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With Hurricane season upon us, the staff at Meridian have prepared this document to make certain you and your family have the tools necessary to remain as safe as possible during hurricane season, June 1st through November 30th.   By preparing early, you’ll avoid the stress of crowded and sold out grocery stores along with other crowded venues. When preparing for a potential storm, there are steps you should take to prepare.  First, you should create a household evacuation plan.  Having a plan in place ahead of a hurricane can help reduce fear, particularly in younger children and the elderly.  Also, it is important to stay informed about your community’s risk and response plan ensuring you have the most up-to-date information.  The remainder of this document will list other actions you should take before the hurricane, during the hurricane, and after the hurricane. Important terms to familiarize yourself with: Tropical Storm Watch:  Tropical storm conditions are possible in the area. Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions are expected in the area. Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are possible in the area.  Watches are issues 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds. Hurricane warning: Hurricane conditions are expected in the area.  Warnings are issued 36 hours in advance of tropical storm force winds. Eye: Clear, a well-defined center of the storm with calmer conditions. Eye Wall: Surrounding the eye, contains some of the most severe weather of the storm with the highest wind speed and largest precipitation. Rain Bands: Bands coming off the cyclone that produce severe weather conditions such as heavy rain, wind and tornadoes. Storm Surge: An often underestimated and deadly result of ocean water swelling due to a land falling storm, and quickly flooding coastal and sometimes areas further inland.
Category Sustained Winds Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds Storm Surge
1 74-95 mph Very dangerous winds will produce some damage 4-5 feet
2 96-110 mph Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage 6-8 feet
3-major 111-129 mph Devastating damage will occur 9-12 feet
4-major 130-156 mph Catastrophic damage will occur 13-18 feet
5-major 156 mph or high Catastrophic damage will occur Greater than 18 feet
Hurricane Kits:  It is important to have a kit of supplies that you may need if forced to evacuate or if you can stay in your home, however, power is lost.  By preparing your kit ahead of time, you can alleviate potential stress.  Some recommended items include:
  • Prescription medications Examples include: Psychiatric medication, Heart and high blood pressure medication, Insulin, Denture needs, Contact lenses, and supplies.
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives.
  • Personal Hygiene Items: Examples include: sanitary napkins, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap/body wash, deodorant.
  • Water one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, needed for drinking and sanitation
  • Food- at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food; some examples include: canned vegetables, peanut butter, crackers, dried fruits, cereal, granola bars, soups, canned meats such as salmon, tuna, turkey and chicken.
  • Clothing
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit- Examples include: adhesive bandages, sterile dressing, sterile gauze pads, hand sanitizer, gloves, anti-bacterial ointment, cold pack, scissors, tweezers.
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Can opener for food
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Cell phone with charger(s)- It is important to make certain your phone’s battery are fully charged before the storm.
For Baby:
  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Powdered Milk
  • Medications
  • Extra clothing
For Pets: If you have to evacuate your home, it is not safe to leave your pet(s) behind.  In this case, you will need to find a shelter that accepts animals.
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses and/or carriers
  • Food, drinking water, bowls, cat litter/pan
  • Medications and copies of medical records stored in a waterproof container
  • Current photos of you with your pet(s) in case they get lost.
Additional Safety Precautions you can take before a hurricane:
  • Fill bathtubs and sinks with water for flushing the toilet or washing the floor or clothing.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued for your area.
  • Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind, such as bicycles, patio furniture, toys, etc.
Staying Safe During a Hurricane: To ensure safety during a hurricane, it is imperative that you and your family follow the advice listed on
  • Stay indoors
  • Don’t walk on beaches, riverbanks or in flood waters.
  • Use flashlights in the dark if the power goes out. Do NOT use candles.
  • Continue listening to the local radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
  • Avoid contact with floodwater. It may be contaminated with sewage or contain dangerous insects or animals.
After a Hurricane:
  • Let friends and family know you’re safe.
  • If evacuated, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Continue listening to the local news for updated information and instructions.
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding.
If additional resources are needed, please visit the following sites:

Meridian will post any office and/or facility closures in the case of a hurricane or other weather emergency on our website at and on our social media pages @mbhci.

Information will also be available at 352-374-5600 via the access center. They will provide up-to-date information regarding our operating hours, closures and status of residential program evacuations.
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Disclaimer: The content included on Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. social media pages and website is not intended to provide medical or mental health advice and should not be taken or used as medical or mental health advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any issues or questions you may have regarding any medical or mental health condition or treatment.

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