June 2020

Important phone numbers and websites

Pinellas County Emergency Management Opens a new window (727) 464-3800 www.pinellascounty.org/emergency Opens a new window

Find your evacuation zone (727) 453-3150 http://kyz.pinellascounty.orgOpens a new window

Find your flood zone www.pinellascounty.org/flooding/fema_firm.htmOpens a new window

Special Needs RegistrationOpens a new window (727) 464-3800 https://specialneeds.pinellascounty.org/#!/loginOpens a new window

Pinellas County Emergency Management TwitterOpens a new window

Ready Pinellas Opens a new window app

Alert Pinellas Opens a new window Receive emergency alerts to your phone or email.

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

 

Pinellas County Emergency Management Director Cathie PerkinsFrom the desk of Cathie Perkins
Director of Pinellas County Emergency Management

Hurricane Season Begins June 1 with COVID-19 Challenges

COVID-19 has changed the way we all do business on a day-to-day basis. It is important to know that there is currently no vaccine or approved treatment for COVID-19, so we need to continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing. We should all be wearing masks when in public places, practicing good hand washing standards and minimizing how often we touch our faces.

Those who are elderly, or who have compromised immune systems, need to minimize their exposure to the public. Anyone showing signs of COVID-19 or who have tested positive must self-isolate to minimize exposing others.

With hurricane season starting June 1, COVID-19 will require that we make some changes in the way we plan for hurricanes. Now, we must think about how to remain safe from two hazards: COVID-19 and tropical storms. It can be done, but it will take additional planning.

Personal planning

Personal emergency planning in a COVID-19 environment is not that different than any other year when it comes to laying the foundation for a good plan. Carefully consider three things:

  1. Know your risk.
  2. Make a plan.
  3. Stay informed.
Happy family staying home, sitting outside

It is imperative that you know your evacuation zone, and assess your risk from flooding and wind. You can then determine if you can stay or if you have to go.

If you can stay at home, consider being a host home and asking someone who will need to evacuate to share your home. If you have to evacuate, ask a friend or family member if you could shelter with them. Please plan carefully with your co-shelter family. With COVID-19 in mind consider each family unit staying in separate rooms. Think about living areas and how you might stay separated, and think about kitchen and bathroom sharing.  If you are sharing a living space, with those you do not normally live with, have a face mask for everyone.

Buy soap, sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and prepare for loss of water by setting up a “washing station” with a large water jug, soap and paper towels. Some items may still be hard to find so consider alternatives.   As sanitizer becomes available, get some, but please don’t take more than you need, because everyone will need it and supplies may be limited for some time.

Planning for the public

For public shelters, we plan on increasing the amount of space per person/family with spacing between each group. Upon arrival, family units will be assigned to specific areas, where they will stay together. We are making arrangements for additional cleaning and sanitizer stations in as many locations as possible.

  • Pet-friendly shelters will have similar arrangements.
  • Special needs shelters will allow a unit to include close family and healthcare providers, with safe distancing between units.
  • Be prepared to bring sanitizer, sanitizer wipes (if available) and face masks. Cloth face coverings are acceptable. Learn what you can use and how to make your own face cloth covering on the CDC website.
  • Individuals who are showing signs of COVID-19 or who have tested positive will be sheltered in a separate facility.

Staying Informed

The key to success this hurricane season will be communication.

It is imperative that you tune in to reliable sources of information when a storm is forming and get updates on special instructions for evacuations so that you have time to prepare. You absolutely must listen to the major media outlets for these instructions and check the Pinellas County website for updates on evacuations and shelter openings. Sign up for Alert Pinellas to receive urgent information before, during and after the storm.

Over the last few months we have seen tremendous partnering and support for one another in our community.  If we continue to help one another we can face these challenges of hurricane season as well. I am asking you to help by making your plans now, help one another and be better prepared than ever.

Don’t wait, and be safe.

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2020 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

Supplies to help during a hurricane. Batteries, flashlight, bleach, drinking water, insect repellent, first aid kit

From May 29 – June 4 you can purchase qualifying items related to disaster preparedness exempt of sales tax.  Eligible items include:

  • Reusable ice
  • Flashlights, lanterns and candles
  • Gas or diesel fuel container
  • Batteries
  • Coolers and ice chests
  • Tarps, Portable generators
  • Bottled water
  • First Aid kits
  • Canned foods

For more information, see the Florida Department of Revenue website

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