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Hurricane Season 2024: What You Need to Know

Health Hub
Author name: Lee Health

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hurricane season graphic

Hurricane preparedness is a lot like preventive healthcare. Your annual exams, screenings, immunizations and more can help prevent health problems or find them early when they’re easiest to treat.

It’s the same with getting ready in advance of hurricane season. This year, national forecasters are predicting “above-normal” hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin year. Whatever the weather brings, preparation remains key when it comes to your health and medical needs. 

The return of La Niña and near-record ocean temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean are among the key drivers of a concerning forecast, experts say. The hurricane season started on June 1 and ends November 30.

First things first: Know the locations of special care shelters 

Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA and President & CEO of Lee Health, says a key component of preparing for hurricane season is determining if you or your loved ones need access to a special care shelter.

“Lee Health hospitals and facilities are not hurricane shelters,” Dr. Antonucci says. “If you or a loved one requires assistance that exceeds services provided at a general population shelter, you must preregister with Lee County Emergency Management.”

To do so, visit the Lee County Special Needs Program. The Special Needs Program is free to Lee County residents. The program provides shelter for people who live in a home and/or area that’s not safe from storm surges or wind and those who have no other safe place to go. It also provides transportation to a shelter for anyone who lacks the means to get there.

Medical supplies, prescriptions, and other essentials

“If a storm is approaching, be sure you have refills of your prescription medications and other essential medical supplies, like oxygen,” Dr. Antonucci says. “Florida law allows pharmacies to fill prescriptions in advance during hurricane warnings.

WATCH HEALTH MATTERS: Medical supplies for a hurricane kit

“Think ahead, too, about preserving refrigerated drugs, like insulin, in case the power goes out – be sure you have enough ice to keep them cool for several days. If you have questions about your drug’s safety following a storm and power outage, contact poison control for assistance.”

If you choose to stay home and use a generator, be sure you know how to use it properly – generators are one of the leading causes of injury and death following a storm, Dr. Antonucci adds.

WATCH HEALTH MATTERS: Careful! Dangers of carbon monoxide from generators

Lee Health Emergency Management Hub can help you prepare

Lee Health’s Emergency Management Hub enables you to stay informed so you can prepare in the event of any disaster, including hurricanes.

You’ll find information and checklists on what to do before, during, and after a natural disaster or public health emergency.

Save money with tax-free hurricane supplies

Save money as you combine your storm kit with the sales tax holiday. Now through June 14, you can buy hurricane supplies like generators, batteries, and even pet food tax-free.

A second tax-free period will begin Aug. 24 and run through Sept. 6. 

For a list of tax-free items, go here.

2024 Hurricane Season: Lee Health Is ‘StormReady’ for You 

Of course, we can’t predict the future, but whatever this hurricane season brings, Lee Health’s StormReady program is ready to help.

The program helps arm our communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property before, during and after an event, according to Tashawna Gaines, Emergency Preparedness Manager for Lee Health. 

“The StormReady program is about preparing for our area’s increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events,” Tashawna says. “All Lee Health hospitals are certified as ‘StormReady’ by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That means Lee Health has met a rigorous set of federal standards that help educate and prepare our communities on how to stay safe in a severe weather event.”

Learn more about Lee Health’s StormReady program here.

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