Indian River County Hurricane Resources

Indian River County hurricane resources are available for locals who need help preparing for the storms ahead. As hurricane season starts, Florida residents prepare for the possibility of a very active season. Hurricanes can be unpredictable and cause terrible damage, so preparing before the season starts is essential.

During past hurricanes, Indian River County residents have gone without many conveniences during the storm. Power, water, sewer, and access to local businesses may be disrupted for days or weeks after a hurricane has hit the area. Additionally, access to food through grocery stores and restaurants may not be an option until other service disruptions are remedied. For this reason, being prepared and self-reliant is critical. Below are Indian River County hurricane resources and tips to help you prepare for the season.

florida hurricane evacuation sign

What Should You Do Before the Storm Arrives?

Create a disaster plan before the hurricane’s arrival. You can use maps on the Indian River County’s government website to know if you live in a potential evacuation zone. If you need to evacuate, plan where you’ll go and how you’ll secure your home.

You should also inventory your possessions and property before the storm’s arrival and ensure that everything around the home is in good condition. For example, you may need to trim trees or clean the gutter to prevent damage from fallen tree limbs or flooding. All items around the home should be cleared away, such as lawn furniture and potted plants; otherwise, they will become airborne debris during the hurricane.

Even if you have hurricane-impact windows and doors, you can take extra precautions to protect the glass in your home by covering it with plywood or shuttered coverings. Locals living in a flood zone should elevate all electronics and other valuable items off the floor before the storm arrives. If you already have a disaster supply kit, inventory it and replenish and replace any expired or outdated supplies.

Assemble a Disaster Supply Kit before the Hurricane Arrives

Your disaster supply kit should contain many essential items to keep your family safe during the storm. Indian River County officials first recommend having a battery-powered radio or television. Communication is essential, and a TV or radio will keep you updated with the latest information from local officials and weather experts regarding the path of a storm and the precautions they should take.

first aid kit

Although FEMA recommends a three-day supply of non-perishable food, Indian River County asks that residents have at least a seven-day supply.  Each family member should have at least one gallon of water stored away for each day. Other essentials in an emergency disaster supply kit should include flashlights, batteries, matches, a two-week supply of medications, bug repellent, a whistle, toilet paper, paper towels, and a garbage can with plastic trash bags. Household bleach and cleaning supplies can be helpful in post-disaster cleanup.

You should also carry personal items such as credit cards, cash, ID, and extra car keys. Cash is critical during a storm, as banks and stores will have difficulty operating if there are power outages. Additionally, fill up your vehicle’s tank because gas pumps can’t operate without electricity.

flashlights

A to-go bag should be packed in the event an evacuation is necessary. Your to-go bag should contain pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, clothes, shoes, personal hygiene items, and comfort items such as books or quiet games. The Indian River County recommended disaster supply kit is helpful in any emergency, so every Florida home should be equipped with one, even when hurricane season is not active.

Check Your Insurance Policies and Consider Flood Insurance

Local officials also recommend reviewing your homeowner’s insurance policy and purchasing additional flood insurance, if necessary. Flooding is often not covered under insurance policies. Yet, storm surges and flooding are frequently responsible for billions of dollars in property damage. Most people are concerned about potential storm surges, but inland flooding has caused more deaths in the last several decades than storm surges. If you live in or near a flood zone, it’s vital to have flood insurance in addition to your standard homeowners insurance.

Indian River County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The program works with the Federal Government to make insurance affordable. A flood insurance policy takes 30 days to go into effect, so purchasing a policy as early as possible is wise.

Indian River County Hurricane Matthew

Evacuation Zones in Indian River County

There are three primary evacuation zones in Indian River County. Zone A is most prone to hurricane damage, followed by Zones B and C. Zone A includes the barrier island and all the mobile and manufactured home communities. Zone B entails all areas East of US Highway 1. Zone C includes people who live in the Sebastian River Area. To determine your zone, visit the Indian River County Maps and Applications website and scroll to FEMA Flood Zones or Storm Surge Zones for more information.

Evacuating to a Shelter in Indian River County

Most shelters in Indian River County are located in elementary, middle, and high schools. A special needs shelter is available for residents with medical needs. The special needs shelter is at Treasure Coast Elementary at 8955 85th St, Sebastian, Florida. The fire department, health department, and the Indian River County School District operate the special needs shelter. Residents must first fill out an application to register for a special needs shelter. For more information on the shelter, call 772-226-3900. Applications are required because medical staff must review the application to determine if you should stay at the shelter or be referred to a local hospital that can better meet your needs. Indian River County can also help with transportation assistance to shelters.

indian river county evacuation zones

Pet-friendly shelters are also available to local pet owners who need help. The pet-friendly shelter is at Liberty Magnet School at 6850 81st Street, Vero Beach, Florida. The Humane Society of Vero Beach helps manage the pet-friendly shelter. To qualify for entry into a pet-friendly shelter, evacuees must reside in a mandatory evacuation area and bring an animal crate and proof of pet vaccination records. The space in the pet-friendly shelter is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If an evacuation is mandatory, check out the evacuation routes pictured above; it may take time before residents are given an all-clear to return home. Local officials will assess the safety of roads and infrastructure before giving an all-clear. Hazards like downed power lines and search and rescue missions must be completed before people are allowed to return to the area. During this time, access to the barrier island will be restricted until an assessment determines that the area is safe for reentry.

Things You Shouldn’t Do After a Hurricane

Certain things should be avoided after a storm has passed. For example, if power is out and you use a generator, ensure it remains outdoors, a safe distance from the home, and in a well-ventilated area. Don’t connect generators to your home’s wiring; this can create a dangerous ‘backfeed.’ When refueling a generator, make sure that it’s turned off.

You should also avoid using candles; stick to flashlights instead. Avoid driving and using your phone unless necessary. If you see standing water, don’t wade or play in it. Snakes, crocodiles, and other hazardous materials could be in the water. It isn’t uncommon for alligators, snakes, and other animals to seek higher ground in flooded areas, so stay aware of your surroundings to stay safe.

Indian River County Hurricane Dorian Update

Contact Indian River County During Hurricane Season

Residents can contact local officials in multiple ways if they need help. The Indian River County Emergency Management office can be reached at 772-226-3900. Residents can also visit www.ircgov.com/emergencyservices for help. The main radio station that broadcasts hurricane information is WSCF-FM (91.9). Residents can also contact the station by phone at  772-569-0919.

Several local television stations will also have relevant and up-to-date information regarding the storm. These stations include WPTV (NBC) Channel 5,  (CBS) Channel 12, and The Weather Channel (Cable Channel 27). The National Hurricane Center will also issue storm advisories. The center will provide accurate watch and warning information, and advisories are issued at 5 AM, 11 AM, 5 PM, and 10:30 PM Eastern Time. Current information can also be accessed through weather and safety alerts. To receive alerts, residents should register at www.ircgov.com/emergencyservices

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