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Preparation is key to surviving hurricane season

Hurricane season for the MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., and the surrounding Tampa Bay area is between June 1 and Nov. 30 with the peak of the season in September every year.

Hurricane season for the MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., and the surrounding Tampa Bay area is between June 1 and Nov. 30 with the peak of the season in September every year. In order to be prepared for a hurricane, it is recommended that people have a supply kit with at least two weeks of food and water for each person, have multiple evacuation routes, have a gas tank full for a car and have prescriptions refilled before a hurricane hits the local area. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Ryan Boorman, 290th Joint Communication Support Squadron radio frequency transmissions specialist, works to restore communication capabilities outside the Bay County Government Center in Panama City, Fla., Oct. 13, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Ryan Boorman, 290th Joint Communication Support Element radio frequency transmissions specialist, works to restore communication capabilities outside the Bay County Government Center in Panama City, Fla., Oct. 13, 2018. This is an example of the damage a hurricane cause and why it is important to be prepared. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caleb Nunez)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Hurricane season (June 1 – Nov. 30) is once again upon us, and after Hurricane Michael devastated Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida in 2018, the Office of Emergency Management, 6th Civil Engineer Squadron further stresses the importance of hurricane preparedness to avert crisis at MacDill AFB.

“We make sure you are prepared by showing you a plan, how to build a supply kit as well as identifying your flood and evacuation zones based on a case-by-case basis,” said Mark Martinez, the 6th CES installation emergency manager.

A supply kit should account for yourself and your family, including pets, and should sustain everyone for at least two weeks. For example, each person needs to have at least a gallon of water per day.

As for a plan, these are necessary steps to take if a hurricane is approaching:

  • Filling your vehicle’s gas tank
  • Refilling prescription medicine
  • Storing important documents in waterproof containers
  • Having enough food and water
  • Keeping a supply kit in the safest room
  • Installing shutters or 0.75 inch plywood if needed
  • Having a plan for pet(s)
  • Monitoring the news for storm updates
  • Having multiple evacuation routes

“Having an evacuation plan for more than one way out to survive a hurricane is extremely important,” said Leighton Reid, a 6th CES emergency management technician. “I-4 became a parking lot leading to Orlando when Hurricane Charley made landfall back in 2004.” 

Along with having an evacuation plan, Reid explained that people should plan to have home and renter’s insurance before the start of the hurricane season because it is not normally obtainable once a storm is named or enters the gulf.

“The most important thing to know is to make preparations early and don’t wait until the last minute,” said Reid. “By then, it is already too late.”

Tampa’s hurricane season peak is in September, which is when the Tampa Bay area suffered whipping winds and torrential rain as a result of Hurricane Irma in 2017.  

“To receive emergency notifications, military service members must update AtHoc this year as some flood and evacuation zones have also changed,” said Reid.

Despite what background and familiarity someone might have with weather-related storms, preparedness can make a huge difference in someone’s outcome.

“It is highly encouraged that new military service members and their families, as well as new people to MacDill should attend a hurricane safety briefing,” said Martinez.

For more hurricane preparation information, call 813-828-4321 or attend one of the hurricane safety briefings held on the second Wednesday of each month until December at 9 a.m. in Building 12.