It’s hurricane season; do you have an evacuation plan?

Last year, millions of Floridians spent many hours in their cars, stuck in traffic as they evacuated in advance of Hurricane Irma. Preparing an evacuation plan now may help you save time and money later this summer if an evacuation is ordered. Don’t wait till a storm is forecast to start getting ready. Take action now.

Know your zone:

Find out if your home is in an evacuation zone. If you live in such a zone, learn about evacuation routes before a storm is forecast. Practicing evacuating in your car with all family members, including pets, will make everyone more comfortable if you need to leave in an emergency. The Florida Division of Emergency Management’s Know Your Zone webpage has a map of hurricane evacuation zones. Your local emergency management office may have additional information on evacuation routes.

Know your destination:

During hurricane season, monitor local news. If local officials issue an evacuation order, evacuate. You don’t have to drive hundreds of miles to be safe from a hurricane. It may be possible to go to the home of friends or family in a safe, inland location that is not too far away. There may be a motel or hotel nearby where you can seek shelter. Making plans now for where you will stay if ordered to evacuate will provide peace of mind later.

Know before you go:

Want to know what the traffic is like? Call 511, the Florida Department of Transportation’s hotline. Callers can ask for the latest traffic information for major highways and individual counties. Information is available online at https://fl511.com/

The Florida Highway Patrol also has a website that updates road conditions every five minutes.

Traffic congestion and delays are likely. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and that you know your destination and how to get there before setting out.

Bring an emergency kit that includes a NOAA weather radio and batteries, flashlight and batteries, bottled water, non-perishable food, can opener, and clothes. Bring medications and copies of prescriptions, spare pair of eye glasses and any special products for babies, elderly and medically fragile family members and pets.

Hurricane guides published by many newspapers and county emergency management offices are a good one-stop resource for Floridians. Ready.gov has more tips to help you prepare for hurricane season.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.