Hurricane Preparedness During COVID-19

Hurricane season starts Monday (June 1). Forecasts are calling for an above-average season, which seems very possible considering we've already had TWO named storms.

The state of Florida is asking residents to stock up for hurricane season during a Sales Tax Holiday starting Friday (May 29) through June 4.

And local officials are urging residents to make plans OTHER THAN SHELTERS because of the pandemic:

Hurricane Preparedness Tips During COVID-19 from Escambia County

Hurricane Season is June 1 through November 30. Escambia County would like to encourage residents tostay informed and be prepared in the event of a disaster or weather event.

"This year with COVID-19, we really want to stress that residents have a plan rather than go to a shelter," said Escambia County Emergency Manager Eric Gilmore. "The county will provide shelters and will do everything possible to sanitize them, but we know that the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading increases when people are in close living conditions. A shelter should be a last resort. We are asking residents to know their evacuation zone, and if they aren't in an evacuation zone, it may be safer to stay at home and prepare accordingly. Better yet, please reach out to family and friends now to develop a plan to stay somewhere safe if you need to evacuate."

Follow these three steps to make sure you and your family are prepared this hurricane season: 

  1. Know Your Zone.Familiarize yourself with evacuation zones and routes. In 2018, Emergency Management released a "Know Your Zone" website for residents to look up their evacuation zone. You can look up your address to see if your home is in evacuation zone A, B, C, D, E or none as well as view the impacts of storm surge in your neighborhood. Knowing your evacuation zone is one of the most important hurricane preparation steps you can take. It is very important that you look up your evacuation zone each year to find out if and when you should evacuate, even if you have looked it up in the past, as zones can change. Most importantly, don’t rely on previous storm experience.
  2. Know Your Home. Is your home prepared for a hurricane? With COVID-19, your safest place may be at home instead of a shelter. Pack an emergency supply kit. It should contain three days of clothes, nonperishable food, pet food, water and a battery operated radio and flashlight with extra batteries. Also include a first-aid kit with items such as gloves, adhesive bandages and prescription medications. Find a printable disaster shopping list here. Please remember "the first 72 is on you." Citizens should be equipped to provide for themselves, their families and their pets for at least three days following a major hurricane. During the 2020 Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday May 29 – June 4, stock up on qualifying disaster preparedness supplies exempt from tax. For more information and a list of qualifying items, visit floridarevenue.com/disasterprep.
  3. Know Your Plan. Plan how you will assemble your family and loved ones, and anticipate where you will go for different situations. Get together with your family and agree on the best ways to contact one another in an emergency. Inform out-of-town family and friends of your emergency plans and stay in contact. Plan your evacuation route and destination before an evacuation order is issued. Anticipate where you and your family will go for different situations. Be sure to make preparations for pets and family members who made need special accommodations, such as a wheelchair ramp, oxygen tank or specific medications.More information on planning an evacuation for a person with disabilities or special needs is available here. 

Stay Informed. Know where to go for trusted sources of information during a hurricane event. Sign up for alerts from your local emergency management office so notifications, including evacuation orders, go directly to your phone and email. Monitor local news for hurricane watches and warnings in your area and follow directions of local officials. Make sure you have a battery-operated or hand-crank radio available should the power go out.Review and sign up for the different types of information/notifications available directly from Escambia County.

    Additional online safety resources:

More information on what to do before, during and after a storm is available online at BeReadyEscambia.com. You can also follow @BeReadyEscambia on Twitter and like Escambia County Emergency Management on Facebook for the latest news and updates on emergencies impacting our community.

Tropical Storm Andrea Bares Down On Florida

Tropical Storm Andrea Bares Down On Florida

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

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