National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning now and throughout the year.

Here in Monroe County we are focused on hurricanes this time of year. The threat of Hurricane Dorian sent many scrambling for supplies leading to long lines at gas stations and cases upon cases of bottled water flying off store shelves.

The time to prepare your plan is when you aren’t under pressure and can think logically of what you need to do to be prepared ahead of time.

  • Build your hurricane supply box including things like battery operated or hand crank flashlight/radio, extra batteries, camp stove and gas, candles and matches/lighters, dust masks, work gloves, fix-a-flat, can opener, phone chargers, siphons, disinfecting wipes, chlorine bleach, heavy-duty contractor bags, rags and tools.
  • Purchase non-perishable snacks and foods ahead of time–things you would eat even if you aren’t in survival mode: peanut butter, beans, tuna, jerky, nuts and dried fruit. Purchase fresh fruit as the storm approaches. Oranges and bananas come already packaged by Mother Nature and are much healthier than canned fruit.
  • Be sure you have personal care items, prescriptions, eyeglasses and contacts, first-aid supplies, mosquito repellent, paper and pens, and cards and games for kids.
  • Store all of your important documents together and in a waterproof package. Keep and eye on your vehicle’s fuel tank as the season gets more active so you don’t have to worry about waiting in line, and be sure to have cash on hand so you aren’t relying on debit cards.
  • Prepare for evacuation with your pet or service animal including making sure all shots are up to date, knowing which shelters and hotels will accept pets if you have to evacuate, and having food and prescription medications. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR ANIMALS BEHIND!
  • Fill your tub and your washing machine with water and have containers on hand for drinking water to fill with tap water before the storm instead of buying cases of plastic bottles.

You can visit for a complete list of supplies and tips. All month FIRM will be promoting National Preparedness Month on our social media outlets. If you have helpful suggestions that have served you in the past, or that you wish you knew ahead of time, please share by commenting on FIRMKeys’ Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages.

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