During a Disaster

Before a Disaster | During a Disaster | After a Disaster


  • Keep calm and take time to think.
  • Give assistance where needed and when it is safe to do so.
  • Listen to your radio or television for instructions.
  • Use the telephone for emergency calls only.
  • If you are not required to evacuate, prepare a safe room and stay off the roads to enable evacuation traffic.
  • Stay inside and away from windows, skylights and glass doors.  Find a safe area in your facility (an interior, reinforced room, closet or bathroom on the lower floor) if the storm becomes severe.
  • If you are ordered to evacuate, take your emergency kit and follow official directions to a safe place or temporary shelter.
  • If you are ordered to shelter in place, do so immediately and do not go outside until you are told it is safe.
  • If your business loses power, turn off major appliances to reduce damage.


Flood Safety

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Three fourths of all presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding. In most years it causes more damage than any other severe weather related event. Although many floods are caused by huge storms like hurricanes, more floods occur every day and can result from small, localized events, such as a typical afternoon thunderstorm.

Unfortunately, most flood fatalities are not due to limitations in the forecast system. All too often, people in vehicles literally drive into harm’s way. As little as 2 feet of water can float an average car. While it may appear that water is not deep enough to cause problems, there is almost no way of knowing if the roadbed itself has been eroded or undermined.

Flood Safety Tips:


  • Know what low lying areas near your business are subject to flooding.
  • Do not try to walk or drive through flooded areas.
  • Stay away from moving water. Moving water 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet.
  • Evacuate if advised or if you feel threatened.
  • If you have time, turn off all utilities at the main switch and move all valuables to a higher floor.
  • If you’re caught by suddenly rising waters, move to the second floor and/or the roof.
  • Monitor radio and TV for current information. Keep your disaster kit handy.
  • Stay away from flooded areas.
  • When floodwaters recede, watch for weakened surfaces.
  • Keep away from downed power lines, especially near water.
  • Monitor radio and TV for current information. If you evacuated your business, return only when authorities advise that it is safe.
  • Call your insurance agent. Have your policy and list of valuables handy to simplify the adjuster’s work.
  • When it is safe to return, be sure your business is not in danger of collapsing before entering. Open windows and doors to let air circulate.
  • Take photos to record the damage.
  • Throw out perishable foods; hose down appliances and furniture, even if they have been destroyed. You need to keep these for the adjuster’s inspection.
  • Shovel out mud while it is still wet.
  • Have your water tested before using.
  • Wear gloves and boots when cleaning.
  • Make any temporary repairs necessary to stop further losses from the elements and to prevent looting.


Tornado Safety

Florida has two tornado seasons. The summer season, from June until September has the highest frequencies with usual intensities of EF0 or EF1 on the Fujita Scale. This includes those tornadoes that form from landfalling tropical cyclones.

The deadly spring season, from February through April, is characterized by more powerful tornadoes. When the jet stream digs south into Florida and is accompanied by a strong cold front and a strong squall line of thunderstorms, the jet stream’s high level winds of 100 to 200 mph often strengthen a thunderstorm into what meteorologists call a supercell or mesocyclone. These powerful storms can move at speeds of 30 to 50 mph and produce dangerous downburst winds, large hail and the most deadly tornadoes.

Be sure to have a NOAA Weather Radio in your office with a tone alert feature. This will allow you to receive warnings issued by your local National Weather Service office.

Learn These Tornado Danger Signs:

  • An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if its funnel is not visible.
  • Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.
  • Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

What to do During a Tornado:

  • Go to an interior or basement room on the lowest level of your business.
  • In a large building (school, hospital, etc.) go to a pre-designated shelter area or interior hall on lowest level.
  • Get under a sturdy desk or furniture if possible; use arms and hands to protect head.

What to do After a Tornado:

  • Call 9-1-1 to report damage and injuries.
  • Be aware of debris and downed power lines.
  • Monitor radio and TV for current information.
  • Check employees for injuries; move injured only if necessary.

If You're Outside:

  • Lie flat in a nearby ditch or the lowest lying area and cover your head with your hands.
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes the most fatalities and injuries.