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Getting Ready for Hurricane Season

Already we have seen a storm approach as we hit hurricane season. Tropical Storm Danny is the fourth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, though it’s no longer a hurricane. It has yet to hit the US, but it is unlikely it will develop into a hurricane.

This is good news for us in Southwest Florida, aka Hurricane Alley. We are no strangers to hurricanes, although we have had relatively mild hurricane seasons in the past few years. Over the last 9 years, the US hasn’t seen a hurricane higher than a Category 3 (these storms go up to 5). Experts are predicting a 90% chance of a below-normal hurricane season this year (NOAA Climate Prediction Center). This is great news!

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare. It’s always best to be safe, have supplies on hand, and have an escape plan in place. It’s estimated that of the 6-10 named storms for this season, only 1-4 are likely to become hurricanes.

Hurricanes bring with them heavy rains, flooding, and devastating wind. Even if you have been through hurricanes already, you shouldn’t take them lightly. These storms can change strength and course very quickly, giving you little time to prepare.

It’s especially important to ensure that older Americans are well prepared and taken care of in the case of an emergency.

The Red Cross has created a great checklist to help you prepare for a storm. So get ready before another storm approaches.

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Plan for your Pets during Hurricane Season

(Photo credit: Weather Channel iWitness user Debra McCord)

(Photo credit: Weather Channel iWitness user Debra McCord)

It’s hurricane season in Southwest Florida and Just Like Family Home Care has a top notch check list for Seniors when it comes time to prepare for the big storm, but we also don’t want to forget about our four legged friends! At Just Like Family Home Care we know family includes everyone!

When it comes to making plans make sure you include all your family members even your furry loved ones. It’s not unusual for many pets to be abandoned following major hurricanes like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Charley. It is very important to include your animals in your evacuation plan to make sure that they are taken care of.

Counties like Charlotte, Lee, and Collier have emergency shelters for families and their pets but space is often restricted to those in spots where evacuation is mandatory. Experts suggest to have a plan in place for a hurricane with your last resort seeking refuge at a pet friendly shelter.

Preparing for a hurricane is vital for the safety of your family and your pets. Pet owners need to make sure that they have everything they need for a pet friendly shelter when an emergency occurs. Owners need to have their pet’s vaccinations up to date. Remember, it takes a couple of week for most immunizations to become protective.

Owners will need an impact resistant crate that is sufficient size for each pet. As for your pets identification, you must to have your pets’ county licensing tag as well as an ID tag on their collars. As a general guide, pet owners should have a weeks worth of pet food in waterproof containers, a weeks worth of water and a few weeks worth of medications. Other things to consider are a bowl for water, bedding, chew toys, leash, proof of vaccinations, grooming items and a pet first-aid kit.

Click here for more information on Hurricane Preparedness for Your Pets


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The Sunshine State

We’ve made no secret of the fact that we’re proud to call Florida, the Sunshine State home, but let’s be honest: Florida gets overlooked a lot when people talk about interesting histories or facts about states.  Everyone’s too busy focusing on the weather and DisneyWorld!  It might be because although we’re geographically in the American South, Florida is very different culturally from the rest of the South unless you’re talking about the northernmost part of the state.  People don’t know where to place us!  So, in honor of the state we call home, here are 25 interesting facts and historical oddities about our state!

  1. The so-called “Five Flags of Florida” are the flags of the Spanish Empire (flown 1565-1763), the Kingdom of Great Britain (flown 1763-1784), Spain (flown 1784-1821), the Confederate States of America (flown 1861-1865), and the United States of America (flown 1784-1861 and 1865 to present).
  2. Clearwater, FL, is the most lightning-struck (per capita) city in the United States.
  3. Florida is the most visited state in the country, with nearly 80 million visitors every year.
  4. Florida produces more citrus fruit, tomatoes, green peppers, watermelons, sweetcorn and sugar than any other state.
  5. The muckland south of Lake Okeechobee is the largest body of organic soil on Earth.
  6. Lake Okeechobee is actually a massive sink hole, a gigantic indentation in the limestone bedrock of the state.
  7. The longest river sailboat race in the world is the Annual Mug Race, running 42 miles from Palatka, FL to Jacksonville, FL along the St. Johns River.
  8. The official state song, “Old Folks at Home (Suwannee River),” was written by Stephen Foster, who never set foot in Florida, and chose the river because he and his brother saw it on a map and decided it “sounded best.”
  9. Florida produces 75% of America’s oranges, and an absurd 40% of the entire planet’s supply of oranges!
  10. DeFuniak Springs, FL is home to one of the two almost perfectly round natural lakes in the world, Lake DeFuniak.
  11. Plant City, FL holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest strawberry shortcake: 827 square-feet, 6,000 pounds.
  12. Key West, FL has the highest average temperature of any municipality in the United States.
  13. The world’s first scheduled passenger service airline flight was flown in 1914 from St. Petersburg, FL to Tampa, FL.
  14. Mechanical refrigeration technology was invented in Apalachicola, FL in 1851 by Dr. John Gorrie.
  15. St. Augustine, FL is the oldest continuously inhabited non-native settlement in North America, founded in 1565 by Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés.
  16. The most active hurricane season in recorded history for Florida is a tie between 2004, when four full-fledged hurricanes, Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne, came ashore in the state, and 2005, when another four, Dennis, Katrina (yes, THAT Katrina), Rita and Wilma all came ashore here.
  17. Florida has the 4th largest state population in the county, the 4th largest state GDP in the country, and is the 4th largest state-level exporter in the country.
  18. The horse, which had been extinct in North America for about 10,000 years when the Europeans first arrived, was first reintroduced to the continent in Florida in 1538.
  19. Crystal River, FL is the only place in North America where it is legal to have a supervised swim with manatees.
  20. The world’s deepest freshwater spring is Wakulla Springs near Tallahassee, FL.
  21. “Florida” means “Feast of Flowers” in Spanish.
  22. Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida by population, with 836,507 people as of 2012, but Miami, the state’s second largest city by population, had 413,892 people in 2012 packed into less than 1/21 of Jacksonville’s land area!
  23. There were 1.6 million veterans living in Florida as of 2010, the second highest total in the country.
  24. The largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world is in Lakeland, FL.
  25. About half of all Major League Baseball teams have spring training in Florida, with teams organized into the informal “Grapefruit League.”


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High Hurricane Season

Well, with Tropical Storm Dorian on its way across the Atlantic, it seems evident that we’re about to plunge headlong into high hurricane season.  August, September and October are always the most active months, but in reality, how often do the storms hit our area directly?  Let’s take a quick look at the past ten hurricane seasons, some of the most active on record, to see.  Remember, tropical depressions become tropical storms, which become hurricanes, which become “major” hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5).

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Hurricane Prep for Seniors

Direct from Florida Power and Light, here are tips for senior citizens to stay safe during the Hurricane Season!

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What are my options if a hurricane approaches?

Plan A: STAY HOME.
If you don’t live in an evacuation zone or a manufactured/mobile home, stay home and take these
precautions:
  • Remain calm and gather all supplies that you will need EARLY
  • Establish a “safe room” in an interior room with no window. Bring needed supplies including battery-powered radio, flashlights, medication, food and drinking water into this room.
  • Make sure that your home is secure and shuttered, and that it can withstand a hurricane. Ask neighbors to
  • assist with preparations if necessary.
  • Make sure that a neighbor or someone in your family knows that you will be there.
Plan B: STAY WITH LOCAL FRIENDS.
If you plan to stay with family or friends during a hurricane, take these precautions:
  • Remain calm. Call them in advance. Make sure they will be ready for you.
  • Have a backup plan in case they are out of town.
  • Have the enclosed checklists completed outlining your needs.
  • Bring your own food, water, medicine supply and important papers with you.
  • If your loved one has dementia, ask to have a room just for you and your loved one. Ask them to take the same safety precautions you have in your home (e.g., hide sharp objects and poisons, limit access to exits, cover mirrors).
  • Notify your friends/family/neighbors of your evacuation plans.
Plan C: RELOCATE OUTSIDE THE AREA.
If you live in an evacuation zone and/or a mobile/manufactured home, you must relocate.
  • Remain calm. LEAVE EARLY and let others know where you are planning to go.
  • Have a full tank of gas and a current, easy-to-read map handy.
  • Know where you are going. If you are going to a hotel, make sure that you have a reservation, as many hotels, even a hundred miles away, will fill up quickly.
  • Have the enclosed checklists completed outlining your needs.
Plan D: GO TO A SHELTER.
If you plan on going to a shelter you may need to be prepared for an extended stay. Take these precautions:
  • Make arrangements for your pets EARLY – before hurricane season starts. Red Cross shelters do not allow pets. Ask your veterinarian if there are pet-friendly shelters in your area.
  • Prepare supplies that you can bring with you; e.g., IMPORTANT PAPERS, FOOD, WATER, medications, a change of clothes, snacks, personal hygiene supplies, etc. You may also need to bring a sleeping bag/folding cot. Please check with your shelter officials.
  • Make sure that the shelter you are going to is open and has space. Watch the local media for updates.
  • Bring your cell phone (if you have one) and your charger or extra batteries.
  • Notify your friends/family/neighbors of your evacuation plans.
  • In all cases, early preparation is the key to surviving a hurricane with as little discomfort as possible. If you need assistance at any point, be sure to contact your local social service agencies as early as possible, as agency employees will also be preparing for the hurricane and cannot assist you at the last minute!