Tropical Storm Idalia: How to prepare, what to include in home emergency kit

Tropical Storm Idalia is making its way across the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to strengthen and become a major hurricane before making landfall over Florida. Where it will ultimately make landfall is still unknown, but either way, people should begin to prepare for the storms impacts, such as strong winds, heavy rain and possible flooding.

Right now, models indicate the storm may make landfall near Florida's Big Bend region, however, the storm's impacts could spread far and wide.

As Florida braces for landfall, here's what you should do to prepare and stay safe, according to the Florida Department of Emergency Management:

Make a plan

Families and businesses should have a pre-defined emergency plan in case of severe weather. Here's how to make a plan, per FDEM:

STEP 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan:

  • How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  • What is my shelter plan?
  • What is my evacuation route?
  • What is my family/household communication plan?

STEP 2: Consider specific needs in your household:

  • As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.

STEP 3: Create an Emergency Plan

STEP 4: Practice your plan with your family/household

Pack an emergency kit

Here are some things you should keep in your emergency kit:

  • Two-week minimum supply of medications
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Cash
  • Cell phone charger
  • Books, games, puzzles, etc.
  • List of important phone numbers
  • Rain gear
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Specialty items for small children, elderly or family members with disabilities
  • First aid kit
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Nonperishable food
  • Water
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Insurance cards
  • Personal documents
  • Spare keys
  • Copy of will
  • Pet food and water to last at least 7 days

See a full checklist below. 

Know Your Zone

Click here for the Know Your Zone map and enter your address to find your evacuation zone. 

  • Know Your Zone - Find if your address is in one of the colored evacuation zones (these are flood zones)
  • If you are in an evacuation zone, listen to evacuation orders from local officials (Typically Zone A is the most vulnerable and the most likely to evacuate first. Zone E is most likely to evacuate last)
  • If an evacuation order is not issued for your area, you may consider sheltering in place. Not all evacuations zones are always ordered.
  • If you shelter in place, it’s important to Know Your Home and its ability to withstand strong winds and heavy rain

Tracking Idalia: See spaghetti models, tracker