Santa Rosa County Division of Emergency Management’s latest all-hazards disaster guide is now available online at www.santarosa.fl.gov (click here for a direct link) and starting the week of June 3 at county offices and libraries, local chambers of commerce, and local retailers including Walmart, Winn Dixie and Publix. This year’s 56-page guide includes new and updated information on what to do before, during and after a wide variety of disasters that could impact our area. Churches, civic groups, and businesses may request multiple copies at no charge for distribution as supplies allow by calling Santa Rosa County Emergency Management at  983-5360.



With hurricane season beginning Saturday, June 1, emergency management would like to remind citizens that the key to reducing the impact of a disaster on you and your family is to have a plan, get a kit and stay informed. Following the tips found in the latest disaster guide will reduce the stress of last minute preparations and can save lives, money, and help reduce damage to homes, boats and businesses. Residents are also encouraged to learn what hurricane evacuation zone they live in by visiting www.santarosa.fl.gov/gis before a storm threatens Santa Rosa County.



New for the 2013 hurricane season is the use of the terms “recommended” and “mandatory” when evacuation orders are issued.  If Santa Rosa County falls in the hurricane cone of probability, citizens should take the following actions if an evacuation is issued by emergency management for their hurricane evacuation zone:



•              Recommended evacuation - residents in the called evacuations zones are encouraged to seek refuge on their own initiative and independently find accommodations in a safe area, ideally with family or friends living in an area not within the called evacuation zone(s).



•              Mandatory evacuation - residents in a specific zone must evacuate the area of danger. It is illegal to stay in a home under a mandatory evacuation order. During a mandatory evacuation, there will be no excessive force used to remove patrons, but next of kin or emergency contact information will be requested. Access to areas may be restricted for the sole purpose of property protection.



Santa Rosa County Emergency Management issues the annual free publication as a general guideline to follow when preparing for disasters.  As seen in the past, hurricanes are not the only disasters that face residents.  Santa Rosa County Emergency Management urges citizens to be prepared and have a plan for all potential disasters.  The disaster guide is funded by an Emergency Management Preparedness and Assistance Base grant for public awareness and education.