2022 Hurricane Preparation Guide

2022-05-18 Hurricane Guide

Hurricane Preparation

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Page 17 of 47

Page 18 By Ed McCrane SARASOTA COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT CHIEF As we enter hurricane season, Sarasota County Emergency Man- agement encourages everyone — from life-long residents to our newest neighbors — to prepare now before a possible storm impacts our commu- nity. Every year, it is important to plan and be storm-ready well before a system is approaching. We do not know what the 2022 Atlantic hurri- cane season will be like but being prepared is key. If you're not sure what you need to do to get ready for hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, visit Sarasota County's hurricane preparedness webpage: scgov.net/ beprepared. There is information on preparations for yourself, families, homes, neighborhoods and busi- nesses and a digital version of the Disaster Planning Guide. The county's Emergency Man- agement team will keep the commu- nity informed as storms approach, through several outlets — such as emergency alerts, social media, our website and by partnering with the local media. Ensuring you know where to go for up-to-date information before, during and after an emergency is another key component of prepared- ness. Follow Sarasota County Emer- gency Management on Facebook (@ SRQEmergencyServices) or Twitter (@scgovEOC) and sign up for the emergency newsletter on at scgov. net/beprepared. Sign up for emer- gency alerts at AlertSarasotaCounty. com, and have a portable bat- tery to charge electronic devices on which you get alerts. Also consider a battery-operated weath- er radio. Any evacuation center openings will be announced through the local media, county website, county social media platforms and emergency alerts. Emergency Management coor- dinates with the Sarasota County School District for the opening of hurricane evacuation centers. If needed, hurricane evacuation cen- ters will be located within schools. With funding assistance from the state of Florida, hurricane hardening improvements were made to Taylor Ranch Elementary School, adding it as a hurricane evacuation center for 2022. The addition of Taylor Ranch Elementary School provides South County residents a location closer to home in the event of an evacuation. Although all hurricane evacu- ation centers are at schools, not all schools are hurri- cane evacuation centers. Knowing where you will go should you need to evacuate is cru- cial to your pre- paredness plans. A list of Sarasota County hurricane evacuation centers can be found in the hurricane guide on scgov.net. For those who are medically de- pendent or are not comfortable driv- ing to a hurricane evacuation center, information on the Transportation Dependent Plan and apply- ing to the Medical Needs Program is available on scgov.net or by calling 311 in Sarasota County. Register now. Don't wait for a storm to approach to sign up. Take steps to protect yourself and your home. Know the evacuation level your home is in and where you will go should you need to leave. Sara- sota County hurricane evacuation centers should be a fi nal resort, so, if possible, plan to stay with family or friends who live outside the evacua- tion level. Homeowners should evaluate whether they can safely stay in their own home even if they are outside of evacuation levels. Residents may be able to shelter at home if the home was built after 2002, is outside of the evacuation level being evacuated and has appropriate window and door coverings. Should you need to leave your home and cannot stay with family or friends, a hurricane evac- uation center can be a safe place, but again, should be considered a fi nal resort. Being prepared also means having a well-stocked emergency supply kit before the start of hurricane sea- son. Ensure you are prepared for a potential extended loss of power and include any supplies you need for at least seven days. Once you have all the basic supplies, such as water and non-perishable food, consider medications and any unique needs your family might have. This may be supplies for infants, pets or seniors. Evacuees are expected to bring all their disaster supplies to an evacu- ation center, including bedding and comfort items. Pets are allowed at all hurricane evacuation centers but must be current on all vaccina- tions. Pet owners are responsible for caring for their pets while in the evacuation center and bringing the appropriate crate, leash and supplies to last several days. It may be helpful to crate train your pet prior to hurri- cane season. In addition to supplies, gather important paperwork and emer- gency contacts and keep them in a safe place or have electronic copies. Shoot videos and photos of your property before and after a storm to expedite any necessary insurance claims if damage occurs. Once the storm has passed and roads are passable, residents can count on us for help. But residents need to be prepared and self-su - cient until we can respond. Having a plan and being prepared with sup- plies for one week is the best way to ensure your family is ready for any disaster. If you have neighbors who are new to the area, and you are prepared and your family is safe, consider checking on your neighbor. Sarasota County is a great community to be a part of, and it's because of how we as a com- munity care for each other. Ed McCrane is Sarasota County emergency management chief. He can be reached at 941-861-5000 or emccrane@scgov.net. Follow Sarasota County Emergency Management on Facebook (@SRQEmergencyServices) or Twitter (@scgovEOC) and sign up for the emergency newsletter on at scgov.net/beprepared. Sign up for emergency alerts at AlertSarasotaCounty.com PHOTO PROVIDED Firefi ghters and others react to a downed power line that blocked traffi c on a Punta Gorda road after Hurricane Charley. Hurricane season brings the community together

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