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Preparing for a Hurricane in Jacksonville

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Preparing for a Hurricane in Jacksonville

A friend struggles to help a motorcyclist navigate Jacksonville's flooded streets after Hurricane Dora. The dog, however, is just having fun.

Photo © State Library and Archives of Florida

Jacksonville is generally safe from hurricanes. The last "direct hit" the city received was in 1871, although Hurricane Dora generated 120 mph winds (Category 2) in 1964, causing considerable damage to the city. Tropical Storm's Bonnie (2004) and Fay (2008), however, did cause considerable damage to some areas of the city.

Despite the chances of Jacksonville being majorly affected by a hurricane being slim, residents should still take the necessary safety precautions around Hurricane season (officially June 1 to November 30).

RELATED: Images of Jacksonville After Hurricane Dora

As many Louisiana residents learned in 2004, the threat of natural disasters is very real.

Here are a few pointers from the American Red Cross's Northeast Florida Chapter for preparing for a hurricane.

  • Assemble or purchase disaster repair kit for you, your family and other loved ones. The American Red Cross recommends the kit be waterproof and contain flashlights with batteries, radios with batteries (or the hand-crank variety), necessary prescription drugs along with refill labels, bottled water (one gallon per person per day, enough for 3 to 5 days, ready-to-eat meals that require no refrigeration, baby items or items needed by the elderly, a map, clothes, sleeping bags for each family member, cash, credit cards and the household checkbook.
  • Round up important papers and documents. Documents such as social security cards, birth certificates, mortgage deeds, car titles, wills, insurance policies and marriage licenses should be secured in an accessible waterproof container.
  • Hold a meeting to discuss evacuation options. Consult with your family members and discuss a valid evacuation plan if necessary. When preparing for the hurricane, it's ideal if each family member has a cellular phone or can be contacted immediately.
  • Plan to keep your pets safe. Make sure you have pet carriers and convenience packages of cat and/or dog food, as well as supplies such as litter.
  • Make a list of household items and possessions. Prepare ahead by listing each household possession of value. You'll need this in case any items are damaged or come up missing after the storm.
  • Prepare your home for the storm. If it becomes apparent the storm will hit Jacksonville, your home may be susceptible to damage. The American Red Cross recommends covering your windows with plywood (or wind resistant shutters) and moving any outside objects, such as garbage bins, lawn equipment and children's play toys, inside the home. Additionally, the water valve and primary electricity breaker should be turned off for safety.
  • Make sure at least one family member is knowledgeable in first aid. A knowledge of basic first aid and CPR in particular may be a lifesaver in the event of a disaster.
  • Know your options, in case shelter is necessary. There are 15 American Red Cross hurricane shelters in Duval County, the majority of which are middle and elementary school. Print out this handy list of addresses and phone numbers in case you or your family, or others you know, need to seek shelter.
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