NATURAL DISASTER RESOURCES & RECOVERY

As we, our partners and our neighbors respond to and recover from recent tragic events, we have collected resources that may help you and your loved ones access services in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties, which you can find below or by calling 211.

211 provides information about emergency information, natural disaster relief, available shelters, financial assistance and more.

To get connected, text your zip code to 898-211, email uw211help@gmail.com, click here to begin the online chat or dial 2-1-1 on your phone. For life-threatening or property emergencies, please call 911.

COVID-19 and Hurricane Season

Preparing for the 2020 hurricane season may look a little different than in years past. FEMA has provided some guidance on how to modify your hurricane plan to help keep you and your family safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

Hurricanes

Hurricanes are powerful tropical weather systems. When hurricanes move onto land, they sweep the ocean inward. Heavy winds, tornadoes, strong thunderstorms, flooding, storm surge and landslides can all be caused by hurricanes.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30 with the peak season from mid-August to late October.

Hurricane Categories

  • Tropical Depression: winds up to 39 miles per hour (mph).
  • Tropical Storm: 39 to 73 mph winds
  • Category 1: 74 to 95 mph winds
  • Category 2: 96 to110 mph winds
  • Category 3: 111 to 130 mph winds
  • Category 4: 131 to 155 mph winds.
  • Category 5: winds 156 mph or greater.

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS

Remember the four steps: Gather. Record. Prepare. Protect.

Gather important documents, such as insurance policies, birth certificates, deeds, and utility bills and store them in waterproof containers. Also gather any important mementos, such as family photos and keepsakes. Write down any important numbers in case you lose power.

Record evidence of your home. Take photos of the inside and outside, including walls, floors, close-ups of appliances and other high-end items. Email photos to yourself for backup.

Prepare your home if you have time. Secure outdoor objects or move them inside, protect windows and use sandbags in doorways.

Protect yourself. This is the most important step. Keep cash, your photo ID and any medications with you. Follow evacuation orders — they are made to keep you safe. If you choose to stay, remember to store enough food, water and pet supplies with you. Store extra batteries, a battery-operated radio and gasoline.

County-by-County Resources

Additional Resources

FEMA ASSISTANCE

If your home or job was impacted by a natural disaster, you may be eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance. Click here or call 1-800-621-3362 to see if you are eligible and to apply for financial assistance.

Gas and Travel

Disaster Assistance

American Red Cross: 800-733-2767

Assistance: The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Safe and Well: Family Reunification

Crisis Cleanup: 800-451-1954

Emergency Alerts

Operation Blue Roof888-ROOF-BLU (888-766-3258). Applicants who use 711 or video relay service can call 800-621-3362. Those who are deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech disability and use TTY can call 800-462-7585.

Housing and Legal

Available Housing: for Florida residents who have been displaced by a storm.

Office of Insurance: Many insurance offices in Florida have also been affected by Hurricane Dorian. For anyone having a problem reaching their agent or insurance office contact:
Office of Insurance Regulations
Division of Financial Services
1-877-693-5236
myfloridacfo.com

Free Legal Assistance: www.floridabar.org or (866) 550-2929

Storm Shelters

FIND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT THROUGH THE NATIONAL DISASTER DISTRESS HELPLINE

If you or a loved one is having a difficult time coping with recent disasters emotionally or mentally, the Disaster Distress Hotline is available 24/7 and in many languages. Individuals can call the helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. If you speak Spanish, you can access the helpline at the same number or by texting Hablanos to 66746. This helpline is staffed by trained crisis counselors.

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