Floridians spend half the year on the lookout for hurricanes. When June approaches, it’s time to do an annual check-up on your hurricane preparedness.
First, know in which evacuation zone you live. There are many ways to find out: visit www.pinellascounty.org to look up your area, or download the free Ready Pinellas App on your mobile device. The Pinellas County Interactive Hurricane Evacuation Inquiry Line is also available to answer any emergency-related questions: 727-453-3150.
In the event of a hurricane warning, emergency management and public safety officials will communicate important messages to the community through broadcast news, social media, and the radio. It’s crucial to monitor these communication channels so that you know if you need to evacuate.
Follow @PinellasCounty on Instagram, @PinellasCountyNews on Facebook, or @PinellasCoNews on Twitter so that if a disaster strikes, you’ll see important information in your news feed. You can also follow the #getreadypinellas hashtag to instantly view hurricane preparedness tips and significant alerts. For additional information from law enforcement, follow the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook @PinellasSheriff, or Twitter @SheriffPinellas.
If you live in the barrier islands, register for an emergency access permit, which allows you to re-enter your residential area after the storm. When a mandatory evacuation order is lifted, law enforcement officials will scan this card at designated re-entry points.
To see if your city is included in the barrier islands, and to register for your permit, visit www.pcsoweb.com/emergency-access-permit, or call the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at 727-582-6200. If you have an emergency access permit, you do not need to register for it again. Don’t wait until there is an emergency evacuation order to get your permit; they are available all year and are accessible through your city government.
Next, make travel plans in case you must evacuate, or you determine that your home can’t withstand hurricane-force winds. Stay with trusted family members and friends, if possible.
As a last resort, you can evacuate to an emergency shelter. A few of them are specifically designated for citizens with special needs. If you need transport assistance to any Pinellas County shelter, register in advance online: www.pinellascounty.org/specialneeds. For a full list of shelters, visit www.pinellascounty.org/emergency, or call the Citizen Information Center at 727-464-4333.
Lastly, create a hurricane survival kit that includes a battery-powered radio, water, flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food items, and a first-aid kit.
Sometimes Pinellas County ends up in the path of a hurricane, and other times we miss the storm. No matter what happens, stay prepared and informed this hurricane season.
Non Emergency Line: (727) 582-6200 | In an Emergency call 911ADA info