Hurricane season starts June 1 and ends Nov. 30, and making a hurricane plan ahead of time and stocking up on vital supplies will go a long way toward helping you and your loved ones stay safe in a storm.

Your Collier County Sheriff’s Office offers these basic tips to help you before, during and after a storm:

BEFORE A STORM

Stock up on essential supplies and secure all important documents in an accessible location. Use CCSO’s suggested supply list and make sure to include anything else that may be important for you and your family.

Make sure to take advantage of the 2019 Florida hurricane tax holiday from Friday, May 31, through Thursday, June 6. Necessities such as batteries, flashlights, tarps and portable generators under $750 can be purchased without applying the 7 percent county sales tax.

Click here to review a full listing of eligible items.

Develop a family disaster plan that meets the specific needs of your family by visiting www.floridadisaster.org.

Don’t forget to also develop a pet disaster plan by micro-chipping your pet, keeping current on vaccinations and determining how to keep your pet safe during the storm. Contact Collier County Domestic Animal Services at 239-252-PETS (7387) for more information.

CCSO and Naples Police Department have implemented the Smart911 database that allows citizens to create a secure safety profile of vital personal and household information, including medications, medical conditions and even photographs of each member of the household. Information about family pets can also be entered. The safety profile will be displayed to 911 call-takers immediately when that citizen places an emergency call. This safety profile provides much richer information than is currently available on incoming calls and can contain the specific details that first responders need in order to save lives.

Smart911 is free and 100 percent private and secure. Safety profiles can be created by visiting www.smart911.com.

Click here to view a video on hurricane preparedness.

DURING A STORM

Keep telephone numbers of local emergency responders readily available. The Collier Information Center phone bank will be opened to answer a wide variety of public concerns including shelter, weather updates and disaster recovery information. The public can call 3-1-1 or 239-252-8444. The Sheriff’s Office non-emergency hotline can also be reached at 239-252-9300. Only call 911 if you are faced with an immediate, life-threatening emergency.

CCSO will also provide updates throughout the storm through its website, www.colliersheriff.org; its Facebook page,www.facebook.com/colliersheriff; and its Twitter account, www.twitter.com/colliersheriff. CCSO will also send out push notifications as necessary on its iPhone and Android app, CCSO2go, which is free and available in the iTunes and Google Play app stores.

If you choose to evacuate your home and go to a shelter, it is recommended to bring any prescription medications, drinking water, snacks, bedding (ex: air mattress), entertainment items to help pass the time, and at least one pair of clothing.
Follow local media reports about shelter openings.

A person with specific medical needs can qualify to go to a special needs shelter to ensure they receive any needed treatment during the storm. CCEM maintains a “Person’s With Special Needs” registry. Persons with special needs must register prior to a storm.

AFTER A STORM

If you evacuate, make sure to bring along photo identification (ex: driver’s license) and proof of residency (ex: copy of a utility bill) in the event you may need them to re-enter your home.

Before re-entering your home after evacuation, emergency responders will have to ensure it is safe to return. Please be patient as emergency responders must take debris, flooding and other hazards into consideration.

If your property has endured significant damage requiring repair, make sure to hire licensed contractors. Unlicensed persons may try to solicit business immediately following a storm and will often ask for payments up-front and perform little to no repair work. The Federal Trade Commission works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices. To file a complaint or learn more about contractor fraud, visit www.ftc.gov, or call toll free at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).