HOUSTON - Are you prepared if Hurricane Irma comes to Tampa Bay?

It's important to know the difference between a Watch and a Warning. A 'Hurricane Watch' means conditions are a threat within 48 hours and you should be ready to act. A 'Hurricane Warning' means threatening conditions are expected within 36 hours and you should be ready to evacuate if encouraged by local officials.

In order to prepare for an emergency situation, here's a list of items you will need on hand. It's important to plan ahead as grocery and supply stores will be in short supply in the days and hours leading up to a hurricane.

The American Red Cross also has a hurricane safety checklist you can download here to prepare your family from danger.

Important household items (This is also what you'll need if you evacuate)

  • Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3-7 days; also fill bathtub and other containers; Gatorade is good to fend off dehydration
  • Food - at least enough for 3-7 days; non-perishable packaged or canned food; juices; foods for infants or elderly family members; snack foods; food for special diets
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Cooking tools, fuel
  • Paper plates and cups, plastic utensils
  • Bedding: Blankets, Pillows, etc.
  • Clothing
  • Rain gear
  • Sturdy shoes
  • First Aid Kit, Medicines, Prescription Drugs
  • Toiletries, Hygiene items, Moisture wipes, Dry shampoo
  • Flashlight, Batteries, Lantern
  • Radio: Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
  • Telephones: Fully charged cell phone with extra battery; chargers; traditional (not cordless) telephone set
  • Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards: Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
  • Important documents: Place in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag: Should include insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, prescriptions, etc.
  • Tools: Keep a set with you during the storm
  • Gas: Fill up your vehicles several days before landfall is expected; Gas stations could lose power during a storm and supply trucks may not be able to reach the area
  • Pet care items: Proper identification, immunization records, medications, ample supply of food and water; a carrier or cage; muzzle and/ or leash
  • Bleach without lemon or any other additives
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Keys
  • Toys, books and games for children
  • Duct tape
  • Cell Phone charging stations - locations where you can charge mobile devices