FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. — As hurricane season quickly approaches, the Flagler County Emergency Management team is offering tips on how to best prepare for what the 2023 hurricane season brings.
Being prepared ahead of time and having evacuation routes ready are some key factors when it comes to getting ready for hurricane season.
“There are some key changes in how we will do our messaging and the calls-to-action that we will issue,” said Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord. “Last year, evacuation orders included neighborhoods and Zones A-F. To communicate with our community more clearly, this year we will only be announcing evacuations using neighborhood names or descriptions.”
In addition to the updated hurricane evacuation information, Emergency Management is moving away from closing the coastal island bridges, in most circumstances and instead will be providing more proactive public communications about when it is not safe to be on the road or bridge access is limited, according to a news release.
“With better storm prediction capabilities, we have a new map to help our community understand who may need to evacuate in a hurricane. This map includes an eastern Potential Hurricane Evacuation Zone and a western Potential Lake Flood Zone,” Lord said. “Our Geographic Information Systems team did a great job helping us to analyze the new data and create this map. You can go to the Emergency Management website and click on Hurricane Evacuation Zones now to enter your address to find out if your neighborhood is one that may be ordered to evacuate for a hurricane. It is important to note that every storm is different and the neighborhoods that we need to evacuate may change each time.”
Flagler County officials encourage all residents, businesses and visitors to follow these steps in order to prepare before storms roll in:
· Build a disaster supply kit - that contains food, water, medications, flashlights and batteries, and clothing to live “off the grid” for a full seven (7) days.
· Make a plan - that includes home or business structural preparation, where to stay if evacuated (shelters will open but are to be considered the option of last resort), how to communicate with loved ones, and consideration of any special needs that should be addressed.
· Be informed - sign up for emergency notifications at www.FlaglerCounty.gov/AlertFlagler, and have a battery-powered AM/FM radio.
· Get involved - register for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training and other volunteering and training opportunities by going to www.FlaglerCounty.gov/emergency and selecting “Volunteering & Training.”
For more guidance on how to prepare for and deal with disasters, download the countywide Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Guide at www.FlaglerCounty.gov/emergency, or pick-up a copy at any local library, the Flagler Beach Historical Museum, and many other government offices.
The latest version of this guide includes the new Potential Hurricane Evacuation Zones map.
“We encourage our community to take advantage of the upcoming statewide Disaster Sales Tax Holiday, to save money as you build or update your disaster supply kit,” Lord said. “It will likely begin Memorial Day Weekend, and we will provide updated information on our social media accounts as soon as it is available.”
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