Storm surge inundation can put much of Nassau County under water (especially the island!) interrupt utility service and close roads for extended periods, not only to the public but emergency and repair vehicles as well. If you have nowhere to go when told to evacuate, Nassau County has wind-rated buildings outside of flood zones that will be opened as short-term public shelters. See where your closest general population, pet-friendly, and special needs shelter is located at www.nassaufl-em.com. If you or a loved one intend to use a public shelter and require daily medical assistance, you must register in advance so that shelter managers can prepare for your stay. Go to www.nassaufl-em.com/peoplewithneeds.asp to complete and submit your registration form before hurricane season begins June 1st.
Florida residents should have emergency kits ready to take with them during an evacuation, or to sustain them after a disaster until public services resume. Have at least an extra week’s worth of necessary medications available at all times – talk with your doctor or pharmacist about your “emergency kit medications”. Make digital (scan to CD or thumb-drive) or paper copies of important photos and documents/records (e.g. account numbers, insurance policies, registrations, insurance numbers, contact numbers and medication lists) and put them in a water-tight plastic bag (like a large Ziploc® Freezer Bag). Have a bottle of plain bleach to disinfect surfaces and water. An emergency food and water supply doesn’t have to sit on a shelf waiting for disaster to strike (although it can); it can be part of the food you use every day. The key to a good preparedness plan is to buy things ahead of time. Keep a gallon jug filled with drinking water for each person in your household. Plan to keep a few days’ supply of food on hand at all times: replace items before they run out and buy staple items when they are on sale. A large duffle bag or plastic tub with a lid makes a great storage place for an emergency food supply. Make sure your family, including pets, will have what they need when disaster strikes.
The Nassau County Citizen’s Alert System can warn you of dangerous weather conditions in time to take action before a storm or tornado strikes, and it’s free! Go to www.nassaufl-em.com and click on the Citizen Alerts link to get registered; just choose a username and password, enter your physical address and a couple of ways to reach you (i.e. phone, text, e-mail), then choose which alerts you want to receive. Once you save that information you can edit your profile to specify a “quiet time” for the alerts so messages that can wait until morning don’t disturb your sleep. Notifications about life-threatening conditions requiring immediate action, such as an active tornado in the area, will still be received. Alerting preferences can be changed by the registered user at any time; call Nassau County Emergency Management at 548-0900 if you have difficulties.
Do One Thing toward emergency preparedness this month – sign up for free Nassau County Emergency Alert Notifications today! More emergency preparedness information can be found at www.floridadisaster.org
-Martha L. Wagaman, Senior Planner
Nassau County Emergency Management