When a hurricane is threatening the First Coast, it’s important to be prepared for the worst. Our St. Augustine Hurricane Preparedness Guide is designed to provide resources for residents to ensure their safety before, during, and after a major storm. (**Updated July 2020**)
Before the Storm
- Visit the Ready.gov/hurricanes website to prepare your home and a safety kit.
- Check to see if you are in a Flood Zone in St. Johns County.
- Find evacuation routes for St. Johns County.
- Find your closest hurricane shelters and if you have pets, locate the shelters that take pets
- Develop a family communication plan.
- Receive alerts about emergencies by signing up for the St. Johns County Emergency Notification System, Alert St. Johns.
A Few Days Before Impact
- Fill up your car with gas before lines get long, prices increase and gas becomes spare.
- Purchase food supplies to last 72 hours for each family member.
- Make sure you have 3-5 days’ worth of water for your household. Don’t forget bottled water for baby formula and small children. It’s always a good idea to fill each bathtub in your house before hurricane impact.
- Stock up on diapers, wipes, formula, and other baby necessities.
- Ensure you have working flashlights with extra batteries and candles with a working lighter.
- Stock up on pet food.
- Do laundry and dishes before power loss.
- Charge all electronics. You can use laptops/tablets to charge phones. Ensure you have a car charger to charge phones too. Turn your phone to low energy usage. Be sure to have weather apps installed and set your phone to get emergency alerts
- Prepare your home. Secure plants, furniture, or toys that are outside in the yard. Trim any loose tree limbs and if needed board up your windows.
- Check the St Johns County school district website for updates on school closures
- Follow the instructions and advice of your local government. If you are advised to evacuate, do so. There is no point in waiting. This will help you avoid traffic jams and rising water.
- If certain travel routes are specified or recommended, use them.
- Decide where you and your family will stay during the disaster.
- Tell someone (outside of the storm area if possible) where you are going.
During the Storm
If you are staying home, here’s what you should do:
- Monitor the radio, television, or reliable social media sources for weather conditions and updates.
- Do NOT go outside, even if the storm appears to have subsided. The calm or the “eye” of the storm can pass quickly, leaving you outside when strong winds resume.
- Stay away from all windows and exterior doors, and seek shelter in a bathroom or interior closet.
- Evacuate to a shelter or a neighbor’s home if your home is damaged, or if you are instructed to do so by emergency personnel.
- If power is lost, unplug, and turn off all major appliances and electronics to reduce the chances of a damaging power surge.
If you are headed to an evacuation shelter:
- Eat before you leave. Meals may not be available at the shelters for the first 24 hours.
- Bring the items listed on the “Emergency Checklist“
- Take important documents and insurance papers with you.
- Bring ID. You may need to show proof of residence to re-enter an evacuation area once the all-clear is given.
After the Storm
- Be patient. Everyone will be anxious to return to their homes. Officials have to inspect bridges and ensure roadways are safe. Some areas will require a pass to return home.
- Check on your neighbors, family, and friends.
- When power returns to your home, do not start all major appliances at once. Turn them on gradually to reduce damage.
- Avoid downed or damaged power lines and report them immediately to the local police and fire department
- Even if you have ventilation, never use a generator indoors. This includes garages, basements, and crawlspaces. Exhaust fumes contain high levels of carbon monoxide which can be deadly if inhaled. Even when left outside, keep generators away from doors and windows and at least 10 feet away from your home. Also, allow your generator to cool off before refilling it with gas to prevent a fire
- Do not use electrical or gas appliances that have been wet, and do not turn on damaged appliances because of the hazards of electric shock or fire.
- Never use charcoal indoors because burning charcoal produces high levels of carbon monoxide that can reach lethal levels in enclosed spaces.
- WJXT’s Hurricane Tracker App: This interactive tracking app gives you up-to-date info and alerts.
- First Coast News Hurricane Central Active Map: Check here for weather news, updates, and preparedness information.
- St Johns County Emergency Management’s Hurricane Prep Guide, their Facebook page, and the Twitter page gives news and updates.
- NOAA Hurricane Safety Tips
- Ready: resources for kids and parents to be prepared in case of a disaster. It includes games for kids and teaches parents to help children cope during and after a disaster.