SARASOTA (WWSB) - The National Weather Service has declared this week - May 5 through May 11- as National Hurricane Preparedness Week. For the next six days, officials will address six different storm issues. On Monday, we looked at planning for when severe weather strikes. Tuesday, we're focusing on what you need to have with you if and when it does.
"That laissez-faire attitude is really what worries us the most, and anyone who’s in emergency management response will tell you the same thing. When people say ‘Oh it’s been so many years, we haven’t had any big hurricanes here so we don’t need to prepare because it’s not going to happen.’ Well, that’s just when it does happen. You always need to prepare every year,” Megarie Van Sickle, the Executive Director of our local Red Cross, explained.
That’s why Hurricane Preparedness Week was established - to help people be ready. On Tuesday, their focus is on how to assemble a supply kit. Like always, we’re hoping for the best, but still have to prepare for the worst for this upcoming hurricane season.
Officials are urging everyone to have these things ready before a hurricane makes its way through the Suncoast. Your survival kit should include things like water, non-perishable foods and batteries are a must. Also make sure you have any medications and cash to last for at least a few days. Plus, any important documents should be protected.
Here is a full list of what should be in your supply kit: https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit
"Supplies are very important because whatever you have with you during that storm… that’s it. You can’t run out to the storm, and you can’t make that last minute run,” Ed McCrane, the Emergency Operations Chief for Sarasota County, told us.
Some items in your kit may not be small enough to actually fit into a box -- we’re also talking about full gas cans, and shutters for your home. "Unfortunately, because a lot of people don’t prepare early, those that are out there will buy out everything at the store. I think people found that out during Irma. The shelves were completely empty and everything was sold out. Especially the essential supplies,” McCrane said.
Experts say putting together a plan now will help keep you and your family safe.
"It’s too late if you wait until the last minute. This is the time of year when you need to start updating your kit, reviewing it and making sure everything in there is safe and secure and not outdated. That way you’re ready to roll if and when a hurricane would hit,” Van Sickle said.