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FEMA Wilma

Hurricane Preparedness and Safety by FEMA

Homeland Security Urges Preparedness As Hurricane Wilma Tracks Toward Florida

Release Date: October 18, 2005
Release Number: HQ-05-339

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Hurricane Wilma intensifies and heads toward the western Florida coastline, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency is urging residents in Florida to pay close attention to the storm’s progress and to the directives of state and local officials. Preparations should be made now.

“We urge the public to take this storm seriously and to listen to state and local authorities for instructions,” said R. David Paulison, acting Director for FEMA. “FEMA and the entire federal government stand ready to assist state and local authorities. We encourage residents in Florida to take the necessary precautions in preparation for this storm and to assemble their personal supply kits.”

Following is a list of actions that individuals should undertake and supplies to gather before Wilma’s anticipated landfall.

Before a Hurricane Strikes:
Plan a safe evacuation route and identify safe shelter space within your area. Those in storm surge zones, in flood zones, or in less than standard housing should be especially vigilant in preparing disaster plans.

Have disaster supplies on hand, including:
Flashlight, portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries
First-aid kit
Emergency food and water (including a non-electric can opener)
Essential medicines
Cash and credit cards
Sturdy shoes and a change of clothing
Copies of important papers (bank statements, insurance records, deeds, etc.)

When a Hurricane Watch or Warning is Issued:
Listen to hurricane progress reports. Follow instructions if ordered to evacuate.
Check your emergency supplies. Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles and available cooking pots.
Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools; anchor objects that cannot be brought inside but that could be wind-tossed.
Secure your home by installing hurricane shutters or precut plywood.
Trim dead branches from trees.
Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings if not instructed by officials to turn off utilities.
Fuel your car. Review evacuation routes and gather your disaster supply kit.
Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container.
Review your family disaster plan.

If You Are Told To Evacuate:
If officials order evacuation, leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.
Secure your home. Unplug appliances and turn off electricity and the main water valve. If time permits, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding or move it to a higher floor.
Take your pre-assembled emergency supplies and warm, protective clothing.
For more information on emergency preparedness, please visit

FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.

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