Florida & polk county , winter haven news

How to Prepare Yourself for Hurricane Season

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How to Prepare Yourself for Hurricane Season

By Allison Williams

Personal photos taken by Allison Williams (Hurricane Irma in US Virgin Islands)

With all that is going on the world right now, it might be easy to forget that we are in the midst of hurricane season. Hurricane season runs from June 1 – November 30. Living in Florida, there is always a risk each year to be impacted by these storms, whether it’s a tropical depression or a hurricane.

The lower level storm is referred to as a tropical depression. During a tropical depression, winds do not reach above 38 miles per hour. Once the winds pick up and are between 39-73 mph, the storm level upgrades to a tropical stormHurricanes produce the strongest winds of 74 mph and above and there are different categories of a hurricane.

Joe Garrison, CEO of Garrison Companies says it is important to prepare now if you have not already. 

“We need to start preparing now,” Garrison said. “While the supplies are still in the stores, it is time to stock up on essential needs, such as non-perishable items/canned foods, water, medicine, etc.”

Garrison added, “The entire country is at unrest and people are protesting, but regardless of your race or your beliefs, hurricanes do not take names. They don’t go by statistics, whether you are white, black, Republican, Democrat or anything. As everybody is looking at their big picture and what is important in their lives, it is also important to not ignore the fact at how devastating these storms can be and how much they can destroy lives and property in a matter of hours. Don’t get tunnel vision and so wrapped up in all this that you ignore the fact this it is hurricane season.”


Another way to prepare for hurricanes is by getting together sandbags before it is too late. Last year, many of us waited in line for long periods of time to fill sandbags to prepare for a hurricane that was heading our way. Even though there is no storm heading our way right at this time, we can still take steps to prepare sandbags. 

“Mother nature does not take sides,” Garrison said. “Prepare because if you don’t, you could get injured, hurt, lose your house or even death. Don’t be dependent on government for everything and assume they are automatically going to have sandbags available. Though part of it might be their responsibility, it is important to self-prepare. Be creative and think outside of the box by using heavy duty trash bags for sandbags and stock up and store your items now, because once the hurricane hits, just like toilet paper with coronavirus, you are going to be out of a lot of stuff.”

Garrison recommends to order bags off of Amazon or to pick up extra heavy-duty trash bags from places like Home Depot, Lowes, and Rural King and fill them with sand.

“You don’t need a designated sand location to pick up sand,” he said. “You can simply go in your backyard in Florida and probably find sand, especially here in Polk County.” 

Garrison Companies tries to be an additional resource to the residents of Polk County every year by providing sand and sandbags to residents during the times where fire stations and other local spots have run out of sand. It helps those who are not able to pick up in time or wait a little too long and are in desperate need of sandbags. Garrison often uses a local company’s donation of sand on 27 and provides the sandbags himself. A previous donor that Garrison Companies has worked with to do this is Tucker Paving. Garrison provides the bags and a donor provides the sand to give people an extra location to pick up sand. Once Garrison has this year’s plan mapped out, we will update readers with more information.

Prepare early so that when/if the times comes, you are not in a scramble to get sand and supplies.

In the event that we are hit with a hurricane, keep Garrison Companies in mind. They offer clean up services and it is best to leave it to a professional. Remember to NOT attempt crossing flooded roadways or bridges. Stay away from fallen trees or power lines. Call Garrison Companies for help 863-439-6550.