Authorities in Pasco County Florida initiated an evacuation order earlier today. Voluntary evacuations were also issued for locations for Clay, Suwannee, Wakulla and Taylor counties as well. Shelters are open in numerous locations for residents across the state. Otherwise, residents were warned to stay home and off the roads.
Stay tuned to the local radio and television stations for emergency broadcasts. If you are ordered to evacuate, do so immediately.
Here are some tips to help you during this crisis:
1. Make sure you have your family and pets together and ready to evacuate. Do not leave your pet at home.
2. Take your emergency kit if ready or attempt to grab as much of the kit as quickly as possible. See hurricane emergency kit. Also, take all important documents, files, back up, emergency contact information with you.
3. If you are a business, let employees, customers and vendors know your continuity plans. Make sure your employees have a ride to safety.
4. Turn Off electricity, water and gas.
5. If you must evacuate your property, make sure you secure it. Lock Windows and Doors.
6. Determine your evacuation options. Get to a flood free zone or emergency shelter as soon as possible. For help finding a shelter, contact your local emergency management office.
If you need information to help you with evacuating a person with special needs, refer to this document on Evacuating Vulnerable Populations
- Protect Windows and Doors. Secure your property with sandbags if needed.
- Get Clean Containers for Drinking Water as well as sinks for storing cleaning water. Plan on three gallons per person per day, for all uses.
- If a business, offer your facility as shelter to employees and their families who live in vulnerable areas or mobile homes. This will benefit your operations but may have some liability. Check first with legal representation. Likewise, offer your home to friends and family as shelter.
- Check your emergency kit. Make Sure to have at least a two-week supply of non-perishable foods. Don’t forget a non-electric can opener.
- During the storm, everyone should stay inside and away from windows, skylights and glass doors. If the storm becomes severe, find a safe area to stay in (an interior reinforced room, closet or bathroom on the lower floor are good options).
- Acquaint yourself with evacuation routes and make certain you have an evacuation plan for your entire family and pets.
- Wait for official word that the danger is over. Don’t be fooled by the storm’s calm “eye”. Check with trusted sources such as the National Hurricane Center.
- If flooding threatens your property, electricity should be turned off at the main breaker.
- If your home loses power, turn off major appliances, such as the air conditioner and water heater, to reduce damage.
If at any time you feel you are in danger or an emergency threatens your well-being, make sure your emergency plan has the number of the Florida Emergency Information Line (FEIL): 1-800-342-3557.
If you experiencing flood damage, please call 1-800-DRY-ME-OUT as soon as possible.