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Hurricane season: Sarasota emergency management officials urge community to prepare ahead

Hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30.

SARASOTA, Fla. — The Atlantic Hurricane Season starts in two weeks and local emergency management officials say they are already prepared.

They have urged residents to also begin to make plans ahead of the start of the season which begins on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30.

Sarasota's emergency management leaders said they learned lessons from Hurricane Ian last year. 

"It only takes one storm, it only takes 20 miles, just a 20-mile shift and that could've been an entirely different storm for Sarasota County," Rich Collins, director of Sarasota County Emergency Services, said.

Collins said one of the biggest takeaways was to have a plan to help weather the storm in a safe area or for evacuation.

He said it is the resident's responsibility to be prepared and to know their own risk. 

Officials also said all residents, especially those who live in low-lying areas, on barrier islands and in mobile home parks, need to create an evacuation and communication plan.

"Taking action now means putting those things in place so that you have peace of mind. I have water, I have food. My shutters are ready. I know where I live. I know if I need to evacuate. I know where I'm going to go if I am going to evacuate. I know where my hurricane evacuation center is if that's where I need to go," Collins said.

Officials said those plans should include a disaster kit for family and pets, plans in case the power goes out for an extended time and arrangements for special needs and what that would entail.

"If you were a medical dependent person, in other words, you have mobility issues, you are oxygen dependent, you are power dependent. We want you to register now for the medical dependence program," Ed McCrane, chief of Sarasota County Emergency Management, said.

County officials said it is also most important to stay informed and up to date with the latest information for your region.

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