Here are some safety tips emergency management and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are offering that could save your life during a hurricane:
1. If you are ordered to evacuate, you need to evacuate. The best way to stay safe is to be away from the storm's landfall. The orders to evacuate are issued based on historical flood maps and the strength of the storm.
2. A Category 5 hurricane will bring “catastrophic damage,” officials with the National Hurricane Center warn, adding that “a high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”
3. If you are in a mobile home, leave. Mobile homes will not survive a Category 5 hurricane.
4. Do not leave your pets at home, especially if they are outside.
If you stay
If you choose not to evacuate, or cannot leave, here are a few things you should do:
1. Get in a more secure room in your home – a closet or a bathroom without a window.
2. Stay on the bottom floor of your home unless water is rising.
3. Do not go into your attic to escape rising water because you could get trapped. If you absolutely have to get in the attic to survive rising water, make sure you take an ax with you so you can cut a hole in the roof to escape.
4. If you are in an area that will flood, turn off electricity at the main breaker before water gets in your home to reduce the risk of electrocution.
5. Of course, do not try to go outside during the storm. Pieces of buildings, roofs, trees and other objects will be flying through the air.
6. Do not use candles as a light source – flashlights are what you need to use.
7. When you lose power, click here to see how you can use the internet.
During or after the storm
1. Do not use a generator during a storm.
2. Never use portable generators inside a home, in your garage, in your basement or in a crawl space.
3. Generators produce carbon monoxide and if they are inside your house, your home can fill up with carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide will kill you if you breathe too much of it. If you are using a portable generator to power appliances in your home following the storm, make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm. Appliances should be plugged directly into a generator. Do not hook the generator to your household electrical system. You can hurt yourself and kill utility workers when they begin to reconnect electricity to homes.
4. Do not get anywhere near standing water. It could contain live electric wires. If you come in contact with it, you could be electrocuted. If you see wires on the ground after the storm, assume they are live.
Here are some other tips from the Twitter feed of FloridaDisaster.org if you are evacuating or if you are staying home.
Gas buddy tracker
The 5 ‘p’s of evacuation
Don’t’ go farther than you have to
Don’t be scared, be prepared