Miami Beach residents and businesses are urged to develop a disaster preparedness plan before an emergency strikes. Know where you will stay when you evacuate, how you will get there, and what supplies you will take. Prepare an emergency supply kit for evacuation and for your return (a minimum of three days of food and water). Consider the needs of elderly and infant family members and pets.
- Make prior arrangements to shelter with friends or relatives living in a non-evacuation area or check into a hotel located inland; or, as a last resort only, use a public shelter (click here for evacuation bus pick-up sites). Make sure that you take proper Miami Beach identification with you; you will need it to re-enter the city once this is permitted after damage and safety assessments are made.
- Send a list of friends’ and neighbors’ telephone numbers and copies of important papers to family members in another city.
- Tell family, neighbors, and service agencies where you will stay in an emergency.
- Have a transportation plan for emergencies.
- If necessary, register with Miami-Dade County’s Special Needs Evacuation Assistance Registry
- Review your insurance policies to ensure that you are fully covered. Insurers cease issuing policies when tropical systems are within a certain distance.
- Have a plan to secure your boat or to take it elsewhere.
- Make arrangements with a kennel or friend to care for your pets. There are two evacuation centers in Miami-Dade County that will accept pets but you should make other arrangements.
- Inventory and take photos of your property and valuables, and store these photos and other important documents in a waterproof container and take with you when evacuating.
- Practice your Disaster Plan.
Family Emergency Plan
- Include everyone in your household
- Know the potential hazards of hurricanes and other threats, and hold a “family meeting” to discuss them with everyone in your household.
- If you live alone in a multifamily building, identify neighbors in your building with whom you can rely on to create a plan together.
- Include children in your discussions and allow them to ask questions and talk about their fears.
- Discuss your options. Where will you go should you have to evacuate? If you are planning to travel out of town, do so well in advance of the storm.
Family Emergency Communication Plan
This is important, so that all family members know where to go and who to contact should you become separated. It is a good idea to select one out-of-state and one local contact for family members to call if separated by disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).
Have a list — or use this one — to note important numbers. Make copies for every person in your household and make sure they keep it with them at all times, or store the information in everyone’s mobile devices under the heading “ICE” for “In Case of Emergency”
Trees & Roofs
No tree is immune to storm damage, but with proper pruning, you can reduce the risk.
Remember that you must obtain a permit to prune and/or remove certain trees.
Have your trees inspected by an International Society of Arboriculture certified arborist to see if your trees need pruning. Do this as soon as possible, because they will be increasingly busy as the hurricane season approaches. It is the responsibility of the tree trimmer to remove all branches and debris from your residence when the job is finished. If you prune the trees yourself, be sure to dispose of organic waste properly.
Most importantly, do it now. Once a storm is on its way, it is too late to prune.
Roof and Gutters
Inspect your roof for proper overflow drainage, especially on flat roofs. Make sure that all drains are clear of debris. Clogged drains will cause water to pool up on roofs and cause extensive damage. Check for loose rain gutters and drain spouts and secure them.
Preparing Your Home
Make a plan to secure your home/property (and who will do it) and to assist any family members who may need assistance putting up shutters, removing patio furniture and other items that may become projectiles in high winds, etc. A prepared home is a resilient one.
- Know your home’s vulnerabilities. Inventory your home possessions and videotape or photograph items of value, including cars, boats, and recreational vehicles.
- Review your insurance policies to ensure you have adequate coverage.
- Keep important records, such as passports and birth certificates, as well as insurance policies, vehicle titles, photo/video inventory of your home, etc. in a water-proof and fire-proof container.
Quick Home Inspection
The following should be done well in advance, not when a storm is approaching.
- Inspect your roof.
- Prune trees well in advance of hurricane season. You don’t want to create debris when a storm is near. Make sure trees don’t touch your roof or power lines.
- Review your insurance policies for proper coverage.
- Check your shutters (practice installing them, especially if you bought a new home or new shutters).
- Test your generator and chainsaw for proper operation. Know the safety precautions. Click here for more information about generator safety http://www.miamidade.gov/fire/safety-generators.asp
Items to take care of when a storm is approaching:
- Take down and bring in any garbage cans, plants, furniture, umbrellas, signs, tables, and other loose and/or unsecured structures from outdoors, including on balconies.
- Board up windows and glass doors. (DO NOT TAPE WINDOWS and do not leave any windows or doors ajar).
- Fill medical prescriptions.
- Fill propane gas and car gasoline tank.
- Unplug the TV/computer and bring the antenna and satellite dish inside.
- Move furniture and electronics away from windows and cover them with plastic.
- Pull curtains, blinds, and shutters closed.
- Turn off your water service and turn off the electricity.
- Turn off gas appliances at the shut-off valve inside the house.
- Turn your refrigerator to its coldest setting.
- Place valuables in waterproof containers and store them in high places.
- Apartment or condo: minimize damage by securing doors and windows; unsecured areas of neighboring units can cause damage to your unit too.
- Pool: turn off the electricity to pool equipment, cover the pool pump, and add extra chlorine to your pool.