Central Floridians encouraging neighbors to prepare for potential hurricane hit

AAA: Floridians should have enough food, water and emergency supplies stocked for at least three days

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – As Floridians continue to keep an eye on Hurricane Elsa’s path, some shoppers are heading to the store to stock up on supplies.

Many people at home improvement stores in Orange County on Friday were unaware that Hurricane Elsa may be headed to Florida.

While some people aren’t too concerned about the hurricane now, others are encouraging their neighbors to get their hurricane kits ready now.

[RELATED: DOWNLOAD: News 6 Hurricane Preparedness Checklist]

“We experienced times when we procrastinated and then we were left with bare shelves, so we had to make do,” Rudy Roberts said while shopping in Lowe’s.

“We’re especially prepared after [Hurricane] Irma. We were without power for a week,” Judy Baker said.

Those are just a couple of lessons learned by Floridians, who said now, they prepare well ahead of time for potential hurricanes.

[RELATED: Here’s how to easily shop for hurricane supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic]

Carter’s ACE Hardware in Apopka Manager Roland Steem said a charcoal grill is good to have on hand in case you lose power and need a way to cook food. He mentioned three basic items every Floridian should have in their hurricane kit.

“Water, batteries, and flashlights. Those go quick,” Steem said.

According to AAA, Floridians should have food, water, and emergency supplies stocked for at least three days in case a hurricane hits.

[RELATED: Florida sales tax holiday for disaster preparedness items enters final day]

Over at Lowe’s in Orlando, shelves are stocked with hurricane supplies.

“We’ve been having heavy traffic here. We’re seeing a lot of demand for things like gas cans, flashlights, batteries and tarps,” Assistant Manager Chad Cooney said.

Some shoppers stopped into Lowe’s Friday evening to make sure they have everything they need ahead of Elsa’s potential visit.

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“I’m pretty set, I may get a few more batteries,” shopper Alexis Feldman said.

“Inherently you miss something, so we come out and see what we missed and pick it up. Especially when there’s a hurricane brewing in our area,” Roberts said.

Some tips from locals who have experienced hurricanes:

  • “If you have places that need to be sandbagged and don’t have access to any sandbags, you can use mulch and topsoil. I found that it worked around my sliding glass doors and I was able to reuse them when I was finished,” Baker said.
  • “A lot of people depend on their cell phones, but during a storm, service may be out for an extended period of time,” Feldman said. “A wind-up radio or things that are battery operated are great to have, so you can know what’s going on.”
  • Don’t leave batteries in your radios when they are not in use, they may leak.
  • Be sure to get propane or coal for your grill. When the power goes out, you can use them to cook or for warmth during a storm.
  • Stores like ACE and Lowe’s offer in-home generator installation and will teach you how to use it properly.

Keep in mind, “Freedom Week” is underway with sales tax breaks in Florida on many hurricane-prep items like flashlights, grills and tarps. The tax-free holiday runs through Wednesday, July 7.

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a multimedia journalist who joined the News 6 team in February 2020. Crystal comes to Central Florida from WKMG’s sister station, WJXT in Jacksonville, where she worked as a traffic anchor and MMJ.