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Brady Smith , AICP
4000 Gateway Centre Blvd.
Pinellas Park, Florida 33782
Phone: (727)570-5151 ext. 42
4000 Gateway Centre Blvd. Suite 100
Phone: (727)570-5151 ext. 29
Take Action Now - The hurricane season is June through November. Be Prepared!
- Know your risk! Refer to the Hurricane Evacuation Map. Locate where you live and your evacuation level (color). Determine if and when you would have to evacuate. REMEMBER: All mobile home residents must evacuate, regardless of location.
- Decide NOW where you would go if ordered to evacuate (a friend or relative, a hotel, out of the region or, as a last resort, to a shelter). If you are going to leave the region or go to a hotel, you must leave early. Determine your route.
- Keep home in good repair. Tack down loose roofing and siding. Trim dead or broken branches from trees.
- Make the minor improvements, such as bracing the gable ends of roofs, needed to make your home safer. Contact a professional engineer, licensed contractor or architect to inspect your home for structural integrity or go to www.mysafeflorida.org.
- Make plans and purchase materials to protect your home before the storm (plywood, shutters; plastic sheeting, nails, etc.).
- Purchase a battery-powered NOAA weather alert radio.
- Inventory your property (a video tape is excellent). Store with insurance and title papers in a safe place and send a copy to a relative out of the area.
- Make sure your address (number) is clearly marked on your home.
- Whether you rent or own your home, review your insurance policies with your agent now.
Saffin-Simpson Hurricane Scale
|5||Above 155 mph||Catastrophic|
As the storm approaches
These Simple Tasks Could Save Your Life And Your Home.
- Listen for weather updates on local stations, government access channels and on NOAA Weather Radio. Don't trust rumors, and stay tuned to the latest information.
- Check your Disaster Supplies Kit. Obtain any needed items.
- Refill prescriptions. Maintain at least a two week supply during hurricane season.
- Clear yard of potential flying debris, e.g. lawn furniture, potted plants, bicycles and trash cans.
- Protect your windows and glass doors! Brace double entry and garage doors at the top and bottom.
- Fill your car's gas tank and check oil, water and tires. Gas pumps don't operate without electricity.
- Secure your boat early. Drawbridges will be closed to boat traffic after an evacuation order is issued.
- Leave the swimming pool filled and super-chlorinated. (Cover the filtration system.)
- Get cash. Banks and ATMs won't be in operation without electricity and few stores will be able to accept credit cards or personal checks.
If you Can Stay Home
If you live in a sound structure outside the evacuation area and do not live in a mobile home, stay home! Do not get on congested evacuation routes and try to outrun the storm.
- Make sure your windows are protected and home is secured.
- Offer your home as shelter to friends or relatives who live in vulnerable areas or mobile homes.
- Clean containers for drinking water and your bath tub for storing cleaning water. Line the tub with plastic sheeting or clean shower curtain, or caulk the drain with silicone caulking it will hold water for weeks and cleans up easily when dry. Plan on three gallons per person, per day for all uses.
- Make sure you have at least a two-week supply of non-perishable foods. Don't forget a non-electric can opener.
- During the storm, stay inside and away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Find a safe area in your home an interior, reinforced room, closet or bathroom on the lower floor.
- Wait for official word that the danger is over. Don't be fooled by the storm's calm "eye."
- If you lose power, turn off major appliances, such as the air conditioner and water heater to reduce damage.
- If flooding threatens your home, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
If you must evacuate
Stay tuned to your local radio and television stations and government access channels for emergency broadcasts. If ordered to evacuate, you must do so immediately.
- Take your Disaster Supply Kit with you!
- Take important papers with you, including your driver's license, special medical information, insurance policies and property inventories.
- Let friends and relatives know where you are going. Make sure your neighbors have a safe ride.
- Turn off electricity, water & gas.
- Lock windows and doors.
After the Storm
After a disaster, you may be without power, water, food or any of the services and businesses we rely on. Immediate response may not be possible, so residents must be prepared to be self-reliant for several weeks.
- BE PATIENT. Access to affected areas will be controlled. You won't be able to return to your home until search and rescue operations are complete and safety hazards, such as downed trees and power lines, are cleared. It may take 2-4 weeks before utilities are restored.
- Stay tuned to your local radio or TV station for advice and instructions about emergency medical aid, food and other forms of assistance.
- Have valid ID. Security operations will include check points. Valid identification with your current local address will be required.
- Avoid driving. Roads will have debris which will puncture your tires! Don't add to the congestion of relief workers, supply trucks, law enforcement, etc.
- Don't sight see, especially at night.
For Your Safety
- Avoid downed or dangling utility wires, especially when cutting or clearing fallen trees. Metal fences may have been "energized" by fallen wires.
- Beware of snakes, insects or animals driven to higher ground by floods.
- Enter your home with caution. Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
- If there has been flooding, have an electrician inspect your home or office before turning on the breaker.
- Be careful with fire. Do not strike a match until you are sure there are no breaks in gas lines. Avoid candles. Use battery-operated flashlights and lanterns instead.
- Keep grills outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
- Use your telephone only for emergencies to keep lines open for emergency communications.
Fueled by gas, generators can run appliances and fans. Sizes range from 750 watts which will run a fan and a light, up to 8,000 watts which will practically run a house (except for the air conditioner). Refrigerators require 400-1,000 watts. If you have lost power, don't connect a portable generator to building wiring (this could injure or kill neighbors or electrical crews). Plug appliances, etc., directly into the generator, place generator outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Don't forget to check the oil every time you add gas. Conserve fuel by alternating appliances. For example, refrigerators can be kept cool by supplying power eight hours a day.
- Make temporary repairs to correct safety hazards and minimize further damage. This may include covering holes in the roof, walls or windows and debris removal.
- Protect yourself from contractor fraud! Only hire licensed contractors to do repairs. Check with the local Building Department to ensure they are licensed and certified.
- Take photographs of all damage before repairs and keep receipts for insurance purposes.
- After assessing damage to your home, contact your local building department for information on required building permits. Permits are always required for any kind of demolition or permanent repairs, reconstruction, roofing, filling and other types of site development. Report illegal flood plain development to your local building department.
- Local ordinances do not permit dumping in drainage canals or ditches because it causes backups and overflow in the system. Report illegal dumping.
Whenever widespread flooding occurs, there is a potential for bacterial contamination. Bacteria, such as shigella and salmonella, can lead to life threatening dehydration for people and their pets if untreated by antibiotics. Disinfect any tap water you drink or use for cooking or cleaning. You must purify the tap water until officials notify you of its safety. Bring water to a rolling boil for a full 10 minutes or use chemicals (eight drops of chlorine bleach or iodine per gallon) or water purification tablets, as directed. Let the water sit at least 10 minutes before using. Water you saved in clean containers before the storm will be fine for 2-3 weeks.To be sure, add two drops of chlorine or iodine per gallon before drinking.
The hurricane can combine storm surge, powerful winds, tornadoes and torrential rains into a devastating combination.
Storm surge is an abnormal rise in sea level 50 to 100 miles wide that sweeps across the coast near where the eye of the hurricane makes landfall. The surge of high water, topped by waves, is devastating. Along the immediate coast, storm surge is the greatest threat to life and property. Most hurricane-related deaths are caused by drowning.
Hurricane force winds, 74 mph or more, can destroy buildings and mobile homes. Debris can become flying missiles in hurricanes. Winds often stay above hurricane strength well inland. If you do not have to evacuate, it is extremely important to secure your home and cover your windows before the storm. Remember, mobile homes are extremely vulnerable to high winds and should be evacuated regardless of location in the county.
Widespread torrential rains often in excess of 10 inches can produce destructive floods. This is a major threat to areas well inland.
Hurricanes also produce tornadoes, which add to the hurricane's destructive power.