June 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

It only takes one. Tampa Bay has been spared a direct hit for 95 years, but just one storm this hurricane season could end that streak of good fortune. The 1921 season was mostly inactive, but in late October a storm brewed out at sea and cut a path through Pinellas County as a Category 3 hurricane.

Our good fortune today is the improved level of preparation on a national, state and local level for a catastrophic hurricane. Although our county is built out with nearly 1 million residents, we can effectively evacuate all of those in harm’s way to either leave the area or find safety on higher ground (10s of miles, not hundreds of miles, is the recommendation). Even though we cannot predict precisely what path a hurricane will take, we have enough warning time to escape – that is, if we have prepared ahead and choose to heed those warnings.

Our county has numerous channels to warn you about dangers from hurricanes and any number of other hazards all year. We can send urgent voice or text messages to your mobile device and home phone with the Alert Pinellas emergency notification service. Your weather alert radio will sound the alarm in the dead of night if a tornado suddenly touches down near your neighborhood; newer mobile devices may also send you the same warnings. When a storm is approaching, you can expect to get emergency information by TV and radio as well as social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor. We will warn you when you need to evacuate or take steps to protect your family and home. Will you be listening? Will you be ready to act immediately?

This month, Pinellas County’s 2016 All-Hazard Guide is now available at local libraries, government offices and other locations. You can also find it on Emergency Management’s website, or by clicking this link. This year’s guide will take you through 5 Steps to ensure you are ready for a hurricane or any hazard that you might face any time of the year:

  1. CONNECT to vital emergency information about dangerous weather and other hazards
  2. BUILD a survival kit with the things you’ll need to survive without everyday necessities
  3. ASSESS your risk from storms and other perils
  4. PLAN where you’ll go and what you’ll do in an emergency
  5. RECOVER after a disaster by taking safety precautions and requesting help
Not everyone’s preparations will be the same. Some families need to consider their children and others have to think about where they’d go with their pets. Every resident is responsible to make a plan to stay safe and to be ready to act on it if the time comes.

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Connect to emergency information

Urgent Alerts

These tools will warn you about immediate, urgent hazards, such as tornado warnings or other imminent threats:

Alert Pinellas

Register multiple phone lines to receive voice or text messages wherever you are from Pinellas County Emergency Management. A free emergency notification service. Register at www.pinellascounty.org/alertpinellas.

You can select to receive National Weather Service Warnings at time of registration.

Wireless Emergency Alerts

Newer mobile devices are equipped for local, state and federal authorities to send alerts about dangerous weather and other emergencies. Check with your carrier. Visit www.ready.gov/alerts to learn more. 

Weather Alerts

Purchase a NOAA Weather Alert Radio to get a loud warning if dangerous severe weather is approaching. Set your alert radio to 012103 to code it to your area.

Citizen Information Center

During an emergency activation, call the Citizen Information Center for vital information on evacuations, road closures and other urgent questions.

(727) 464-4333 or TDD (727) 464-3075

If you lose power or cell service...

Make sure you have a battery-powered radio. You might also consider a solar charger for your mobile device. Did you know that your mobile device can send and receive texts even when other cell service is down? If your phone’s digital clock works, you should be able to text!

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All-Hazard Preparedness Information

  1. Know your zone: Learn which evacuation zone you live in so you know when to evacuate if a hurricane is approaching. Call (727) 453-3150 or visit www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/knowyourzone.htm.
  2. Storm Surge Protector: Learn what the storm surge vulnerability of any address in the county is, based on evacuation zone, and see how vulnerability becomes greater in higher evacuation zones. Visit http://egis.pinellascounty.org/apps/stormsurgeprotector/index.html.
  3. Social Media: Pinellas County uses Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor to share valuable preparedness information and emergency information.
  4. Hurricane Talks: Our speaker’s bureau will talk to your organization or social group about preparing for a hurricane. Call (727) 464-4600 or visit www.pinellascounty.org/speak.
  5. 2016 All-Hazard Guide: Available at libraries, city halls, government offices and community centers.
  6. Emergency Management Website: Visit www.pinellascounty.org/emergency for access to comprehensive preparedness information.

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Interactive Maps

On our website, you can see your Evacuation Zone, Flood Zone and also use our Storm Surge Protector App, which gives you a 3-D model of how high storm surge would reach at your home during a hurricane: www.pinellascounty.org/flooding/maps.htm.

Flood Zone Evacuation Zone Storm Surge Protector Current Water Levels
Find your flood zone Find your evacuation zone Storm Surge Protector Water Atlas Mapper

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Preparedness spotlight

Know Your Flood Zone

If you live away from the coast, you may be safe from storm surge during a hurricane, but a heavy rain event could still flood your property. Find your FEMA Flood Zone on Pinellas County’s map application. All you have to do is put in your address and you’ll see where flood waters would rise during a major rain event when 12 inches or more falls within 24 hours. You can find the map at www.pinellascounty.org/flooding or by clicking here.  

Flood Zones vs. Evacuation Zones
Wind-driven hurricane storm surge Rising waters from heavy rain
Based on ground elevation and proximity to water Based on flood risk over period of years for insurance purposes
Determined by National Hurricane Center Set by Federal Emergency Management Agency

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