Florida Department of Emergency Management adds new items to hurricane supply list due to COVID-19

Preparing for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is different than any other year, as Florida residents must keep COVID-19 in mind. 

With a potential tropical storm heading towards the Sunshine State, residents are scrambling to purchase all the items on the state's recommended supply list. 

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A few items have actually been added to the Florida Department of Emergency Management's supply list and they are all pandemic related. For example, they advise that people buy face masks, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer.

Other items on the list include:

  • A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
  • Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Cloth face coverings (for everyone ages 2 and above), soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces
  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

The Florida Department of Emergency Management advises that you purchase enough supplies to last 10 days for each member of your household. 

“It’s a different world this hurricane season. We want to make sure people are aware of all these different aspects,” Florida Department of Health, Orange County’s spokesperson Kent Donahue said.  “Think ahead. Think more than you think you’ll need."

They also said to store your supplies properly by:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers.
  • Replace expired items as needed.
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Orange County’s Division Chief of Emergency Management told FOX 35 Orlando that you also need to get your evacuation plan in place in case Central Florida gets hit with a storm.

“We’re asking this year, can they shelter in place? If they can’t shelter in place we want to make sure they have a family plan, or stay with a friend,” Chief Lauraleigh Avery said. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re asking that emergency shelters be your last resort.

RELATED: Latest path of potential tropical storm shifts east, putting center directly over Florida

“The social distancing that we have to maintain to protect all of our public and the people coming to these shelters is going to mean that less people are allowed in each shelter,” Chief Avery explained. She says 39 schools will be ready to open as shelters if need be.

Chief Avery also asked that those who need special needs shelters sign up in advance, stating that "that way if we have a storm coming this way, we have direct contact with them to make sure that we can assist with getting them to a shelter.”

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