Hurricane Resources

Dear friends and neighbors, 

As we continue to face the challenges of COVID-19, Floridians are also bracing for an active 2021 hurricane season. In light of a possible emergency, it’s important to start taking precautions and make an emergency plan now. 

Hurricanes can cause sudden challenges like knocking out power, blocking roads and disrupting the response of emergency services. COVID-19 may add this complexity. 

So, how do you make an emergency plan during a pandemic? First, make sure you have the most up to date information on how to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19. The more you know, the easier it’ll be to respond to a storm while following CDC recommendations. Second, plan ahead. Below you will find a compilation of resources and emergency contact information, listed county by county, that may be useful if we face a severe storm. We will be updating this page throughout hurricane season.

In case our district offices are ever closed due to a hurricane, you can always contact my D.C. office should you need any assistance: (202) 225-9889.

Lastly, a sincere thank you to all the emergency management team, first responders, police departments, healthcare workers, and thousands of volunteers that work to keep Florida safe throughout storms. Together, let’s prepare to face this year’s hurricane season.

In community, 

Darren Soto

PREPARING DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

  • Understand that your planning may be different this year as we are still facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Especially with possible supply shortages, give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water and medical supplies.

    • Getting vaccinated is an important part of your emergency preparation plans. In the event of an evacuation and the possibility of going to a public shelter, being vaccinated will protect you and those around you from COVID-19. 

  • Pay attention to local guidance about updated plans for evacuations and shelters.

  • If you may need to evacuate, prepare a “go kit” with personal items you cannot do without during an emergency. Include items like water, a flashlight, batteries, a first aid kit, etc, as well as items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, and two face coverings for each person.

    • Face coverings may not be required depending on your area, but it is a good idea to have them just in case. 

  • Below you will find information on shelters in your area. Find out if your local public shelter is open, in case you need to evacuate your home and go there. Your shelter location may be different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • If you need to go to a disaster shelter, follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • If you need to check on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow  CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.

  • If you will be staying with friends or family outside your household to evacuate from the storm:

    • Consider if either of your households has someone who is at higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults or people of any age who have underlying medical conditions. Make sure everyone knows what they can do to keep them safe from COVID-19.

    • Know what to do if someone in your family or in the household you are staying with becomes sick with COVID-19.

  • Dealing with disasters can cause stress and strong emotions, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is natural to feel anxiety, grief, and worry. Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family, and your community recover.

MUST-HAVES

FEMA ASSISTANCE TO INDIVIDUALS and HOUSEHOLDS 

The Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides financial help or direct services to those who have necessary expenses and serious needs if they are unable to meet the needs through other means. Assistance includes: Housing repair, replacement, and construction, and grants for uninsured, disaster-related necessary expenses and serious needs.

SHELTER INFORMATION

Do not proceed to any shelter until you have confirmed that it is open and operating.

KEEP UP WITH ALERTS

IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION

  • Call 911 for any emergency 

  • State of Florida Emergency Information 24-hour hotline: 1-800-342-3557

Polk County

  • Polk County Emergency Management: Phone: (863) 298-7000  

  • American Red Cross: Mid-Florida Chapter (Polk County) (863) 294-5941

    • Leesburg, FL: (352) 314-0883

    • New Port Richey, FL: (727) 848-8354 

  • Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) 24-hour phone number: 1-877-272-7337

  • Polk County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Numbers:

    • Polk County Emergency Management: (863) 298-7000

    • Polk County EMS/Fire: (863) 519-7350 / (800) 780-5346 (toll free)

  • Salvation Army Emergency Shelter and Feeding Program Lakeland, FL: (863) 682-8179

  • Polk County Utilities: (863) 298-4100

  • Polk County Waste: (863) 284-4319

  • Lakeland Water Utilities: (863) 834-8316

Orange County

Osceola County

  • Osceola County Emergency Management  

    • Phone: (407) 742-9000

    • Email: emdo@osceola.org

  • American Red Cross: Greater Orlando Chapter (Orange, Osceola, Seminole Counties): (407) 894-4141

  • Osceola Sheriff’s Office: 2586 Partin Settlement Rd Kissimmee, FL 34744

    • Phone: (407) 348-2222

    • Emergency: (407) 742-5911

  • Kissimmee Utility Authority: (407) 933-7777

  • Toho Water Authority: (407) 944-5000

VOLUNTEER INFORMATION

  • Those interested in volunteering to assist in Florida, visit: www.volunteerflorida.org. Individuals looking to volunteer at shelters, should complete shelter operations training online and submit a registration form.

  • Anyone looking to get involved is encouraged to volunteer with local and nationally known organizations. A list of volunteer websites are available at www.nvoad.org.