Essential Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Tampa Residents: Stay Safe This Storm Season

Hurricane season has arrived and the waters of Tampa Bay are increasingly hospitable for tropical systems, meaning everyone must remain vigilant until the season’s end on November 30. Here are some essential safety tips to help you stay secure as the tropics become more active.

Research Your Evacuation Zone and Develop a Plan 

Based on your address, you can access the evacuation map, determine your zone, find shelter information, and receive other essential tips for proactive preparation through the Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management. THEA’s Selmon Expressway serves as a crucial evacuation route for many, with its reversible express lanes (REL) capable of facilitating the smooth flow of critical traffic to safer shelters during major hurricanes. Through coordinated efforts between THEA and various levels of government, residents and visitors are assisted in preparing, accessing hurricane supplies, and safely evacuating when necessary. It’s important to communicate with your family regarding evacuation plans and inform them of your designated methods of communication and safety locations in case of rapid evacuation.

Connect with Road Assistance 

THEA’s Road Ranger Service Patrol operates Monday through Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., accessible by dialing *347, offering assistance to motorists and contributing to the reduction of accident rates. In addition to aiding traffic flow post-accidents, they also clear road debris to ensure safety along the Selmon Expressway. Equipped with first aid kits, auto jacks, gasoline, booster cables, radiator water, air compressors, fire extinguishers, reflective cones, flares, sand, and emergency blankets, the Road Ranger Service Patrol is prepared for various roadside emergencies. For real-time traffic and travel updates, you can also utilize the Florida 511 app provided by the Florida Department of Transportation.

Create an Emergency and Supply Kit 

It’s important to have a seven-day supply of essentials, including water, non-perishable food items, baby supplies, batteries, garbage bags, moist towelettes, and pandemic necessities. Additionally, ensure you have a battery-powered radio, flashlight, and necessary prescription medications. Essential items such as local maps, manual can openers, matches, a pet emergency kit, cash, and a full tank of gas are also crucial. Safeguarding copies of critical information in waterproof containers or areas further enhances preparedness, especially in anticipation of more severe storms.

Use Precautions to Drive Safely 

During a major hurricane evacuation, it’s crucial to reduce speed in less than ideal conditions. Utilize headlights in low visibility situations to enhance visibility for other drivers. Prioritize maintenance by ensuring windshield wipers, tires, and brakes are in optimal condition. Maintain alertness and focus while driving, and avoid venturing into areas prone to water accumulation or heavy rainfall.


Following these guidelines will assist you in proactive preparation. One can never be overly prepared, and it’s recommended to replenish supplies during each trip to the grocery, automotive, or hardware store, and when ordering online. It’s recommended to have a minimum of 72 hours’ worth of resources on hand and to stay attentive to storm advisories to implement your hurricane plan promptly.