June 1 marked the official start of the 2017 Hurricane season and I urge Pasco residents to have a detailed plan to prepare their property and loved ones for any possible damage from any storms that may affect our county in the next five months.
Although Pasco residents on the West side of the county have experienced the pain of flooding several times over the last few years, we have not had any hurricane damage here since the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Don’t become complacent! All areas west of U.S. 19 are in a flood zone should a direct hit from a hurricane occur. And as we found out from the storms of ’04-’05, wind damage is possible anywhere in the state when a hurricane passes through.
Steps you need to take before a hurricane approaches:
- Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay.
- Put together a disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, required medicine, first aid supplies, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate. Remember to also have a plan for pets.
- If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
- Learn how to prepare your home from wind damage before a storm threatens your area.
- Consider insuring your home or business from flood loss.
- Make sure that all other aspects of your home are as protected from hurricanes as possible.
- Make a family emergency communication plan. Your loved ones need to know how to contact you before the storm, and especially afterwards, when communication infrastructure may be damaged or overwhelmed.
Pasco county government has launched a new emergency notification system called Alert Pasco, which you can find at http://egov.pascocountyfl.net/AlertPasco/. You must register to be part of the system, and we encourage all Pasco County residents to sign up.
The MyPasco phone app is available for download at http://fl-pascocounty.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=2248 and has all kinds of emergency information, including storm tracking, interactive evacuation maps, and an electronic version of the 2017 Disaster Planning Guide and a link to sign up for Alert Pasco.
All of this information is also available on Pasco Emergency Management’s website at PascoEmergencyManagement.com.
During times of emergency, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office website at PascoSheriff.com, and our Facebook and Twitter social media platforms are here to provide the most up-to-date information to citizens.