How prepared are you and your family for hurricane season? With all that has been going on, this yearly season has been somewhat pushed aside. Nonetheless, it is important to have things in order before the hurricanes come.


The National Weather Service is predicting an active 2020 season. Because of COVID-19, preparations may need to be somewhat different this year.


Have a written plan for you and your family should a hurricane come to our area. Plan ahead where you will go should you need to evacuate. Who will transport the children and who will transport the pets? Where will you meet? If you have elderly neighbors, please include them in your evacuation plans.


Because some businesses have closed with COVID-19, make sure that you have a list of hotels/motels that will accept pets if you have them, and check that they are open. Plan on bringing you own snacks, drinks and easy to prepare food (sandwiches) as there may not be food available for purchase close to where you are staying.


Here is a partial list of items needed for both staying home during a hurricane or evacuation:


— Make sure you are tracking current weather conditions


— Cover the windows of your home with plywood or hurricane proof shutters


— Keep copies of essential papers in waterproof zippered bags, such as: Homeowner's insurance policy, passports, banking information, current list of medications for each household member, deed to the home, and other legal papers you may need. Put the originals in a safe deposit box.


— Cash needed for supplies


— Keep your vehicles full of fuel, don't let your tank get below 1/2


— Take your valuables if you evacuate, jewelry, cameras, and so on


— Have a battery-operated radio along with plenty of batteries


— Keep phone and other needed chargers in a zippered bag


— Portable propane grill to cook with, only use outside, have extra propane tanks


— Plenty of canned food along with a portable can opener


— Water, have one gallon per day per pet, and two gallons per person per day for a seven to 14 day period


— Have emergency contact numbers written down in case the phone goes dead


— Have two to four weeks of medications for each person


— Have basic tools readily available, wrench, screwdrivers, hammer, nails, etc.


— Have pet carriers, leads and enough pet food for 14 days for each pet


— If you stay home and a storm is coming, fill your bathtubs with water for things like wiping down counters, flushing, and so on


— First aid kit


— Once a hurricane is confirmed, bring in all outside furniture


Should you decide to go to a county shelter, know the rules ahead of time. Do they accept pets? Do they have accommodations for special needs? These are items you may need:


— Sleeping bags, pillows and blankets


— Drinking water


— Identification papers for each member of the family


— Snacks, games and toys for your children


— Needed medicines for each family member


— Battery-operated radio


— Face masks for each family member, at least two per person, with more extras, if possible


Should you desire more information, the following sites are helpful. National Weather Service, www.weather.gov/wrn/hurricane-preparedness and Okaloosa County hurricane preparedness information, http://www.co.okaloosa.fl.us/ps/hurricanes.


Be prepared and stay safe!


Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.