Because it is not possible to mitigate completely against every hazard that poses a risk, preparedness measures can help to reduce the impact of the remaining hazards by taking certain actions before an emergency event occurs. Preparedness includes plans or other preparations made to save lives and facilitate response and recovery operations.
Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.
- Emergency Alerts
- Emergency Shelters
- Flood Information
- Hurricane Information
- Pet Information
- Polk County Hurricane Expo
- Temperature Extremes and Wildfires
- Weather Monitoring
Make a Plan
Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance: how you will get to a safe place; how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations. Read more about Family Communication during an emergency.
Ready.gov has made it simple for you to make a family emergency plan. View the Family Emergency Plan (FEP) and fill out the sections before printing it or emailing it to your family and friends.
You should also inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time:
- Faith Organizations
- Sports Events
In the event of a disaster, you and your loved ones need a plan. In order to make an informed decision, you need to know your options. So, what are your options...
- Emergency Public Shelters - For more information on Emergency Shelters and a list of available Public Shelters please visit our Emergency Shelters page. Emergency Public Shelters should always be the option of last resort.
- Relocate Out of the Area - You may wish to travel out of harms way. Be sure to bring a road map and make sure that your car is full of fuel. Stay away from major bodies of water. Make arrangements in advance if you can. If you decide to use this option, go early, traffic will be heavy if you leave at the last minute, and you may not make it to your destination.
- Stay Home - Before you choose this option, make sure you know your elevation. If we experience a storm that may put a significant storm surge in your home, you need to look at the other options. Also, people in manufactured and mobile homes cannot use this option. Mobile homes and manufactured homes are not built to withstand the high winds associated with tropical storms and hurricanes.
- Stay With a Friend or Relative Who has a Safe Place - If this is your plan, make arrangements in advance. You need to make sure that where you are going is safe. It defeats the purpose of evacuating if you go to an unsafe place.
Display Your House Numbers Properly
Posting the address numbers on the outside of your home correctly could prevent a delayed response by emergency services and could potentially save the lives of you and your family. View the Address Posting brochure (PDF) to learn more about posting your address numbers properly.
Build a Kit
A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment's notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.
After an Emergency
You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days. Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.