Severe Weather Preparedness

Congressman Gaetz gives an update on the response to Hurricane Sally and explains what the state and federal governments' response will be over the next few days.



General Prepardness Tips for Severe Weather


Get a Game Plan

The following are web sites and contact information for various federal and state agencies:


Top Tips to Be Prepared:

  • Make plans to protect your property such as storm shutters or plywood for windows. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking. Bring things indoors including lawn furniture, toys, trash cans or anything that could fly through a window.
  • Learn evacuation routes and contraflow procedures. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you need to evacuate. Florida Disaster - Division of Emergency Management - Evacuation Zones designated by counties.
  • Gather personal documents, including Social Security cards, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, etc. Make a record of these documents and all valuable possessions.
  • Keep your automobile fully fueled; if electric power is cut off, gas stations may not be able to operate pumps for several days.
  • Be prepared to survive on your own for a few days. Assemble a disaster kit. Include a battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, blankets, clothing, food and water, prescription medications and medical supplies.
  • Talk to your family about the dangers hurricanes can present. Plan a centralized meeting place for your family in case you are separated from one another. Choose an out of state family member or friend for everyone to contact and check in with.
  • If you are receiving Social Security or Veterans Benefits make sure you have direct deposit. This will ensure you receive all of your benefits if you have to evacuate. The Social Security Administration's telephone number is 1-800-772-1213 or visit their website. The Veterans Administration's telephone number is 1-877-222-8387 or visit their website.
  • Know how to shut off utilities. Know where gas pilots are located and how the heating and air-conditioning system works. If you have any questions, contact your local utility company.


During storm season, it is important to pay attention to updates from the local media outlets. Also, contact my office with any needs or concerns you may have. If any of our district offices are ever required to evacuate, you can always reach my staff in our Washington, D.C. office at (202)-225-4136.

Important Contacts

Escambia County

Holmes County

Okaloosa County

Santa Rosa County

Walton County



Federal Emergency Management Agency

Disability Disaster Information

Pet Rescue/Triage

U.S. Small Business Administration

Open Shelters

Congressman Gaetz Congressional Offices in Florida:

  • Pensacola Office: (850) 479-1183 226 S. Palafox Place, 6th FloorPensacola, FL 32502
  • Fort Walton Beach Office: Phone: (850) 479-1183 | Fax: (850) 479-9394 *Call for an appointment* 1170 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Bldg. 4, Rm 454 Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547


Important emergency preparedness Twitter handles to follow:



Every hurricane underscores the critical importance of preparedness. Hurricane season always poses a threat to coastal areas, and it is crucial to be prepared before disaster strikes.


The best preparation involves planning long before a storm threat emerges. Many people wait until the day before to buy supplies, but by that time, stores are frequently out of necessities. It is worthwhile to prepare ahead of time, and get supplies before a storm is imminent. Necessities include non-perishable and non-frozen food, bottled water, a first aid kit, and a flashlight. Batteries and a backup generator will help if you lose power for an extended period of time.

While staying inside your home is usually recommended during weaker hurricanes, in the event of a powerful hurricane, it may not be your safest option. Many websites provide information about evacuation plans and routes, and it is important to have this information in advance, in case conditions require action. Print out a copy of evacuation routes, as a storm may hinder your ability to connect to the internet.

The website is very useful, and has preparation tips and up-to-date evacuation maps for every county in the state. Similarly, provides a great deal of information about current and future storms, including forecasts, radar, and more.

Finally, it is important to protect your property in the event of an imminent hurricane. Make copies of important documents and back up your electronic data. Survey the exterior of your house, and make sure there is no present damage. The water and wind of a storm can greatly worsen pre-existing damage, causing major structural damage. Make sure all gates and doors are securely locked, to lessen the chance of the wind ripping them from their hinges.

Most importantly, have a discussion with your friends and your loved ones, to make sure they are prepared, too.

Each hurricane season has the potential to be dangerous to our district. Good preparation will help keep you and your family as safe as possible.