Evacuation kit: What to take?

PINELLAS COUNTY — If you are evacuating to a public shelter, pack your essentials but pack light as space is limited. It is possible you may only have a space that measures 5 feet by 2 feet. Remember, a public shelter is not a cruise ship; it is a life boat with the mission to save lives.

One of the most important things to include in your emergency survival kit is your prescription medications. But, what happens when an emergency is declared and your insurance company claims it is too early for you to get a refill?

In 2006, the Legislature passed the Emergency Prescription Refill bill (Florida Statute 252.358 and 462.0275). This law requires all insurers and managed-care organizations to suspend refill-too-soon restrictions when a patient seeks a refill in a county:

  • Currently under a hurricane warning issued by the National Weather Service
  • Declared to be under a state of emergency in an executive order issued by the Governor
  • Has activated its Emergency Operations Center and its emergency management plan

This law also allows patients outside of these areas to get an emergency 72-hour refill if the pharmacist is unable to readily obtain refill authorization from the doctor. Please talk with your doctor and pharmacist now about how this new law can affect your prescriptions.

In addition to having a supply of your medications on hand, keep a list of each one you take, including the name of the doctor who wrote the prescription, the name of the drug, dosage instructions and the name of the pharmacy where you had it filled.

Suggested items for a “Go Bag”

  • Medications and copies of prescriptions
  • Nonperishable food
  • Special dietary food that is nonperishable
  • Several gallons of drinking water to keep in your vehicle. A minimum of one gallon per person.
  • Bedding for a small space
  • Infant or child necessities (wipes, diapers, bottles)
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Change of clothes
  • Eyeglasses
  • Quiet games, toys or reading materials
  • Important papers and valid ID
  • Cash and a phone list

If you are evacuating to stay with friends or relatives or in a Host Home Take your “Go Bag” and ask in advance what kind of space you’ll have for your possessions and vehicles.

Prepare your home to leave

Regardless of where you are evacuating, before you leave your home, be sure to do the following:

  • Take your valuables and important papers with you
  • Turn off all utilities (water, electricity, gas) at the main switch
  • Lock windows and doors
  • Fill your gas tank
  • Advise friends or relatives of where you are going

For more information, log on to https://bit.ly/hurricanedocs

Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center Department of Emergency Management – 727-464-3800

During an emergency activation, call the Citizen Information Center at (727) 464-4333.

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