Unofficial Hurricane Preparedness List for Jacksonville Florida

Most of us here in Northeast Florida have been fortunate to have never lived through any of the major hurricanes that have wrecked other areas of Florida and other coastal states. However, we should all be prepared for a major hurricane or other natural disaster.  We've compiled a short list with links out to some of the most critical info, as well as some other "Boy Scout" type items to help you better prepare.

Step 1:  Be Prepared Before Need Arises

The City of Jacksonville has provided us all with this FREE PDF of the Emergency Preparedness Guide.  This is a large PDF so it does take a while to download if you are on a slower connection.  This is the best and easiest "checklist" of things to do to be prepared in case of a hurricane or other natural disaster in Jacksonville FL.  

Step 2:  Know your Evacuation Zone

This is a map provided by the city of Jacksonville.  If you are like us... it's a little unclear exactly where some of the lines are.  Therefore, we recommend you check out your ACTUAL address:  Check your evacuation ZONE by your home address.

Jacksonville Hurricane Evacuation Map

Step 3:  Know your Flood Zone

Surprisingly, many homes in Jacksonville are in a flood zone but the owners don't realize this.  It's due to the re-drawing of the flood map.  This is super important as you'll need to both recognize the potential for flooding within your own home, but you'll also want to beef up on your home insurance if you are now in a flood zone.  Check your FLOOD zone by your home address.

A few helpful tips:

  1. Get Cash
  2. Get Gas
  3. Charge up all your phones and tablets
  4. Pick up an extra case of bottled water
  5. Check your prescription drugs and refill early
  6. Have a plan for your Pets
  7. Expect power outages and plan accordingly
  8. Clean up your yard of debris or any decorations that could fly off

Your "I wish I had..." Next Time List:

  1. GENERATOR!!!  I like Honda generators because they are typically quiet and easy to operate.  Here is a link:  Honda Generators.  What would you do with a small generator?  Easy:  Plug in your refrigerator, a fan, etc.  when the power is out.  Smart bonus tip:  Buy a couple extra gas cans and fill them up... just in case.  
  2. Propane Grill + and Extra Propane Tank.  Many home owners do not have a grill, or they have just 1 propane tank.  I like the 2 tank system so I always have an extra full tank.  Stop by any Gate gas station, and pick up an extra tank and/or buy a grill if you don't have one.  Here is a link to all the Weber Grills, and we prefer stainless steel so it'll last longer in our Florida environment:  Weber Grills.
  3. Chainsaw.  So you may never need it, but you'll be the 1 person that has one.  Dangerous:  Yes, so you'll need to take appropriate precautions... like don't be an idiot, and wear protective clothing, etc.   I'm amazed at how often I use my chainsaw for my own property or that of neighbors or friends.  Here is a link to Stihl Chainsaws.  Note:  You can also call any tree guys, and we like Whole 9 Yards Outdoor.  
  4. Weather Radio.  No brainer here, but most don't have one.  Just check Amazon.
  5. Hand Crank Phone Charger.  Can you sit in your car and charge your phone:  Yes.  However, you may not want to access your car during a storm, so having a hand crank generator / charger is a great tool to have in your kit.  They are small and relatively inexpensive. 
  6. BIG Extreme Cooler.  If you don't have a generator, and you have a refrigerator full of perishables (we all do), you'll need to pack a big cooler if you plan on power outages.  Realistically, a well packed cooler can keep for a day or two.  There are options for super high end coolers than guarantee cold for multiple days, like a Yeti Cooler.  Not necessarily needed, but there are competing brands that offer similar performance for a fraction of the cost.
  7. Twitter account.  No time like the present to sign up for Twitter.  You can follow our local news stations, the city of Jacksonville, the Mayor, the Weather Channel, etc, and the news feed is about as good as it gets for speed of info.  You'll also see many local residents sharing info about storms, pics, etc. by using hashtags also known as a number sign #.  
  8. Better Snacks / Beverages.  We'll be playing cards, board games, having some chips and salsa among other snacks and I'm sure having a few adult beverages.  There is nothing worse than being locked in for 24 hours with everything closed and your snack and beverage selections are pitiful.  Stock up!