Planning for an emergency will help you and your loved ones stay safe and connected if a disaster occurs.
The three most important things to know before hurricane season are 1) your home’s evacuation zone; 2)
where to go if you need to evacuate and; 3) what your disaster plan is. Manatee County residents can find
out this crucial information by visiting mymanatee.org/information or by calling 311.
First, have a disaster plan ready. Write out the steps and share them with your family and friends. You
should include steps that focus on a pre-storm plan and a post-storm plan. Remember to print important
documents (e.g., emergency phone numbers, insurance information) before a hurricane strikes. Power
outages during and after a hurricane can prevent you from accessing information online when you most
need it. You should also prepare a supply kit lasting longer than seven days and having supplies such as
hand sanitizer, face masks and disinfectant wipes to prevent germs from spreading.
To know when to evacuate for hurricane surge flooding, you should know your evacuation zone. You can
easily look up your home’s evacuation zone by searching for your address at mymanatee.org/information.
If you live in a zone that has been ordered to evacuate, you should get out. I advise all residents and visitors
to plan where you will shelter and have travel routes mapped ahead of time.
As Manatee County continues to follow CDC guidelines, we currently have reduced capacity in our shelters,
so it is even more important to have alternative plans to shelter somewhere else. Please keep in mind that
evacuating and seeking a shelter will look very different in the COVID-19 era. Local shelters should be a last
resort if you need to evacuate. If you find yourself in an area that’s under evacuation orders, it’s best to stay
with a friend or family member in an area outside of the evacuation area. Hotels out of the evacuation area
are another option. Shelters provide a safe structure with limited resources, no beds, no cots, no privacy, no
blankets and no showers.
In addition, Manatee County offers a special-needs registry, which is designed to assist residents of Manatee
County who will require transportation or sheltering assistance when the citizen is notified to evacuate
their residence because of a storm. Residents can register online at mymanatee.org or by calling 311.
I encourage all residents to sign up for ‘Alert Manatee’ to receive emergency notifications such as
evacuation notices, weather warnings and hazardous traffic or road conditions. You can opt to receive
notifications by phone call, text, or email. Additionally, stay tuned to the radio and TV for weather updates,
emergency instructions or even direct evacuation orders. Visit the county’s website at www.mymanatee.
org/ManateeReady for readiness tips and be sure to follow our social media accounts for news straight
from county officials. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/manateecounty.fl and Twitter @
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Remember to have a disaster plan, know when to and where to evacuate and
consider volunteering when the need arises. “It only takes one”.
MANATEE COUNTY’S EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT CHIEF