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Hazards - Hurricane

Brevard will never be hit by a major hurricane - SIMPLY NOT TRUE!

Brevard will never be hit by a major hurricane - SIMPLY NOT TRUE! There is an old "tall tale" that persists, and is believed by some, that Brevard County will not be hit by a killer hurricane. The "tale" claims that the Federal government located the space program at Cape Canaveral and KSC because Brevard’s geographical characteristics and location made it immune to hurricanes. THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE Brevard County has been hit by major hurricanes in the past and it is only a matter of time when, not if, Brevard will be hit again. In 1871, 1880 and 1885 major hurricanes slammed into Brevard County, at and south of Cocoa Beach. The 1885 hurricane’s storm surge pushed the ocean over Cocoa Beach and into the Banana River, flooding out homesteaders and discouraging further settlement. The beach near the Canaveral Light House was so severely eroded, the government was prompted to allot money to move the light house one mile west. Historical information reported that the eye of a "terrible hurricane" took four hours to pass northward over Eau Gallie in 1876. In 1873, a major hurricane exited Florida near Melbourne. In 1928, a major hurricane caused heavy property damage from South Brevard to St. Lucie County. In recent history, Hurricanes Donna in 1960, David in 1979 and Erin in 1995 proved again that Brevard was not immune from hurricanes and the Andrew type "Big One" looms out there in our future. Brevard’s population has exploded since the late 1800's, even since Donna in 1960, and consequently, even a moderate storm will cause considerable damage and danger to its citizens.  

What to do to prepare

There are many ways to prepare. First discuss plans with your family members, especially children. Don’t hide the fact that you and your loved ones may have to evacuate in the event of an emergency. Much of the fear that children experience during a disaster stems from a false sense of "that will never happen to us" from their parents. Create a Family Disaster Plan. Meet with family members and discuss the types of disasters that could occur. Explain how to prepare and respond to each event. Discuss what to do if ordered to evacuate. Express to them that this will be a stressful and emotional time in everyone’s life and that the stress can be lessened by being prepared. Post emergency telephone numbers by each phone. Show family members when and how to shut off water, gas and electricity. Contact the Brevard County Chapter of the American Red Cross to learn First Aid, CPR and other disaster training. Practice what you have discussed and learned.

Consider investing in commercial or home-made hurricane shutters, storm panels and security window film. These will prevent your windows from breaking. Remember, if you lose your windows and/or garage door, you will lose your roof and probably your home. Update your Homeowner’s insurance policy for adequate coverage. If you rent, obtain Renter’s insurance now. Take advantage of the Federal Flood Insurance Program for flood coverage as your Homeowner’s and Renter’s insurance does not cover losses from flooding.

Locate and learn the Evacuation and Shelter Route

Locate and learn the Evacuation and Shelter Route for your area and plan your evacuation destination. This information can be readily obtained from Customer Guide pages 53,54,55,56 of the BellSouth Brevard County Telephone Book or by other literature from the news media, American Red Cross and Brevard County Emergency Management. Emergency Management strongly urges that a Public Shelter be used only as a last resort for people who have nowhere else to go. You will be more comfortable sheltering with family, friends, or in commercial lodging out of the evacuation areas. Public Shelters will only have the minimum amount of supplies necessary sustain life. There will be no cots or bedding, little or no privacy, food may be unavailable or delayed, and Public Shelters will suffer the same inconveniences from the loss of utilities that will be experienced by homes and commercial lodging.

You are urged to take your pets with you but keep in mind that pets are not allowed in Public Shelters. Shelter arrangements at commercial kennels, family or friends out of the evacuation area, should be made for your pets, now, before a disaster threatens. If left at home, your pets can be killed, injured, diseased, traumatized or lost.

Plan how your family will stay in contact if separated by a disaster. Pick two meeting places at a safe location from your home in case of a natural or man-made disaster and register with the American Red Cross. Choose an out-of-state family member or friend as a "check-in contact" for everyone to call. Keep the "check-in contact" updated as frequently as possible.

Meet with your neighbors and plan how the neighborhood can work together before and after a disaster. Know your neighbor’s skills (medical, technical, etc.). Consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs such as the disabled, elderly or single parents. Determine who may need transportation during an evacuation.

You will not be asked to leave your home unless you life is seriously threatened. Hurricane Evacuations are mandatory for the "barrier islands" which comprises Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Patrick Air Force Base, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbor Beach, Indialantic, Melbourne Beach and the south beaches. Merritt Island is also a "barrier island" and will be evacuated as well as other "at risk" areas such as mobile/manufactured homes, river/creek shorelines and low lying - flood prone areas. Mobile/manufactured homes are not safe during Hurricanes, strong Tropical Storms or Tornadoes and can be severely damaged or destroyed. Securely fasten tie-downs before evacuating.

When you are ordered to evacuate, go immediately

When you are ordered to evacuate GO IMMEDIATELY! Turn off gas, electric and water. Move valuables that you cannot take with you to higher points in your home. Bring in loose furniture, trash cans, toys, flower pots - anything that can be blown around by the wind. Tie down storage sheds and trailers. On land, fill boats with water and anchor to the ground or a structure. In water, remove boats or secure them to docks and moorings with extra lines. Secure your doors and windows. Deploy hurricane shutters/storm panels. Have a full tank of gas in your car. Know your evacuation route and leave early, during daylight, if possible, to allow for sufficient time to reach your destination. Delaying your evacuation could put you into the absolute worst location possible your car....on the road....stuck in traffic, when the hurricane strikes. Look for and follow the Evacuation Route signs and Shelter Route signs posted on the roadways to assist you. If taking more than one car, have some type of communications with the other car and family members such as a cellular phone, CB radio or other two-way radio. Take your disaster/shelter supplies kit and proceed to a shelter or other specific pre-arranged location. Due to the frequency of storms in Brevard County and the limited shelter space available, seeking shelter outside of Brevard County may be preferable.

Closely monitor TV/Radio News broadcasts

CLOSELY MONITOR TV/RADIO NEWS BROADCASTS for emergency instructions. Purchase a N.O.A.A. "WeatherAlert Radio" and monitor the up-to-date WEATHER ADVISORIES and Emergency Information. Have a sufficient supply of batteries on hand.

Weather Advisory Notices:

Advisories warn us of impending danger from severe weather

  • Tropical Storm Watch: Wind speeds of 39-73 mph are possible within 48 hours
  • Tropical Storm Warning: Wind speeds of 39-73 mph are expected within 36 hours
  • Hurricane Watch: Wind speeds of 74 mph or higher are possible within 48 hours
  • Hurricane Warning: Wind speeds of 74 mph or higher are expected within 36 hours
  • Extreme Wind Warning: Sustained winds of a major hurricane (115 mph or greater), usually associated with the eyewall, are expected to begin within an hour

Click here for more information on Hurricanes.

Brevard County Emergency Management Office

1746 Cedar Street
Rockledge, Florida 32955
Tel: (321) 637-6670
Fax: (321) 633-1738

Kimberly Prosser

Email Brevard County Emergency Management Director Email the Emergency Management Office
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