Machete

• Ax

• Chain saw with gas/oil mix


• Satellite Phone

• Flares

Things to Do:

• If you are staying off-grid, please let someone know your address / mile marker

• DO NOT store gasoline inside your home or garage. Place it outside, away from the sun. Use a rope to tie the storage containers together and secure them.

Other Items

Games, books, magazines, puzzles

Helpful Websites / Contact Information

Emergency Phone Numbers

Police / Fire / Ambulance 911 Big

Cypress National Preserve Emergency Dispatch 1-844-677-0911

Disaster Assistance FEMA English / Spanish Region IV (770) 220.5220 #1 Salvation Army (239) 775.9447

American Red Cross (954) 596.6868

Our Daily Bread Food Pantry Marco (239) 394.1646

National Hurricane Center

Marco Island Boat US (800) 391.4869

Boil Water Notices City of Marco Island Twitter @CityofMarcoISL (239) 389-5000

Dry Flood proofing

Emergency Permitting

Fire Chief, Michael Murphy

Marco Island CodeRed

Marco Island Fire Rescue - Non-Emergency 239-389-5047 Twitter @MarcoIslandFire Marco

Marco Patriots Facebook Marco Patriots Zello Channel

Marco Urgent Care (239) 624-8540

Physicians Regional (239) 354-6501

Police: (239) 389-5050 Non-Emergency

Tracy Frazzano, Chief of Police,

Dave Baer, Administrative Captain,

Rich Stoltenborg, Operations Captain,

Report A Power Outage - LCEC (800) 599-2356 or (239) 656-2300

Report A Water Or Sewer Main Break (239) 394-3168

SeaTow (800) 4- SEATOW Secure Your Boat page 12

Storm Surge Map page 3

Teco Gas (239) 690.5508

US Coast Guard Auxiliary - Marco (239) 641.1179