Plan & Prepare

Since its inception, the mission of FPREN has been to provide Floridians with life-saving content during times of crisis. The initiative also focuses on preparing citizens for the worst of situations. When disaster strikes, time is of the essence: That’s why the best time to prepare is before the event. Your hurricane plan and knowledge of evacuation zones are most important when it comes to protecting your life and property from nature’s biggest storms. And that’s where the Know Your Zone, Know Your Home campaign comes in.

Play Video

Assessing Your Risk

Know Your Zone

The first step to understanding your risk is to know if you live in an evacuation zone, a low-lying or flood-prone area, or in a mobile home or an unsafe structure. Don’t wait until hurricane season to find out this information.

These areas and/or buildings are most likely to be evacuated during a hurricane, and knowing these zones ahead of time will help residents prepare to evacuate. It will also help you better understand news reports and orders from local officials.

  • Click the Know Your Zone Map and type in your address.
  • If your address is in one of the colored zones, then you live in a flood area or evacuation zone

If you are in an evacuation zone, listen to evacuation orders from local officials. Typically Zone A is the most vulnerable, and the area ordered to evacuate first.

Play Video

Frequently Asked Questions

The greatest threat to life from a hurricane is storm surge flooding. If you are in an evacuation zone, low-lying flood area, or a mobile home, you should follow all evacuation orders. However, if none of these scenarios apply to you, then it may be safer to stay in your home rather than travel or be out on the road. Always heed the advice and orders of local officials during a storm.

The current list of Evacuation Orders for Florida counties can be found HERE. Otherwise, monitor local news and pay attention to alerts from authorities. Evacuation zones are designated from A to F. Generally, Zone A is most vulnerable and most likely to be evacuated first, while Zone F is most likely to be evacuated last. Take time now to find out which zone you live in, and remember to pay attention to local authorities during a storm to know if an evacuation has been ordered. Know your zone by visiting

If you need to evacuate, your safest and easiest option might be to stay with friends or family who live outside the evacuation zone or in a stronger house. Check with nearby friends and family now, and have a plan in place for what to do if you are ordered to evacuate. Shelter information can be found at

Know Your Home

In addition to knowing your zone, it’s also very important to know your home.

First, if you live in an area ordered to evacuate by local authorities, you live in a flood zone, or you live in a mobile home, you should evacuate no matter what. That is the smartest and safest thing to do as long as you can do so before the storm hits. Get out before it’s too late.

If an evacuation order is not issued for your area and your house is not in an evacuation zone, then it may be safer for you to stay in your home. If you shelter in place, it’s important to know your home and its ability to withstand strong winds and heavy rain. While it is the responsibility of the homeowner to know if their home is strong enough to withstand a hurricane, homes built after 2002 generally include features that make them more resilient to hurricanes.

There are also improvements you can make to your home to strengthen it against future storms. Know your home, and learn more by visiting the Florida Division of Emergency Management: Secure Your Home.

Plan and Prepare

The best time to prepare for hurricane season is well before it begins. Having to rush through potentially life-saving preparations by waiting until it’s too late only adds to the stress of the event.

The following is a collection of suggestions from NOAA, FEMA, and the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes on being prepared for and surviving the impacts of a hurricane or severe weather.

Develop an evacuation plan

If you are at risk from hurricane impacts, you need an evacuation plan. Now is the time to begin planning where you would go and how you would get there. You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Your destination could be a friend or relative who lives in a well built home outside flood prone areas. Plan several routes. Be sure to account for your pets. If you don’t have a vehicle, check with local officials to see what transportation options they may have available.

Play Video

Assemble disaster supplies

Whether you’re evacuating or sheltering-in-place, you’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm but for the potentially lengthy and unpleasant aftermath. It doesn’t take thousands of dollars or multiple days to do it. In fact, in one day, you can gather the items necessary to ride out a storm and the impacts left behind. If finances become a challenge, consider purchasing only a few of these items at a time during the off-season months.

Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of 3 days (store more than 3 days). Electricity and water could be out for weeks. You’ll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio, and flashlights. You may need a portable crank or solar-powered USB charger for your cell phones. And lastly, don’t forget your pets!

Play Video

Get an insurance checkup & document your possessions

Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance check-up to make sure you have enough insurance to repair or even replace your home and/or belongings. Remember, home and renters insurance doesn’t cover flooding, so you’ll need a separate policy for it. Flood insurance is available through your company, agent, or the National Flood Insurance Program at Act now, as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period. Take the time before hurricane season begins to document your possessions: photos, serial numbers, or anything else that you may need to provide your insurance company when filing a claim.

Create a communication plan

Take the time now to write down your hurricane plan, and share it with your family. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. Write down on paper a list of emergency contacts, and make sure to include utilities and other critical services — remember, the internet may not be accessible during or after a storm.

Strengthen your home

Now is the time to improve your home’s ability to withstand hurricane impacts. Trim trees. Install storm shutters, accordion shutters, and/or impact glass. Seal outside wall openings. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand hurricane-force winds. Many retrofits are not as costly or time consuming as you may think. If you’re a renter, work with your landlord now to prepare for a storm.

Remember — now is the time to purchase the proper plywood, steel, or aluminum panels to have on hand if you need to board up the windows and doors ahead of an approaching storm. Finally, make plans ahead of time on where to store your recreational vehicles, such as your boat or motorcycle. A public space such as a parking garage may be a much sturdier solution than your driveway or carport.

More Help

Have multiple ways to receive alerts

Being able to receive emergency alerts and other public safety notifications in your community on your phone is an invaluable service. Alert Florida is a statewide emergency notification initiative sponsored by the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Sign up here, or use this link that describes other warning alerts and how to get them:

FEMA also has more ways for us to be “tech ready”:

And don’t forget to download the Florida Storms app so you can be in the know, even while on the go.

Play Video

Plan for the other hazards and impacts far away from landfall

  • Flooding: Tropical storms and hurricanes can threaten all Floridians with flooding. Even after the strong winds have diminished, the flooding potential of these storms can remain for several days. Since 1970, nearly 60% of deaths due to floods associated with tropical cyclones occurred inland from the storm’s landfall. Of that 60%, almost one-fourth (23%) of U.S. tropical cyclone deaths happened to people who drown in or attempt to abandon their cars.
  • It is a common misconception to think that the stronger the storm is, the greater the potential for flooding. This is not always the case. In fact, large and slow moving tropical cyclones, regardless of strength, are the ones that usually produce the most flooding.
  • Tornadoes: Tropical cyclones often produce tornadoes, which can contribute to the overall destructive power of a storm. Tornadoes associated with tropical cyclones are usually less intense than those that occur in Tornado Alley and Dixie Alley. However, they can occur for days after landfall, and produce substantial damage in neighborhoods that might have not been in the storm’s direct path.
  • Power Outages: Hurricane-force winds can travel dozens of miles inland after a hurricane makes landfall, causing considerable structural damage and power outages that can last days, maybe even weeks. So even if you’re well inland or far away from a landfalling cyclone, make sure you have an extra cell phone battery or charger, a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio, a flashlight, and extra batteries.
Play Video

If you or a loved one has a disability

Emergency situations are stressful for everyone, and can be even more stressful for those with disabilities or special needs. To ensure that you or your loved one’s unique needs are met during the next disaster, here is some help from the Florida Division of Emergency Management and FEMA.

Understand Forecast Information

At any given time, we have access to a surplus of forecast information in our hands or pockets. That information is not always reliable and is sometimes outdated. Rely on official forecasts from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and local National Weather Service offices (NWS).

Residents are encouraged to be cautious of “sensational headlines” when scrolling through social media, as this can lead to confusion regarding current storm information. It’s important for residents to know what alerts mean and to understand the difference between a watch and a warning.

A Watch means impacts are possible, while a Warning means impacts are expected or happening. Residents are encouraged to focus on potential impacts and understand that deadly hazards can occur well outside of the cone.

Use Caution After Storms

The road to recovery can be a long one following a landfalling tropical system. It is crucial that residents who evacuated return home only when told to do so by local emergency management. Remaining vigilant in the days and weeks following a disaster will keep you and your family out of harms way. Residents are asked to exercise extreme caution around damaged buildings and to carefully inspect the outside of their home to check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and other structural damage. In order to prevent electric shock, avoid handling damaged power lines. This can be tricky, as power lines may be on the ground, hidden in water, or dangling overhead. Take steps to minimize over-exertion: this includes staying hydrated, taking frequent breaks, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and cleaning up during cooler hours if possible. During this time, residents are reminded that offering a helping hand to neighbors will get the recovery effort underway even quicker. As a reminder, emergency responders and communication systems are likely to be overwhelmed in the days and weeks following a landfalling tropical system. If your home is without power, a portable generator can be a reliable way to get power and a sense of normalcy. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death in areas hard-hit with power outages, so be sure to only use portable generators outside more than 20 feet from your home, doors, and windows. has about every other way you can think of to help get us through whatever Florida weather brings our way.

Play Video