March 2016

Important phone numbers and websites

Pinellas County Emergency Management: (727) 464-3800 | www.pinellascounty.org/emergency

Find your evacuation level: (727) 453-3150 | www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/knowyourzone.htm

Register for special needs transportation: (727) 464-3800 | www.pinellascounty.org/forms/evac-assist.htm

Follow Pinellas County Emergency Management on Twitter: twitter.com/PinellasEM

Sign up for Pinellas County’s Emergency Notification Service Alert Pinellas: (866) 484-3264 | www.pinellascounty.org/AlertPinellas

Set your Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) equipped all-hazards alert radio for Pinellas County: Enter code 012103

If you know someone who would like to receive the e-Lert newsletter, have them visit www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/subscribe.htm

 

Sally Says

Sally Bishop photoFrom the Desk of Pinellas County's Emergency Management Director

This winter and spring, we have urged residents to prepare for El Niño, which has been tied to tornadoes, floods and other volatile weather across the nation this year. Just a few months from now, on June 1, hurricane season will begin again and we will be watching the oceans carefully for developing tropical storms. Longtime residents of coastal Florida have a general idea of the hazards Mother Nature can cause each season of the year. What we don’t know is when these hazards will strike and just how severe they will be when they come. That’s why Pinellas County Emergency Management stresses the need for “all hazard” readiness all year round.

For many years, we’ve been fortunate enough to avoid a direct hit from a major hurricane here in the Tampa Bay area, and that makes it easy to become complacent about preparedness. Some residents were shocked last summer to find their streets flooded with water and major roads cut off from an extended period of steady rainfall. Tornadoes that have ripped through various parts of the nation in the last couple of months could just as easily have hit here during a weather front. Don’t forget that El Niño is expected to continue bringing a heightened risk of tornadoes, floods and severe weather through at least the end of April!

Since any number of hazards could develop unexpectedly in our community, the most critical tool in your survival kit is knowledge – that is, being informed about emergencies. One of the easiest ways for us to share critical warnings with you is our Alert Pinellas emergency notification service. Alert Pinellas allows us to send you an automated voicemail or text message if there’s a countywide hazard or a hazard in just your immediate area. More information about this service is below. Take this simple, important step today to ensure you know about hazards in our area as they threaten.

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Alert Pinellas

screenshot of webpageHow to sign up:

Visit www.pinellascounty.org/alertpinellas. You can register multiple phone lines. You will also be enrolled to get optional severe weather warnings through the National Weather Service.

If you are unable to sign up online you may call (866) 484-3264 to sign up by phone. Online signup is the recommended method. 

Registration is completely FREE.

How it works:

Alert Pinellas allows the county to target messages to phone numbers in specific geographic areas. That means you will only get messages that apply to where you live. Last summer, this service was used to contact residents in specific communities that were flooded during heavy rainfall. If you are interested in receiving alerts related to multiple locations, register each address, i.e. your home address, your work address, your child’s school address, etc.

Multiple lines:

Each member of your household can register and each person can register multiple devices to get notifications, including landlines, mobile phones and email. The automated system will send messages through each device you register.

Types of notifications:

Urgent information such as severe weather preparation, emergency road closures, boil water notices, evacuations and more.

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Pinellas County is using Nextdoor

screenshot of webpagePinellas County is using the online app Nextdoor to get the word out to your neighborhood when there’s an emergency. Nextdoor is a free private social media app that allows neighbors to join a network that’s limited specifically to their neighborhood and surrounding areas. Emergency Management is now using Nextdoor to communicate urgent safety messages targeted to individual communities that may be impacted by a hazard. Learn more about Nextdoor at www.nextdoor.com.

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Think Ahead

Is your insurance ready for hurricane season?

5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • What is my deductible?
  • What is my hurricane deductible?
  • Do I need flood insurance?
  • Do I have enough coverage to replace my home and belongings?
  • Do I have loss-of-use coverage for temporary housing expenses?

Not all insurance policies are created equal. Check your policy or talk to your agent to make sure you’ve got sufficient coverage and to determine if any home improvements would qualify for a discount on premiums.  Information on different types of insurance policies can be found through the Insurance Information Institute at www.iii.org.

Flood Insurance

Homeowner Insurance policies DO NOT cover damage from rising flood waters. If you own a home in a flood zone, your mortgage company will require you to carry a separate flood policy. Even if you don’t live in a flood zone, consider the additional coverage. Learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program at www.floodsmart.gov. Remember: a new policy takes 30 days to take effect.

Don’t know your flood zone? Check out Pinellas County’s Flood Zone Map.

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