ORLANDO, Fla. – Every year, News 6 meteorologists and local government officials encourage the public to get prepared for hurricane season, though there are still some who don’t heed the warnings.
Some say they ignore the calls to prepare because they’ve lived in Florida their whole lives and they think they “know what to do.” Others see that Central Florida has been spared from major storms in recent hurricane seasons and have just let their guard down after not seeing a catastrophic event in their backyard for a few years.
And while it’s easy to get comfortable and not spend time preparing for something that may never happen, Eric Alberts, Orlando Health’s corporate director of emergency preparedness, reminds Central Floridians in one simple sentence why they should still make preparing a priority each and every year: “It only takes one.”
“The honest truth of that is it only takes one, you’ve heard this probably many times since you’ve lived here. But the reality is, if you’ve looked at past history, there are many opportunities for just one strike from a hurricane or even a tropical storm that, you know, kind of sticks around and provides a lot of rainfall to us in a short amount of time. It can cause major, major catastrophic damage and issues for us,” Alberts said. “And that’s just one storm, that’s one hurricane, and yet we have the whole rest of the season to contend with.”
Alberts pointed to the fact that hurricane seasons have been so active lately that the National Hurricane Center has even begun issuing tropical weather outlooks before the official start of the season.
He said it’s not only important to prepare but to make sure you prepare early. In fact, he said the best way to make sure you’re ready for a storm is to never stop preparing. Instead, look for ways you can build your hurricane kit year round that way it’s already ready when storm season begins.
Alberts said when you start early, you can look for deals to help you replenish your emergency kit, which helps you avoid having to spend so much money at one time.
“It’s just really important for everyone to know, you don’t have to go out and spend hundreds of dollars all at one time. I mean, if you have the money, that’d be great, but most people don’t. So build up to it where you can, you know, when you’re at the store, if it’s on the list, it’s buy one, get one, you can afford to get one, you got another one free anyway, so just go ahead and do it,” Alberts said.
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Another perk to stocking up on necessities early is that it leaves time to look for any luxury items you’d like to keep in your hurricane kit.
“So there are many things that are (and) should be required. And there are many things that are niceties, as we call it, they’re nice to have in your kits. And those are things like creature comforts, right? So what are your favorite snacks? What are your favorite treats you’d like to treat yourself with? You’re going through a stressful situation in a hurricane, you don’t know about your friends, your family or your home, and you don’t need to be stuck in a shelter in a hotel or even in your house without anything to do, so sometimes little things like that will help calm you down as odd as it is,” Alberts said.
Alberts said if you’ve already restocked your basic needs, you can use the extra time to gather board games, cards, coloring books and anything else you can do that does not require power, should you lose it during the storm.
For a list of what to include in your hurricane kit, click here. If you’re just looking to replace any old items as a way to freshen up an existing hurricane kit, like Alberts mentioned, click here for a list of items that likely have an expiration date.
Alberts also offered tips about other ways to prepare for a hurricane, and valuable information about what to do during and after a storm strikes. Learn more by watching his full interview in the video player at the top of the story.
For additional resources and more advice from experts on how to prepare for a storm, visit ClickOrlando.com/hurricane.