Hurricane guide: Plan for what to do as Hurricane Irma closes in

As hurricane Irma becomes the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded it’s important to note the catastrophic damage it can cause. Irma’s winds are currently sustained just under 180 miles per hour and cause tornadoes as a result. Additionally, it’s important to be attentive of storm surge warnings and to be aware of the damage heavy rain fall and flooding can cause.

While Irma is predicted to make landfall early Sunday morning there are three important steps that one should take prior to the storm: stay informed, formulate a plan and prepare. Below is a comprehensive guide and resources on how to be hurricane ready.

Stay informed

With the storm quickly approaching you’ll need to know if you should leave town or evacuate to a shelter. Know your county’s evacuation routes, shelters and know your risk. Do you live in a flood zone? Study up in advance and keep yourself up to date on advisories from reputable news sources. Here are some ways to stay in the know:

Recently FIU made some updates to its Spanish language hurricane website. The goal of the website is to provide a resource to the Spanish speaking community and enable them to be better prepared and better educated for hurricanes.

The most notable of the updates is the new live feed, which provides up to the minute information and images from the National Hurricane Center.

Scroll over the popups on the image below to reveal updates made to

Formulate a plan

You and your family should have a communications plan in place. Establish ways of contacting one another if separated and practice executing this plan a few days prior to the hurricane. Here are some tips on what your plan should include:

Have a disaster kit ready

You should begin packing your disaster kit immediately. A disaster preparedness kit includes everything you might need in case of an emergency. Be sure to have enough supplies for a minimum of three days. Additionally, persons with disabilities or elderly people may require different kits. Be conscious of any health conditions and pack accordingly. Also, remember to pack for your pets. This list includes some items you can include in your own disaster kit:

  • Cash, important papers and a list of important telephone numbers
  • Food and water
  • Flashlight, batteries, crank or battery powered radio, chargers and an analog phone (if you have a functioning phone jack)
  • First aid kit
  • Closed shoes and clean clothes
  • Bug repellant
  • Disposable plates, utensils etc
  • Baby wipes and hygiene products
  • Prescription medication, eye glasses, contacts
  • Playing cards, coloring books, board games or a good book for entertainment

More kit ideas can be found at, and City of Miami hurricane supply list.

FIU’s Department of Emergency Management has some additional “insider tips” for hurricane preparation:

  • Do laundry.
  • Change your sheets.
  • Charge all electronics and portable chargers ahead of time.
  • Back up your computer to the cloud or jump drive.
  • Cook your perishable foods.
  • Download The Healthy Hurricane Disaster Cookbook for ideas on how to make nutritious meals with your canned goods.