August 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

After a wet start to hurricane season with Tropical Storm Colin forming in the first weekend of June, we haven't seen much storm activity brewing off of Florida's coast. That early season storm was a good reminder of how quickly tropical weather can develop this time of year. On the first day of Hurricane Season, Wednesday, June 1, the forecast still looked fairly quiet. By the end of that weekend, we were ramping up for heavy rains and possible flooding.

For residents who don't already have a survival kit, perhaps you should consider Tropical Storm Colin as a warning sign. Now is the time to get out your checklist and see what your family would need if a hurricane was heading our way this weekend. The first thing most people think of in a hurricane is the immediate dangers from the storm surge and wind. When it comes to building a survival kit, though, you have to consider what life will be like in the days and weeks after a major storm. Imagine life without power, water or safe roads to take you to the grocery store. Think through what your family would need to get by for at least a week without these necessities.

Does all this preparation sound overwhelming? Actually, most of the things you need could fit in a plastic storage bin in your garage. You can check off the items you'll need in this newsletter or you can go to this link and print out the first section of our 2016 All Hazard Guide, which lays out 5 Steps you should take to prepare for any emergency. You may want to print out that list and take it with you to the store.

When we go through long spells of hot, dry weather, it's easier to become complacent about preparing for a hurricane. Consider this: historically, September is the peak of tropical storm activity and the last time Pinellas County was directly hit by a hurricane it occurred in late October. Whatever weather patterns we've experienced so far this summer do not accurately predict what will happen through the remainder of the season.

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BUILD A SURVIVAL KIT

Have you determined whether you can safely stay at home during a hurricane or if you'd have to evacuate to a friend's home, a shelter or another location? That decision will dictate how you pack for a possible storm.   If you are staying with family or friends, be sure to consider what you can bring to contribute to their food and water requirements, and if you have a pet, don't forget pet food and supplies.

Use Pinellas County's Know Your Zone app to find out your evacuation zone in a storm. If you live in an evacuation zone or if your home would not be safe in a major storm, you should pack a Go Bag with the basic items you'd need in an evacuation. Find your zone.   If your home is in a Level B, C, D or E evacuation zone, and it's not a mobile home, you need to be prepared with a 'staying at home survival kit' as well since your evacuation level may not be ordered to leave.  

Evacuation - Go Bag Suggestions

  • Vital papers & ID
  • Cash
  • Phone number list
  • Medications and copies of prescription paperwork
  • Eyeglasses
  • Water and non-perishable food/snacks
  • Bedding
  • Hygiene items
  • Change of clothes, rain gear
  • Kids' supplies and entertainment

Staying at Home - Survival Kit

If you expect to stay in your home through a major storm, pack at least a one-week supply of fluids and non-perishable food that doesn't require cooking, such as dried fruit, canned tuna, peanut butter, etc. Also consider these necessities:

  • Water – at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for drinking/hygiene
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Medications and copies of prescriptions
  • Battery-operated or hand-cranked radio
  • Paper plates, plastic cups and utensils
  • Cooler with ice
  • Utility knife
  • Clothing/Bedding
  • One change of clothes and shoes per person
  • Rain gear
  • Sturdy work shoes
  • Blankets and sleeping bags
  • Flashlight or lantern
  • Cell phone with charger, extra battery and solar charger
  • Contacts in mobile device and in print for backup
  • Extra batteries
  • Matches or lighter in waterproof container
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Rope or elastic cord
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Tools, including wrench to shut off water
  • Map with shelter locations
  • Paper and pencil
  • Tarps
  • Pet food and supplies if you have pets

Health and Sanitation Supplies

  • First aid supplies – antibacterial hand gel, soap, over-the-counter pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medicine/laxative, anti-itch cream, antiseptic
  • Sanitation – toilet paper, hygiene supplies, e.g. towelettes, feminine supplies
  • Portable toilet – 5-gallon bucket with lid, trash bags, chlorine bleach
  • Household chlorine bleach with medicine dropper to disinfect or treat water
  • Do not use scented, color safe or bleach with added cleaners

Other Supplies

  • Cash or travelers checks
  • Books, cards, board games for entertainment
  • Full tank of gas in vehicle

Document Checklist

If you had to leave your home in a hurry, do you have backup copies of your personal documents? Are they stored in a safe place?

  • Driver license or ID card
  • Important numbers and emergency contacts
  • Medical records – pharmacy prescription record, doctors, medications, dosages, blood type
  • Insurance policy numbers – home, health, flood, auto, renters
  • Household inventory for insurance claims – photo documentation stored on backup drive
  • Other irreplaceable papers – e.g. birth, marriage, divorce, death and adoption certificates, passports, military records, wills, trust documents, titles to house or cars
  • Account numbers for bank, credit cards, savings and investments

Special Considerations

Follow these links to learn what extra items you should pack if you have pets, kids or if you are a resident with special needs.

Preparedness spotlight: Medications in emergencies

Did you know that restrictions on refills are suspended by state law when a hurricane warning is issued for your area, when the Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center is activated or when the governor has declared a state of emergency?

As soon as you hear a hurricane is coming, get a refill!

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