For more information please go to the Haines City Website

https://hainescity.com/219/Disaster-Mobility


DONT FORGET ABOUT YOUR PETS 

Preparing for a Disaster

Before the Storm

  • Be sure your pet is current on all vaccinations and store these in a water proof container.
  • Have a current photograph of your pet (best if taken to include a family member) .
  • Have a fully stocked first-aid kit.
  • Have an ID microchip implanted between the pet's shoulder blades .
  • Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal.
  • If you plan to board or shelter your pet, work this into your evacuation route planning.
  • Stock up on medications and pet food.

If you stay at home

It is important to adequately plan for your pets even if you do not have to evacuate your home during a disaster. Carriers, collars with proper identification and leashes should be maintained for your pets at all times. Frightened animals may not act normally; approach and handle pets with caution.

Disoriented Pets

Your pets will be most comfortable and secure in their carriers in a safe area of your home until the storm has passed. If they are not secured during the storm and your house is damaged, your pets may escape and become disoriented. If your pets become lost, proper identification will help to ensure their return to you.

Remember - if you bring plants indoors before a storm, keep pets away from them. Many plants are poisonous.

Pet Survival Kit

Include the following in your pet survival kit:

  • Airline approved crate or carrier, with bedding, large enough for each pet. Should be large enough for pet to stand and turn around.
  • Cleaning supplies (newspaper, plastic bags with ties, paper towels, disinfectant)
  • Collar with ID tags
  • Emergency phone numbers for veterinarian, animal shelters and friends/relatives
  • Food and water bowls
  • Help your pet adjust to the carrier before the storm by placing it in the carrier along with a treat or toy.
  • Manual can opener
  • Medical records and current vaccination information (in watertight containers)
  • Pet medications and / or first-aid supplies
  • Photo of you with your pet (in water tight containers)
  • Plastic trash bags to handle waste
  • Start with short periods of time; then slowly increase the time.
  • Sturdy leash
  • Treats and toys
  • Two week supply of food (stored in water tight containers)
  • Water (at least a 2-week supply




     IMPORTANT CONTACT NUMBERS 


Fire Department 

 Non-Emergency: 

863-421-3611


Police Department 

 Non-Emergency: 

863-421-3636


     Public Works Department 

 863-421-3777


Polk County Citizens

 Information Line

(    Local Emergency Updates

863-401-2222 

or 1-866-661-0228


     Polk County Animal Services 

863-499-2600


United Way Information 

Referral Service 

863-648-1515 or

 1-800-881-UWAY(8929)

In 2017, the US shattered its record in disaster costs with $306 billion spent in climate and weather disasters. We work mostly to spread awareness through our network and our blog.  Given your work, I know you’ll agree it’s even more important than ever to arm our citizens with the information they need to protect themselves and their loved ones.  I recently found some resources I thought you might find useful here.

Thanks again for your efforts.

Hurricane Preparedness

What is a Hurricane? This is a storm with a sustained wind force of 74 mph or greater. These storms are traced from the time they become a tropical wave until they develop into a hurricane. Hurricane season is June 1st through November 30th.


The Polk County Sheriff's Office offers these safety tips to citizens of Polk County when preparing for a hurricane or other natural disaster:


Do I leave or do I stay? If you leave, have preparations made in advance. Do not wait!!! The roads become a parking lot. For every four (4) times you evacuate, three (3) times will just be a short vacation.


Before you leave your home:

  1. Turn off:

    a. water
    b. electricity
    c. gas

  2. Fill freezer with containers of water.
  3. Have plenty of cash on hand.
  4. Make sure important papers go with you (keep these in a water tight container or ziploc bag).
  5. Have an up-to-date inventory of possessions for insurance purposes with descriptions, models, and serial numbers of items. Include purchase price and date (Operation ID). Secure a video tape or take photographs of all possessions and keep in safe deposit box. (Take this along with you when you leave.)

If you stay:

  1. Know location and routes to Red Cross shelters.
  2. Secure home and grounds (tape windows, tie down or store yard items, etc.)
  3. If in a mobile home community, evacuate to shelter immediately whenever a Hurricane Warning or Disaster is declared.
  4. Turn freezer to lowest setting and fill it with containers of water so it will stay colder longer.
  5. Keep a two-week supply of non-perishable foods, needing little or no preparation. Don't forget non-electrical can opener and emergency cooking equipment, i.e. grill, Coleman stove (for outside cooking).
  6. Have at least one (1) gallon of water per person per day.
  7. Secure important papers; labeled ziploc bags, currency in small denominations only.
  8. Have emergency cash available. ATM's will not be working.
  9. Have flashlights and fresh batteries with replacements.
  10. Have portable battery operated radios and/or televisions.
  11. Scour bathtub and rinse with household bleach, then with water. Fill the tub with water for use in the toilet.
  12. Make sure your vehicle is full of fuel.
  13. Have all medications for a full two weeks; include a first-aid kit.

Be prepared to be completely self-sufficient for at least two weeks.

After Disaster:

  1. If evacuated, delay return until authorized.
  2. Seek medical help at Red Cross stations or hospitals.
  3. Do not go into disaster areas.
  4. Drive, only if necessary.
  5. Beware of snakes and insects moving to high ground.
  6. Avoid all structurally damaged buildings.
  7. Guard against spoiled food.
  8. Notify insurance agent of damage.
  9. Make temporary repairs to protect against further damage and looting.
  10. Beware of unscrupulous opportunities: i.e. price gouging. Polk County has a gouging ordinance. Jail time for price gouging is 6 months and $500.00 for each offense.
  11. Curfew ordinance starts in any local emergency.
  12. Do not wire emergency generator directly into house, draw power directly from generator.

Red Cross Shelters:

  1. Opened as needed in emergency area(s). There are 41 primary shelters in Polk County.
  2. Bring special foods, i.e. baby food, diabetics food, etc.
  3. Bedding.
  4. Medicine for 2 weeks.
  5. Personal items (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, books, puzzles, etc.)
  6. Flashlights, extra batteries.
  7. Portable radio.
  8. Food and drink will be provided.
  9. Items NOT permitted in shelter: guns, alcohol, pets.
  10. Potential capacity of 40,000-50,000 persons. 102 shelters are available.

 

Special Needs Program:

  1. Temporary emergency facility capable of providing medical or nursing care which does not necessitate a hospital.
  2. Transportation assistance available to: Special needs shelter, public shelter, or nursing home/hospital.
  3. Pre-registration in the program is preferred by contacting Emergency Management office (863)534-5600.
    1. You can download the form HERE.
  4. The three Special Needs Shelters in Polk County are:
    • Haines City Adult Daycare Center 751 Scenic Hwy., Haines City
    • Lakeland Adult Daycare Center 1200 Southern Ave., Lakeland
    • PCHD Specialty Care Units 1255 Brice Blvd., Bartow
       
  5. Bring backup oxygen supply and medical/electric equipment and medications (at least 72 hours). 

To register for the Special Needs Program or to receive more information, contact the Polk County Emergency Management Division at (863) 534-5600 or Citizen’s Information Line (C.I.L.) at (863) 534-0321 or 1-(866)-661-0228.

IMPORTANT CONTACT NUMBERS 
AgencyPhone
American Red Cross(863) 294-5941
United Way Information Referral Service(863) 648-1515 or (800) 881-UWAY
Citizens Information Line (local emergency updates)(863) 401-2234 or (866) 661-0228
Polk County Animal Services(863) 499-2600
Polk County Emergency Communications Center(863) 401-2234
Polk County Fire Rescue (Fire/EMS)(863) 519-7350


 

Display your house numbers properly

Posting the address numbers on the outside of your home correctly could prevent a delayed response by emergency services and could potentially save the lives of you and your family.

Make A Plan

Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area.  Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.

  1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?

  2. What is my shelter plan?

  3. What is my evacuation route?

  4. What is my family/household communication plan?

Step 2:  Consider specific needs in your household.

As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.  Keep in mind some these factors when developing your plan:

  • Different ages of members within your household

  • Responsibilities for assisting others

  • Locations frequented

  • Dietary needs

  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment

  • Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment

  • Languages spoken

  • Cultural and religious considerations

  • Pets or service animals

  • Households with school-aged children

  • Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan

Download and fill out a family emergency plan or use them as a guide to create your own.

Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household

Seniors 

Get Informed

  • Know what disasters could affect your area, which could call for an evacuation and when to shelter in place.
  • Keep a NOAA Weather Radio tuned to your local emergency station and monitor TV, radio, and follow mobile alert and mobile warnings about severe weather in your area.
  • Download the FEMA app, receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.

Make a Plan

Next, determine any special assistance you may need, and include in your emergency plan.

  • Create a support network of family, friends and others who can assist you during an emergency, and share your disaster plans with them. Practice your plan with them.
    – Make sure they have an extra key to your home, know where you keep your emergency supplies and how to use lifesaving equipment or administer medicine.
  • If you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital, find out their emergency plans and work with them to identify back-up service providers.
  • If you have a communication-related disability, note the best way to communicate with you.
  • Don’t forget your pets or service animals. Not all shelters accept pets, so plan for alternatives.
    – Consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area
    – Prepare an emergency kit for your pet
  • For related information visit our page on Individuals with disabilities  

Get your benefits electronically

A disaster can disrupt mail service for days or weeks. If you depend on Social Security or other regular benefits, switching to electronic payments is a simple, significant way to protect yourself financially before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks. The U.S. Department of the Treasury recommends two safer ways to get federal benefits:

  • Direct deposit to a checking or savings account. Federal benefit recipients can sign up by calling (800) 333-1795 or sign up online
  • The Direct Express® prepaid debit card is designed as a safe and easy alternative to paper

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Individuals with Disabilities

Get Informed

  • Know what disasters could affect your area, which could call for an evacuation and when to shelter in place.
  • Keep a NOAA Weather Radio tuned to your local emergency station and monitor TV, radio, and follow mobile alert and mobile warnings about severe weather in your area.
  • Download the FEMA app, receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.

Make a Plan

How might a disaster affect you? Could you make it on your own for at least three days? After a disaster, you may not have access to a medical facility or even a drugstore, so it’s crucial to plan for the resources you use regularly, and what you would do if those resources are limited or not available. Additional planning steps should include:

  • Create a support network. Keep a contact list in a watertight container in your emergency kit.
  • Be ready to explain to first responders that you need to evacuate and choose to go to a shelter with your family, service animal, caregiver, personal assistant, and your assistive technology devices and supplies.
  • Plan ahead for accessible transportation that you may need for evacuation or getting to a medical clinic. Work with local services, public transportation or paratransit to identify your local or private accessible transportation options.
  • Inform your support network where you keep your emergency supplies; you may want to consider giving one member a key to your house or apartment.
  • Contact your city or county government’s emergency management agency or office. Many local offices keep lists of people with disabilities so they can be helped quickly in a sudden emergency.
  • If you are dependent on dialysis or other life-sustaining treatment, know the location and availability of more than one facility.
  • If you use medical equipment in your home that requires electricity, talk to your doctor or health care provider about how you can prepare for its use during a power outage.
  • Wear medical alert tags or bracelets.
  • If you have a communication disability, make sure your emergency information notes the best way to communicate with you.
  • If you use an augmentative communications device or other assistive technologies, plan how you will evacuate with the devices or how you will replace equipment if lost or destroyed.  Keep model information and note where the equipment came from (Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, etc.)
  • If you use assistive technology devices, such as white canes, CCTV, text-to-speech software, keep information about model numbers and where you purchased the equipment, etc.
  • Plan how you will communicate with others if your equipment is not working, including laminated cards with phrases, pictures or pictograms.
  • Keep Braille/text communication cards, if used, for 2-way communication.
  • Preparedness tips for diabetics.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services online tool helps people locate and access their electronic health records from a variety of sources.
  • Plan for children with disabilities and people, who may have difficulty in unfamiliar or chaotic environments.

Get your benefits electronically

A disaster can disrupt mail service for days or weeks. If you depend on Social Security or other regular benefits, switching to electronic payments is a simple, significant way to protect yourself financially before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks. The U.S. Department of the Treasury recommends two safer ways to get federal benefits:

  • Direct deposit to a checking or savings account. Federal benefit recipients can sign up by calling (800) 333-1795 or sign up online
  • The Direct Express® prepaid debit card is designed as a safe and easy alternative to paper checks. Call toll-free at (877) 212-9991 or sign up online

Build a Kit

In addition to having your basic survival supplies, an emergency kit should contain items to meet your individual needs in various emergencies. Consider the items you use on a daily basis and which ones you may need to add to your kit.

Tips for People who are deaf or hard of hearing:

  • A weather radio with text display and a flashing alert
  • Extra hearing-aid batteries
  • A TTY
  • Pen and paper in case you have to communicate with someone who does not know sign language

Tips for People who are blind or have low vision:

  • Mark emergency supplies with Braille labels or large print.  Keep a list of your emergency supplies, and where you bought it, on a portable flash drive, or make an audio file that is kept in a safe place where you can access it.
  • Keep a Braille, or Deaf-Blind communications device as part of your emergency supply kit.

Tips for People with Speech Disability:

  • If you use an augmentative communications device or other assistive technologies, plan how you will evacuate with the devices or how you will replace equipment if lost or destroyed.  Keep Model information, where the equipment came from (Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, etc.)
  • Plan how you will communicate with others if your equipment is not working, including laminated cards with phrases and/or pictogram.

Tips for People with a mobility disability:

  • If you use a power wheelchair, if possible, have a lightweight manual chair available as a backup. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair in addition to whether or not it is collapsible, in case it has to be transported.
  • Show others how to operate your wheelchair. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair, in addition to whether or not it is collapsible, in case it has to be transported.
  • Purchase an extra battery for a power wheelchair or other battery-operated medical or assistive technology devices. If you are unable to purchase an extra battery, find out what agencies, organizations, or local charitable groups can help you with the purchase. Keep extra batteries on a trickle charger at all times.
  • Consider keeping a patch kit or can of sealant for flat tires and/or extra inner tube if wheelchair or scooter is not puncture proof.
  • Keep an extra mobility device such as a cane or walker, if you use one.
  • If you use a seat cushion to protect your skin or maintain your balance, and you must evacuate without your wheelchair, take your cushion with you.

Tips for individuals who may need behavioral support:

  • Plan for children with disabilities and people including individuals who may have post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), who may have difficulty in unfamiliar or chaotic environments.

    • This may include handheld electronic devices loaded with movies and games (and spare chargers), sheets and twine or a small pop up tent to decrease visual stimulation in a busy room or to provide instant privacy, headphones to decrease auditory distractions, and comfort snacks and toys that meet needs for stimulation.

Additional Items:

  • At least a week-long supply of prescription medicines, along with a list of all medications, dosage, and any allergies
  • Extra eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries
  • Extra wheelchair batteries (manual wheelchair if possible) and/or oxygen
  • A list of the style and serial number of medical devices. Include special instructions for operating your equipment if needed.
  • Copies of medical insurance and Medicare cards
  • Contact information for doctors, relatives or friends who should be notified if you are hurt.
  • Pet food, extra water, collar with ID tag, medical records and other supplies for your service animal
  • Handheld electronic devices loaded with movies and games (and spare chargers), headphones to decrease auditory distractions, and comfort snacks and toys that meet needs for stimulation.

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