Prepare now for a hurricane

Hurricane Florence

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PINELLAS COUNTY — Last year around this time, Pinellas County was getting battered by Hurricane Irma, and this year with three storms spinning in the Atlantic at this moment, it’s time to get prepared!

All residents and businesses should make sure that their personal emergency plans are in place and that their storm preparedness kits are completed. The kits should include the essential items family members (including pets) will need to survive at least one week without power, sewer service or clean drinking water.

Those who would need help in the case of an evacuation can pre-register for transportation assistance to a special needs shelter at www.pinellascounty.org/specialneeds. For information on finishing up emergency plans, visit www.pinellascounty.org/emergency or www.duke-energy.com/stormsafety.

Basic storm preparedness kit

Your kit should include the basics: what you and your family will need to survive at least one week. Here are some basic supplies:

ð   Water – 1 gallon of water per person per day

ð   Non-perishable food

ð   Non-electric can opener

ð   Medications and copies of prescriptions (ask your pharmacist for a printout. Get refills without having to wait, once an Emergency Declaration is called.)

ð   Rain gear

ð   Flashlight or lantern

ð   Battery-operated or hand-cranked radio

ð   Extra batteries

ð   First aid supplies

ð   Wipes, antibacterial hand gel

ð   Hearing aids, eyeglasses, contact lenses

ð   Extra bottled oxygen if dependent on it

ð   Small generator for electrically dependent equipment like an oxygen concentrator or nebulizer

ð   Cash

ð   Books, cards, board games

ð   Full tank of gas in vehicle

ð   Cell phone with charger

ð   Sunscreen

ð   Insect Repellant

Important documents

Take photos of your documents for backup. Put paper copies together in a sealed plastic bag.

ð   Driver license or ID card

ð   Emergency Access Permit for barrier island residents/ businesses

ð   Social Security card

ð   Important numbers and emergency contacts

ð   Medical records – pharmacy prescription record, doctors, medications, dosages, blood type

ð   Insurance policies for home, health, flood, auto, renters

ð   Titles to house, cars

ð   Pay stubs for disaster assistance eligibility

ð   Household inventory for insurance claims – photo or video documentation stored online

ð   Other irreplaceable papers – e.g. birth, marriage, divorce, death and adoption certificates, passports, military records, wills, trust documents

ð   Account numbers for bank, credit cards, savings and investments

Special Needs Shelter Locations:

Assistance at a special needs shelter is limited to basic medical monitoring and back-up electricity for lighting. The shelter will be inside a school and will likely be crowded and noisy.

Cots may not be available for everyone. While this is a safer location to ride out a storm, it is not for everyone. Many citizens require more comfortable accommodations as mobility restrictions make it impossible to sleep on the floor or a cot.

Please call Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center Department of Emergency Management to find out when the shelters are open at (727) 464-3800.

  • Dunedin Middle School - 70 Patricia Ave., Dunedin

  • Oak Grove Middle School - 1370 S. Belcher Rd., Clearwater

  • John Hopkins Middle School - 701 16th St. S., St. Petersburg

Residents with special needs should register:

Residents with certain medical conditions can get help during an evacuation. Special needs shelters will open for those requiring minimal medical assistance.

If you need transportation to a shelter, pre-registration is required. If you have your own transportation to a special needs shelter, pre-registration is not required, but is strongly recommended.

For those requesting transportation assistance, your local fire department will contact you before an evacuation. You may bring your caregiver and/or family with you to a special needs shelter.

Please note…you are not obligated to go to a special needs shelter once registered if you have made other safe and secure arrangements.

Residents with special needs should register:

Residents with certain medical conditions can get help during an evacuation. Special needs shelters will open for those requiring minimal medical assistance.

If you need transportation to a shelter, pre-registration is required. If you have your own transportation to a special needs shelter, pre-registration is not required, but is strongly recommended. For those requesting transportation assistance, your local fire department will contact you before an evacuation. You may bring your caregiver and/or family with you to a special needs shelter. Please note….you are not obligated to go to a special needs shelter once registered if you have made other safe and secure arrangements.

 

To Register Online:

Other ways to Register:

  • Call Pinellas County Emergency Management at (727) 464-3800 to receive a form by mail.

  • Call your nearest fire department or home health care provider.

  • Once registered, your application will be reviewed. If we need additional information, or if other options are available to you, we will contact you at the phone number you provided.

  • Service animals that have been individually trained to do work or perform a task for a person with a disability are allowed in any shelter; there is no registration requirement.

  • Pets are only allowed in pet-friendly shelters. If you are registered for a special needs shelter and you have no other options for your pet, call Pinellas County Animal Services at (727) 582-2600 to register your pet. Animal Services will make arrangements for your pet to be taken to a host home. Pets will not be allowed to stay in the special needs shelter.

What to expect from a special needs shelter:

The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County and School Board staff these shelters with nurses and other medical personnel. Oxygen is available, but air conditioning may not be available if power is interrupted.

Before going to a shelter, arrange to bring at least a two-week supply of any medications you need along with any needed portable equipment. If you have special diet requirements, be sure to pack your own special nonperishable snacks. For your own comfort, bring items such as bedding, sheets, pillows and blankets. Cots are available only on a limited basis and are not guaranteed.

Special needs shelters do not have hospital beds and cannot assist those with acute medical problems.

 

On track with transportation:

For those who need to evacuate, but don’t have their own transportation, a hurricane can cause anxiety. Pinellas County officials want to make sure that everyone can get to safe shelter.

If you sign up for the special needs registry, you will be asked about your transportation plans. If you need a ride to a shelter, your local fire department will be in contact with you to make arrangements when the time comes to evacuate.

If you don’t require special needs transport, PSTA buses will run nearly all their routes until it’s no longer safe to travel. During an evacuation, buses will also run from transfer stations to local shelters.

All rides are free during an evacuation. Be prepared in advance by locating your nearest bus stop. Some people may not qualify for special needs transport, cannot ride the bus and have no other means of transportation to evacuate.

If you are in that situation, contact your local fire department or the Department of Emergency Management, in advance, for special assistance. Take advantage of the help that is there for you. Don’t stay in a dangerous situation just because you don’t have your own ride. Call the PSTA InfoLine (727) 540-1900.

For current route information during a storm go to www.psta.net/weatheralert.php.

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