ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – When it comes to preparing for a hurricane or another major weather event, staying informed is key.
[HURRICANE RESOURCES: ClickOrlando.com/Hurricane]
Since power outages can be rampant when a storm strikes, residents of Orange County are encouraged to do their research, download any apps and sign up for alerts beforehand.
How to stay informed
The best place to start is with the News 6 Pinpoint Weather app, which allows you to sign up for location-based push alerts so you’ll receive detailed updates based on where you live. You can download that and the news app today by searching WKMG in your app store.
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There are also two apps offered by the Orange County government that will come in handy during and after the storm.
OCFL Alert is an emergency notification app that supplies residents with shelter openings, evacuation routes, public service announcements, distribution centers and other crucial information. OCFL 311 allows users to report potential hazards in their neighborhood, including downed trees or sparking power lines. Both are available for free in app stores.
In addition to the apps, there's also the option to receive text messages through the Orange County alert system. Click here to sign up.
It's important to note that shelter locations won't be published until a storm approaches, so signing up for Orange County alerts is your best way to know when they are announced.
For residents with special needs, there is a way to sign up in advance for emergency medical services by calling 407-836-3111 or by filling out a registration form, which is available here in English and here in Spanish.
Depending on the rules for each individual location, special needs shelters may also be the place to go if you have a domestic pet with you. Be sure to see if a shelter accepts pets before heading to that location.
No matter your circumstances, it's always best to check that a shelter is open before you head there since not every location will be open. Also be sure to bring your ID, medical information and equipment, medications, a blanket and pillow, a change of clothes and some basic hygiene items.
For more information from the Orange County Office of Emergency Management on how to plan for disasters, visit OCFL.net/storm.
For weather updates, tips on how to prepare your home, family and pets ahead of a storm and what to expect during and after one, visit ClickOrlando.com/Hurricane.