Reduce your risks of property damage, injuries or potential loss of life by preparing for hurricane season. NOAA forecasters are predicting a normal hurricane season for 2012, with 9-15 named storms of which 4-8 are expected to become hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).
Steps to take Before the Storm
- Become aware of the potential hazards that can develop between June 1 and November 30 in Pinellas County by picking up a "Surviving the Storm" hurricane guide at any City Facility. You can also visit Pinellas County's Emergency Management website by clicking here.
- Find out if you are in an evacuation area. Identify your evacuation route and destination, or a safe area in your home.
- Develop a Family Disaster Plan. Talk to your family, neighbors, and co-workers to make a plan of what to do before, during and after a hurricane or natural disaster. Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org for more information.
- Practice your plan and make sure each member of your family understands what to do.
- Create a disaster survival kit that includes a battery-powered NOAA weather alert radio.
- Inventory your property, review insurance policies and keep your home in good repair. Visit www.mysafefloridahome.com for information on how to harden your home against hurricanes.
- Tune into WEOC 940 AM on your radio for Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) updates.
NOAA Weather Alert Radio
A battery-powered NOAA weather alert radio (NWR) is a vital part of your disaster survival kit that will enable you to have a direct link to the National Weather Service for up-to-date hazardous weather information. Citizens with NOAA weather alert radios can tune in to 162.55 MHz for Pinellas County information or 162.450 MHz for marine based weather radio updates.
You can call FEMA at 1-800-480-2520 for a free printed copy of Are You Ready? A Guide to Citizen Preparedness publication or download the NOAA Hurricane Safety Brochure. Tune into InSight, Knology Channel 15 and Bright House Channel 615, for sandbag program and safety reminders.
View the Safety Harbor Evacuation Zones by Street Number (Excel Spreadsheet) or view a map of Safety Harbor Evacuation Zones. Evacuation zones can also be found in the "Surviving the Storm" hurricane guide.
Notice on Using Portable Generators
Many citizens in preparation for hurricane season are purchasing portable generators to use in the event of temporary power loss. A word of caution: if using these devices, be sure to take the necessary precautions to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and read the manual that comes with the generator.
Rules and Tips for Using Portable Generators
- Never run the portable generator indoors, including garages, basements and crawlspaces.
- If you begin to feel dizzy or weak, get to fresh air immediately.
- If you experience serious symptoms, get medical attention immediately and inform medical staff that CO poisoning is expected.
- If you were inside when experiencing these symptoms, have someone contact the Fire Department to inspect the building and deem if/when it is safe to re-enter the building.
- Close supervision is essential - electrocution is a high risk to adults, children and pets. Be sure to use proper extension cords and don't connect into house wiring unless a licensed electrician provides an approved transfer switch on an emergency circuit.
- Refueling a hot or running generator is a grave risk of an unwanted fire. Always be careful with extra fuel and make sure it is stored properly away from ignition sources.
The Safety Harbor Fire Rescue encourages you to be safe and avoid the potential for injury or loss of life by following these rules and other directives issued in the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's Safety Alert on Portable Generator Hazards. Every year, people die in incidents related to portable generator hazards, and according to statistics reported to the CPSC, this is mainly due to CO poisoning from generators used indoors or in partially enclosed spaces. Carbon monoxide cannot be smelled or seen, and generators produce high levels of CO very quickly. Time is of the essence if you believe you have been exposed to CO. Get to fresh air immediately and do not delay.
Remember, it is in your best interest to call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency and teach your children when and how to call 9-1-1 so the Safety Harbor Fire Rescue team or the next closest rescue team available from a surrounding community can provide you with their best service. Be prepared and safe this hurricane season.