What to do as a Hurricane Approaches

Is your plan ready for action? Don't wait until the last minute to gather supplies together. Prepare your hurricane kit, secure your valuables early, and inform relatives of your plans.

Basic Preparations

Image Basic Preparations

Use this Personal Conditions Checklist in the days leading up to a hurricane event.


  1. Listen for weather updates on local stations and on NOAA Weather Radio. Don’t trust rumors. Stay tuned to the latest information.
  2. Remember, hurricanes can be unpredictable. Errors can occur in the forecast track from the National Hurricane Center. Don’t focus on the precise forecasted track. Instead, heed the warnings of local officials. For more information visit www.noaa.gov or www.weather.gov and find information for the Tampa Bay area.
  3. Be sure to have a Disaster Supply Kit prepared. Purchase any items you don’t already have. Refill prescriptions and maintain a two-week supply throughout hurricane season.
  4. Clear your yard of lawn furniture, potted plants, bicycles, trash cans and other items that could become airborne in strong winds. Leave swimming pools filled and chlorinated. Cover the filtration system.
  5. Never sweep or blow yard leaves, pine needles, grass clippings or soil into the street or stormwater system. This clogs up stormwater pipes and prevents water from draining.
  6. Cover windows and doors with plywood or storm shutters. Brace double entry and garage doors at the top and bottom.
  7. If your house has a pool, ensure that it is prepared for the storm. Lower the
    water level to accommodate heavy rains, but do not drain completely. Add extra
    chlorine to the pool and turn off electrical power to pool equipment.
  8. If you plan on using a generator to provide temporary electrical power in the case of a power loss, be aware of the associated hazards.  Read this short FEMA bulletin on Generator Safety.
  9. If there is a chance of flooding, move important items (electronics, antiques and furniture) from the floor.
  10. Unplug and secure high-value electronics equipment. When lowering a
    television antenna, be very careful and do not touch power lines due to the risk
    of electrocution.
  11. Store water in bathtubs, barrels, jugs, and other containers. Use this water for
    bathing and sanitary purposes, DO NOT USE THIS WATER FOR DRINKING.
  12. Fill your gas tank and check oil, water and tires. Gas pumps won’t operate without electricity after a storm passes.  Do not wait until the evacuation order to do this.
  13. If you are planning on using Manatee County shelters or shelters outside of this
    County, become familiar with the established travel routes to and from those
  14. If you plan to shelter your pets at a kennel or clinic, call before evacuating to determine if space is available. Allow sufficient time to travel from the kennel to your evacuation destination after making certain that your animals are secure.
  15. Ensure that your pets have current vaccinations and you have the associated paperwork. It will be required when you check your pet into a pet friendly hotel/motel, kennel, or veterinarian office.
  16. Secure your boat early. Drawbridges will be closed to boat traffic after an evacuation order is issued.
  17. Get cash. Banks and ATMs won’t be in operation without electricity and few stores will be able to accept credit cards or personal checks.
  18. Gather your survival kit and important papers (such as insurance papers, wills,
    marriage and birth certificates, telephone and address books, money,
    checkbook, etc.) and place them in a dry accessible place.
  19. Contact family and friends to inform them of where and with whom you will be
    staying during the storm.



Secure your Boat

  1. If your plan calls for moving your vessel, and you have sufficient notice, do it at least 48 to 72 hours (or earlier) before the hurricane is estimated to strike the area. This may be before a hurricane watch is issued.
  2. Make sure that:
    -Fuel tanks are full;
    -Fuel filters are clean;
    -Batteries are charged;
    -Bilges are clean; cockpit drains are free and clear;
    -Fire fighting equipment is in good order;
    -Lifesaving equipment is in good condition, in place and readily accessible
        (these items will be secured later).
  3. Remove and/or secure all deck gear, portable gear, radio antennas, outriggers, fighting chairs, deck boxes, Bimini tops and side canvas/curtains, sails, boom, extra halyards, canister rafts, and dinghies. Make sure that you secure all hatches, ports, doors, lazarettes and sailboat rudder. (The dinghy may be required to take lines ashore).
  4. If your vessel is moored at a dock or canal, river, or in a marina near the ocean, it is possible that with an additional 5 - 10 feet or greater storm surge, the vessel could take a beating against the dock or even impale itself on pilings.
  5. The best offshore mooring location for a vessel to ride out a storm is in the center of a canal or narrow river where at least doubled mooring lines can be secured to both shores, port and starboard, fore and aft.
  6. Do not raft vessels together at moorings or docks, especially if larger and smaller vessels are involved. The probability of damage to the vessels is greater than if they are moored singly.
  7. If the vessel must remain dockside at a private dock or marina, heavy duty fender boards (2" x 6") should be used on a bare wood center piling or otherwise installed to prevent damage. Lines should be doubled and even tripled where necessary to hold a vessel in the center of a berth or off seawall or dock pilings. Preventers should be installed at the top of the pilings so lines cannot slip off the top. Note that nylon line will stretch 5 to 10 percent of its length.
    taken all the preliminary precautions previously outlined, you have done all that can be done in anticipation of the storm.


Residents with Special Medical Needs

The Special Needs Program is designed to provide hurricane evacuation assistance to
individuals who have no other alternative for transportation or shelter from the storm.


If a hurricane threatens Manatee County and you are pre-registered as a eligible
Special Needs Client, a representative will call you to confirm your transportation need.
The County will attempt to provide transportation to a emergency public shelter only.
Manatee County has very limited resources and when possible you should make your
own transportation and sheltering arrangements.


Group evacuation of a nursing home, adult living facility or other similar facility is
the sole responsibility of the facility's management. Non-emergency transportation is
your responsibility.



Assemble Your Hurricane Kit

Make sure that your hurricane kit is well-stocked and easily accessible. A good hurricane kit includes, but is not limited to, the following items.


  • Bottled Water
  • Battery-operated Radio
  • Extra Batteries
  • Ear Phone for the Radio
  • Flashlight
  • Florida State Road Map
  • Dry (Powder) Beverages
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medication for 30 Days
  • Personal Phone Book
  • Toiletries
  • Baby Food
  • Non-perishable (can) Foods
  • Plastic Eating Utensils
  • Extra Work Clothing
  • Personal Hygiene Items
  • Bedding Material
  • Pillows
  • Playing Cards
  • Magazines and Books
  • Items for Young Children