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Q. Should I evacuate if a hurricane comes this year?

A. The greatest threat to life from a hurricane is storm surge flooding, so if you are in an ordered evacuation zone, low-lying flood area or in a mobile home, the life-safety risk of a hurricane will be greater than the risk of COVID-19 exposure. On the other hand, if you are not in an ordered evacuation zone, low-lying flood prone area, mobile home or unsafe structure, then it may be safer to stay in your home. Always heed the advice and orders of local officials during a storm.

Q. How do I know if my home is strong enough to shelter in during a hurricane?

A. If you are in an evacuation zone that is ordered to evacuate by local authorities or in a flood zone, you should evacuate no matter what. If you are not in any of these areas, then it may be safer for you to stay in your home. While it is the responsibility of the homeowner to know if their home is strong enough to withstand a hurricane, generally homes built after 2002 include features that make them more resilient to hurricanes. There are also improvements you can make to your home to strengthen it against future storms. Know your home and learn more by visiting https://floridadisaster.org/planprepare/secure-your-home/

Q. What can I do to make my home stronger?

A. The most important precaution you can take to reduce damage to your home and property is to protect the areas where wind can enter. According to recent wind technology research, it's important to strengthen the exterior of your house so wind and debris do not tear large openings in it. Learn more by visiting https://floridadisaster.org/planprepare/secure-your-home/

Q. How will I know if I’m ordered to evacuate?

A. Monitor local news and pay attention to alerts from authorities. Evacuation zones are designated from A to F. Generally, Zone A is most vulnerable and most likely to be evacuated first, and Zone F is most likely to be evacuated last. Take the time now to find out which zone you are in and remember to pay attention to local authorities during a storm to find out if an evacuation is ordered. Know your zone today by visiting https://myescambia.com/apps/knowyourzone/.

Q. If I need to evacuate or stay in a shelter, what should I bring with me?

A. In addition to the supplies that you would normally bring, make sure that you have hand sanitizer, masks and other materials to protect yourself from COVID-19.

Q. What supplies do I need to be ready for a hurricane?

A. Check out this disaster supply checklist and use it to make sure you have what you need: https://floridadisaster.org/globalassets/plan--prepare/disaster-supply-checklist.pdf

Q. If I need to evacuate my home will I have to stay in a public shelter?

A. If you need to evacuate, your safest and easiest option may be to stay with friends or family who live outside the evacuation zone or in a stronger house. Check with nearby friends and family now and have a plan in place for what to do if you are ordered to evacuate. Shelter information can be found at: https://myescambia.com/our-services/public-safety/beready/hurricane-shelters.

Q. If I need to stay in a shelter, will I be exposed to COVID-19?

A. The state has been working with CDC, FEMA, and the American Red Cross to develop guidance for counties ahead of the 2020 Hurricane Season. This includes non-congregate sheltering plans, maintaining 6 feet social distancing between families, taking temperatures and screening individuals prior to entry, routine cleaning and disinfecting, and designated isolation areas in case an individual in the shelter becomes ill.
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