Your Guide to Preparing for Hurricane Season

Posted June 17, 2024

The 2024 hurricane season officially began on June 1st and runs through November 30th. It’s essential to prepare adequately to ensure your safety and that of your loved ones. Proper preparation can minimize the risks and help you stay calm during a hurricane or other disaster. With the National Hurricane Center’s forecast looking to be above average again this year, we’re here to assist with your hurricane preparedness plan so you feel as ready as you can be for whatever this hurricane season brings. 

United Way serves as one of Palm Beach County’s key partners before, during, and after hurricanes and other disasters. Below are our preparation recommendations and other helpful resources for you to review. We hope you’re able to use this information to plan for all circumstances that may occur.

1. Disaster Supply Kit

We encourage you to build a disaster supply kit in your home to maintain you and your family for at least seven days. Our top 12 items include:

  1. 1 gallon of water per person per day (pets too!)
  2. Canned foods and can opener
  3. Prescriptions and over-the-counter medicine
  4. Battery-powered radio or hand crank radio
  5. Flashlights
  6. Extra batteries
  7. Personal hygiene supplies
  8. Books and board games (keep everyone occupied — especially kids)
  9. Baby food, formula, and diapers
  10.  Pet food
  11.  Paper products and plastic utensils
  12.  Cash

Check out this handy supply kit in a bucket. Compare your kit to this picture created by our Disaster Response Team, and make sure you have everything you need.

Another part of your kit should include important documents and special items. These include identification, medical insurance cards, home/renters/flood insurance policies, birth certificates, a list of medications, copies of legal documents, pictures and other family memorabilia, and photographs of the house and property for insurance reasons. Having these documents in a waterproof container would be ideal.

2. Generator

If you own a home and have the means to purchase a generator, consider investing in one. Some HOAs and communities have regulations on generators, so be sure to check before purchasing. This may not be a feasible option for everyone, so keep reading for other ways to help your family get prepared.

3. Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

Take advantage of the Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday happening from August 24th to September 6th, 2024, and purchase qualifying supplies exempt from tax. It’s the perfect time to stock up on hurricane season essentials, such as batteries, food storage coolers, fire extinguishers, and more. Read the complete list of eligible items here.

4. Prepare your Hurricane Snacks

Do you have enough non-perishable food for your family for seven days? Shop for snacks and easy-to-prepare food in case you experience significant power outages from a storm. Canned tuna and chicken are easy, protein-filled items to have on hand.

5. Sign up for Palm Beach County Alerts

AlertPBC is Palm Beach County’s Emergency Notification System that allows you to opt in to receive notifications via phone calls, text messages, email, and more. Notifications can be issued for potential safety hazards or concerns in as many cities as you would like updates on. Sign up here to be enrolled in AlertPBC and ensure you receive accurate, updated information from a trustworthy source. Our partners at the county are hurricane season professionals and are dedicated to keeping everyone in Palm Beach County safe and informed.

6. Know Your Zone and Make an Evacuation Plan

At United Way, we are dedicated to helping everyone in our community have access to basic needs, especially during hurricane season. Part of our role in disaster response is to help our community get prepared ahead of time for hurricane season and truly any disaster. The reality is that nearly half of the households in our community (a whopping 47%) can’t afford a $400 emergency. It’s important for you and your family to make a plan ahead of a storm.

Double-check your zone and decide where you would plan to evacuate if you are in an evacuation zone. Find the map located here to see what zone your house is in for any evacuation notices. You can also check for the closest shelter to you at the bottom of the map.

7. Flood Insurance

Our recommendation is to become familiar with your family’s flood insurance support, whatever it may be. Three things to keep in mind: 1) See if your house is located in a flood zone. 2) Check your current insurance policy to confirm if you’re paying for flood insurance and if there are any stipulations around it. 3) Explore your options for flood insurance and make a well-informed decision that is best for you.

8. Stay Informed

Dial 2-1-1 from any phone to reach a compassionate, trained call specialist 24/7/365 who has access to real-time information on shelters, evacuation routes, and more. Our 2-1-1 call specialists can also help you find food, meal sites, water, and other recovery and rebuilding resources after a disaster.

9. Useful Emergency Contacts

  • Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control: 561-233-1200
  • Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office: 561-688-3000 (For specific PBC communities, click here)
  • Florida Division of Emergency Management: 850-815-4000
  • Department of Financial Services Claim Hotline: 877-693-5236
  • National Flood Insurance: 800-427-4661
  • Poison Control: 800-222-1222

10. Volunteer

The last thing to do is consider becoming a United Way Disaster Response volunteer! Sign up here if you’re interested in volunteer opportunities for our post-hurricane recovery work. That might mean answering phone calls for donations or helping clear debris (when it is safe to do so, of course!). We would love for you to join us if we need to rally together to respond to our neighbors in need.

Fundraisers & Events

View All

Get Involved with United Way

United Way offers many ways to give back and help build a stronger community!