Prepare myself before the storm

It is the responsibility of each person to prepare him or herself long before a hurricane arrives. These resources are available to help you. Some are government or non-profit groups whose services are free. Others are commercial organizations who sell things. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Brandon Florida Stake leadership do not endorse other organizations or guarantee the accuracy of their websites.

8 step preparedness plan

Download the 8 step preparedness plan developed by the Brandon Florida Stake

Dedicate a family council to create a customized Family Emergency Plan.

  • A Family Emergency Plan includes:
    emergency meeting places (including evacuation site); important phone numbers; contacts (out of town family); personal information (name, address, mobile phone #s, email, ssn, insurance information, medications, physicians numbers, hospital numbers; family members living at home (and their personal information) and animals. Home/visiting teacher/EQ/RS/ HP/ Bishop’s contact information. Location of 72 hour kits and other things to take in case of evacuation.
  • Copy the Family Emergency Plan (laminating it is a good idea) and have copies for each person, their cars and school/work/business.
  • Obtain NOAA Extreme Weather information sheet (updated each year) for West Central Florida. It has stake, county and national phone numbers and web sites for Emergency Management, police, sheriff, weather, radio stations and 511 (road and traffic information). Make copies, laminate, distribute as part of the Family Emergency Plan.

General preparedness websites - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - US Federal government Department of Homeland Security - Florida Department of Emergency Management

Hurricane Information  - Hillsborough County Emergency Management

Hurricane Preparedness - NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Plan Ahead Guide - FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency

Hurricane Guide - MyFoxTampaBay

Hurricane Guide -

Tornado preparation (hurricanes often spawn tornadoes)

Tornado Preparedness - NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Evacuation maps and shelter information

CAUTION: The church building should not be your primary evacuation destination but only a shelter of last resort. A few church buildings are rated sufficiently strong to function as hurricane shelters. However, the buildings are not stocked with food or water or supplies, could be without electricity or air conditioning, and have very limited space and bathrooms. Make other evacuation plans well in advance of a storm.

Interactive map for evacuation and shelters - Hillsborough County government

Download maps for evacuation and shelter (English or Spanish) - Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council

Online map for evacuation and shelters -

Download evacuation map - MyFoxTampaBay

Evacuating people with special needs - Hillsborough County Emergency Management

Evacuating people with Alzheimers
- Alzheimer's Services

72-hour kits and other hurricane supplies

Build a 72-hour kit guide - Food Storage Made Easy blog

Build a 72-hour kit guide - The American Homemaker blog

Purchase a complete 72-hour kit and other supplies - Emergency Essentials

MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) from Sure-Pak - Meyers Custom Supply 

MRE video overview - Sure-Pak

12-hour green light glow sticks from Cyalume Technologies - ExtremeGlow

Hand-crank radios overview - Punch Mag

Hand-crank radios for sale - NexTag

First aid kits

Build your own personal first aid kit - includes links to useful first aid-related web sites

Protecting your legal documents, photos, computer data

Four steps to safeguarding your memories:

1.    Prioritize your photos by having each family member collect their 20 favorite photos to start with. Often the most valued photos are already framed on the wall.

2.    Keep photos safe for now by gathering all photos into one sturdy, watertight container until you have time to scan them. Label the container “Take this when evacuating” so you’ll have them handy if a storm comes first.

3.    Scan the photos at the highest quality possible. Today’s “high” quality will seem like low quality in five years, and computer storage space is inexpensive today. If you don’t have a scanner, you can hire a company to scan for you.

4.    Make a backup and store it off-site. Many people back up their computers monthly, but a weekly backup is better. Store a copy of your backup at a trusted friend’s house. A disaster might impact both houses but hopefully one backup will survive.

In addition to photos, important documents (sometimes sentimental, sometimes legal) might be impossible to replace if damaged by a hurricane. Follow the same four steps as with photos.

If you are concerned about privacy, you can use special software to encrypt your photos and documents to prevent unauthorized access. However, that software risks you yourself having trouble when you later try to access your photos or documents. It is often sufficient to store your off-site backup at a trusted friend’s house and ensure that both you and your friend store the backups securely.

Make a home inventory video or photos of all your valuables for insurance purposes - State Farm Insurance

Scan all your important documents into digital form - blog

Gather all your most important hardcopy documents into a central binder - Food Storage Made Easy blog

Computer backup (your most important documents) in a secure location FOR FREE

Computer backup (entire computer including photos, music, etc.) in a secure location for a small monthly cost

Volunteers who offer ideas and advice to Stake members

These volunteers offer their time to answer your questions about hurricane preparedness. Find the person's name under your desired category, then click here to find the person's email or phone number on the Stake membership directory. You may contact these people directly. Please be respectful of their time.

72-hour kits
        (click to volunteer to answer questions on this topic)

Water storage
        - Mr. Julius sells used barrels in which you can store water (863-679-9040)
        (click to volunteer)

Durable, no-batteries-required lighting (light sticks, no-battery shake lights, etc.)
        (click to volunteer)

Lanterns and battery flashlights
        (click to volunteer)

Electrical generators
        (click to volunteer)

MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)
        (click to volunteer)

Shutters, bracing, and other house-strengthening methods
        (click to volunteer)

After-storm repairs to roofs, windows, etc. (tarps, repairing shingles, etc.)
        - Contact your home teacher
        (click to volunteer)

Before-storm yard preparation
        (click to volunteer)

Pet care, including evacuation to a shelter
        (click to volunteer)

People with special needs, including evacuation to a shelter
        (click to volunteer)

Hand-crank radios, mobile phone power, and other electronics
        (click to volunteer)

Scanning of legal and other important documents
        (click to volunteer)

Medical first aid kits and lessons
        (click to volunteer)

Making a home inventory of valuables for insurance purposes
        (click to volunteer)

Backing up your computer data to online site

        (click to volunteer)