Hurricane Irma Pre-Storm Emergency Preparedness

Copyright: Sasa Kadrijevic

As Hurricane Irma tears through the Caribbean with its Category 5 force, weather experts believe that the violent storm is increasingly likely to hit southern Florida and move up through the central part of the state. The powerful storm is expected to bring extremely high winds, storm surge and rainfall hazards to affected areas.

Storm damage is likely to affect millions of people and properties in the area, including many apartment firms, communities and residents. Miami alone has 1.1 million apartment residents and more than 472,000 apartments.

Given these conditions, NMHC urges members in the storm’s path to make all necessary preparations and begin planning for disaster recovery. NMHC has put together a list of go-to sites with relevant emergency preparedness information.

Prepare Your Residents
Gables Residential has provided this sample letter to help residents prepare for the storm. In addition, each of the potentially affected counties has produced a hurricane preparedness guide with local information that you may want to add to any communications you send to your residents.  They include: Broward County GuidePalm Beach County GuideMiami-Dade County GuideMonroe County Guide.

Stay Up to Date on the Storm
For the latest storm tracking, check out the National Hurricane Center, where you will find the latest weather advisories and information on the storm’s path.

Follow FEMA in Real Time
In addition to FEMA’s Hurricane Irma page, home to official safety information and storm resources, FEMA’s Twitter feed (follow @fema) includes breaking storm news, including info on the storm’s progress, emergency tips and tools, shelters and more. You can also download the FEMA Mobile App to receive important storm alerts, safety tips, shelter locations and more.

Get Up to Speed on Hurricane Basics
This resource from explains what to do when there’s hurricane watch or warning alert for your local area and provides tips on what to do before, during and after a hurricane. 

Check Local Sources
The Florida Division of Emergency Management’s website includes the key information from state and local governments, including key county emergency contacts, toll-free emergency hotline, emergency preparedness plan toolsshelter information, a map of power outages and more. The Southeast Florida Apartment Association website also offers several resources, including links to sample storm announcement letters and county emergency preparedness guides.

Review NMHC’s Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Recovery Resources
NMHC’s website features a list of important pre- and post-disaster resources, as well as several guidance documents covering emergency preparedness.

Post-Storm Resources
NMHC also has a wide variety of resources for both property owners and residents outlining aid and resources to rebuild.

Two storms of this magnitude in a single hurricane season is unprecedented. Rest assured that the recovery efforts for both Irma and Harvey are top priorities for NMHC.  While much of the recovery response will be coordinated by state and local governments, there is still much we can do. 

Before the rain had stopped failing in Houston, NMHC’s staff were already communicating with members of Congress and officials at HUD and the Treasury Department to ensure the disaster recovery the apartment industry needs are met and that apartments are the priority for housing those displaced from the storms. 

We will keep you informed as those discussions progress.  You can find the latest information on those efforts on our website at