Hurricane Season

The City of Stuart Recommends Residents to be Prepared for Hurricanes

The Hurricane Season officially starts on June 1 and continues into fhurricane photoall, but now is time for all Stuart residents to make preparations for the season with the record setting 2005 season as a guide!

When a tropical storm or hurricane threatens the National Hurricane Center will issue advisories based on the storm's projected strength and estimated time of landfall.

In general

Check with your employer to see if you will have any special job responsibilities when a storm threatens. Have a clear understanding that you will require an appropriate amount of time to prepare your home and family.

Assign an emergency meeting place in case your family gets separated. Designate an out of town family member or friend as an emergency contact.

Write down the important points in your plan so it is clear who will handle each task and you won't forget anything in the heat of the moment.


Before Hurricane Season
Do This Now!

Check with your employer to see if you will have any special job responsibilities when a storm threatens. Have a clear understanding that you will require an appropriate amount of time to prepare your home and family. Assign an emergency meeting place in case your family gets separated. Designate an out of town family member or friend as an emergency contact.

Write down the important points in your plan so it is clear who will handle each task and you won't forget anything in the heat of the moment.

Take photos or slides and make an inventory of personal belongings and think about purchasing a renters insurance policy for your personal possessions. Store the inventory information off the premises, i.e., at the office or in a safe deposit box. Review your insurance coverage. Wind damage may be covered under a standard homeowners policy, but it is very important to check with your insurance provider to assure that you're covered. Ask your agent to review the policy limits, including coverage for contents.

Flooding is generally not covered under standard homeowner policies, so ask your agent about flood insurance, which is available through the National Insurance Flood Program. If you rent a house or apartment, talk to your agent about purchasing a renters insurance policy if you don't already have one.

A family plan is a work in progress. It should be reviewed each year and appropriate changes made. Most importantly, you should practice your plan before the beginning of each season. No two hurricane plans are identical. Each family has its own set of unique individuals and that will be reflected in your own personal plan. It is important that everyone knows what will be expected of them and what they can expect of others. Children should be given assignments as well. Keeping children occupied during a storm will make them easier to control and help calm their fears. During a hurricane emergency make sure that at least one parent, relative or very close adult friend will be with the children at all times.

First decide where you will go when a storm threatens. If you live in an evacuation zone, a mobile home, an area prone to severe flooding or a dwelling considered to be unsafe, you must plan on evacuating for even a minimal hurricane If you are unsure whether you five in a flood-prone area, call your county Office of Emergency Management and give them your address to determine if your home is in an evacuation zone. If you live outside an evacuation zone and have a sturdy roof, impact code approved window shutters and door braces, you should probably plan on staying in your home when a storm threatens.

If evacuating, make a decision now about where you will go. If you have friends or relatives outside an evacuation zone who live in a hurricane-safe house, try to make arrangements to stay with them. Obviously you should make those plans now so that they will be expecting you. Those arrangements should include who will be responsible for food, water and all the necessary items you will find listed throughout this Guide. One of the advantages of an arrangement like this is that you can divide up responsibility for some of the tasks. Plan on leaving as early as possible to avoid rapidly deteriorating weather and increased traffic.

Historically, many people have planned on evacuating to an inland hotel. Hotels tend to fill up fast and if they are all sold out you may be forced to make a last-minute decision to find a shelter.

If you intend to attempt to leave South Florida you should plan on leaving as early as possible, at least 72 hours before anticipated landfall. If you try to fly out be prepared for the possibility that the airport may close or all flights may be full or canceled.

Attempting to drive away from an approaching storm could be a big mistake. Many people from our area tried to evacuate to Orlando when Hurricane Erin threatened South Florida in 1995. Eventually, that storm turned north and headed for Central Florida. Fortunately, it was not a very strong storm.


A Red Cross shelter should be your last resort if you have nowhere else to go. Shelters will be crowded and uncomfortable with no privacy. Bring pillows, blankets and your own supply of food, water and prescription medicines. If you have young children you'll need a few of their favorite small toys, games and books. Do not go to a shelter until you hear from officials that the specific shelter has opened. NOT ALL SHELTERS WILL BE OPENED WHEN A STORM APPROACHES. Familiarize yourself with the location of 2 or 3 shelters in your area so that you know exactly where to go when the shelter opens. Pets, alcohol and firearms are not allowed in shelters.

Emergency Management Officials will be glad to schedule a FREE presentation about Hurricane Preparedness for groups (Condo Associations, Mobile Home Parks, Civic Organizations, Homeowners Associations, etc.) CALL (772) 220-3917.
A tropical storm or hurricane "watch" means that tropical storm or hurricane conditions are a possible threat within 48 hours in the specified region. Begin preliminary preparations to protect life and property. Stay tuned to your local news for updates.
A tropical storm or hurricane "warning" means tropical storm or hurricane conditions are expected in a specified region within 36 hours. All of your preparations should be completed.

REMEMBER: Winds and storm surge from tropical storms are not normally as strong as a hurricane. However, many tropical storms (and even tropical depressions) may contain tornadoes, torrential rains, and flooding.
A hurricane can be a terrifying experience. Your survival may depend on your ability to think quickly and clearly. Talk or read to young children. Explain what they are hearing, as hurricane winds can be very loud and frightening. Reassure them that it may take a while, but eventually the storm will pass. Children can sense when adults are upset. Keep a clear head for their sake and yours.

If you live in an evacuation zone but did not evacuate, you may still be able to escape rising water. Emergency managers suggest you look for a last resort refuge. Evacuation zones are prone to surge flooding, so if you are trapped in an evacuation zone as the storm is hitting, try to get into a two story or taller building. If you are in a high-rise, avoid the upper floors because winds are stronger the higher you go. Try to quickly, identify a safe room (i.e., parking garage, interior room, etc.).

IMPORTANT!!! Last-resort refuges are named just that for a very good reason. You should not consider this as an option in your hurricane plan. If you live in an evacuation zone you should plan to evacuate when told. But just in case, it's a good idea to identify a last resort refuge now.

Weather conditions will deteriorate rapidly as the storm gets closer. All your preparations should have been made. If you missed anything, it may be too late to prepare further.
Stay indoors, away from windows and doors.

Consider turning off circuit breakers before the power goes off (as it probably will). Power surges and spikes can damage electronic equipment. Also, broken or shorted wires become fire hazards when the power is turned back on. You may want to leave one breaker on that feeds a lamp, so you will know when the power comes back on.
When the power goes out, use flashlights (not candles or kerosene lamps) during the storm.

Once you're in your safe room, stay there even if you hear breaking glass or worse. It is extremely dangerous to expose yourself to the hurricane's winds.
Animals should be placed in their carriers.

If your house begins to break apart, cover yourself with the mattress and pillows. If your safe room is a bathroom, you can get in the bathtub and cover yourself with the mattress.
Do not leave your safe room until you hear an official "All's Clear." If the wind dies down, you may be in the eye of the storm. Winds may resume at any time as strong (or stronger) than before, but will be coming from a different direction.

Use the phone for urgent calls only. Avoid contact with the phone if you hear thunder.
Large interior closet, bathroom, stairwell or hallway with no windows may serve as safe room. If your home begins to break apart during a storm, a safe room is where your family would have the best chance of surviving. You should identify the safe room in your home and make sure that everyone knows where it is. When a storm hits, this is where you should be. Safe rooms can also be used in other weather relate emergencies such as tornadoes. A designated safe room built into every new home could provide significant additional protection for you family. This can be relatively inexpensive and has proven to be effective. Existing closets and bathrooms can be improved to provide additional strength to the walls and ceiling. A well-built designated safe room can provide relatively safe haven and peace of mind.


Hurricane Boat Safety

Check insurance policies and coverage. Is your coverage adequate? You should understand the coverage's exclusions and your duties as the vessel owner.

Make an inventory of all equipment on board. Note which items should be removed or secured.

Check deck hardware and electronics. Keep batteries charged and confirm that all bilge pumps are operable.

If you trailer your boat, check your trailer tires, bearings and hitch. Make sure your intended tow vehicle is properly equipped.

Rehearse your plan and make note of how long it takes to complete (including drive time to and from the boat). Double the total time to allow for increased traffic and deteriorating weather conditions. If you will be moving your boat on the water, know your route, including bridge clearances at low and high tides as well as channel depth. If you dock in a residential facility, coordinate your plan with neighbors.

If there is a chance you may be away when a storm threatens, assign someone to carry out your plan. Provide them with a copy of your written procedures.

Protecting your boat from a storm may be the most time consuming portion of your hurricane plan. As important as that boat may be, you can not allow it to interfere with your need to protect your family and home. If you secure your boat first You can concentrate the rest of your time on preparing your home. That means you need to begin your boat preparations very early.


Hurricane Special Needs Information

The goal of the Martin County special needs program is to ensure that Florida residents who have mental, physical or emotional challenges receive consideration and assistance during times of emergency. Over time, Martin County has continued to enhance the special needs program.

In 1997, Martin County initiated the Martin County Cares Program to help special needs registrants better prepare for assisted evacuation. The program provides each such registrant with a sturdy "MCCARES" container to hold those personal belongings that will accompany them to the Martin County special needs facility.

All county home healthcare agencies will assist their clients who are special needs registrants with the task of preparing their "MCCARES" container prior to hurricane season. To simplify the task, the agencies also prepare an inventory list of items to pack and attach it to each client's "MCCARES" container.

In the past years, Martin County improved the special needs program by taking advantage of computer technology. We will be using laptop computers and bar-code readers to reduce paperwork and improve activity monitoring. Special bar-coded armbands will be created for all special needs registrants. The armbands will identify the registrant and provide information about their individual needs.

If you have questions regarding special needs or the "MCCARES" program, please call the Office of Emergency Management in Martin County at (772) 287-1652.


City of Stuart Recommends Residents to be prepared for Hurricanes