BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)– Knock on wood! The 2022 Atlantic Hurricane season has been off to a slow start in the Panhandle area compared to years past.

Bay County Emergency Officials said that this past August there were no named storms that impacted our area, something that hasn’t happened since 1997.

While it is safe to say many are glad this hurricane season has been calm, emergency officials are reminding the public to never get complacent, and to have a plan in case of a natural disaster.

Aside from catastrophic hurricanes, the Panhandle has also experienced other natural disasters. In early 2022, Bay County experienced tragic wildfires that destroyed homes and thousands of acres of land.

News 13 This Morning caught up with Bay County Emergency Officials with more on how you can be prepared.

Bay County Emergency officials provided us with this list of items to consider taking in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster.

– Extra clothing, towels, sturdy shoes

-$500 worth of cash

-Toiletries

-Non-perishables, canned food (preferably with pop-tops, so you don’t need a can opener.)

-A camping burner, lighter, fuel  

-Premade camping meals, add hot water

-Pet food, leash  if you have them 

-Satellite radio or NOAA radio

-Batteries 

-Flashlight

-First aid kit 

-Laminated insurance cards and health forms

-30 days’ worth of prescriptions 

– Important documents

-List of necessary contacts

– Activities for kids

“You want to have your emergency kit prepared at all times. In an evacuation scenario with hurricanes sometimes there are days of warning, but with wildfires there could be minutes,” said Chief Monroe.

Monroe also recommends you reassess your safety kit every time you change your smoke detector batteries as items in the kit can expire, and the kit can be used for other types of natural disasters.

Most importantly, Monroe said that in addition to having a kit prepared you must have a plan.

“You don’t want to stay at a shelter, so you should develop a plan as to where you are going and who you are going to stay with.”

Monroe stressed that in addition to having an evacuation plan for you and your family, you should also have plans in place to protect your business.

Emergency Management officials recommend utilizing ready.gov and floridadisaster.org when making emergency plans and signing up for Alert Bay to stay up with emergency alerts from the county.