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Tampa Bay-area leaders, first responders urge preparedness on Day 1 of hurricane season

Leaders, along with TECO, shared plans and resources to help people should a hurricane affect their homes.

TAMPA, Fla. — On this first day of hurricane season, city leaders and first responders are urging you to prepare.

With an above-average season forecasted by NOAA, City of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor stressed non-complacency and the need for personal responsibility to ensure everyone can stay safe.

“We want everyone again to be prepared. To pay attention. Make sure that you have the necessary supplies,” Castor said.

Officials are urging residents to stock up on necessary supplies and take advantage of the sales tax holiday running until June 10.

They also said people need to be aware of evacuation zones and if they live in an area prone to flooding. 

There are changes to the evacuation zones. For instance, neighbors in parts of East Tampa and Seminole Heights are now included.

“Do not wait until the last minute,” Tampa Fire Rescue Chief Barbara Tripp said. “We will be there to support you, but you have to understand safety and preparation is a big key.”

Officials also unveiled special equipment ready to be used for rescues. 

Tampa police shared a high-water rescue vehicle and other equipment used to clear roads from trees and debris to help first responders complete their missions.

The Tampa Bay area hasn’t seen a hurricane since 1921 and city leaders said that may be a reason for residents not to take the next six months seriously.

Tampa Electric also unveiled its plans for hurricane season, which included a new “self-healing” technology aimed to isolate outages and routes power around the problem without sending a crew to the field, the company stated.

TECO announced it has invested more than $120 million to strengthen systems against severe weather, which includes replacing or reinforcing power poles and trimming tree branches or limbs from power lines.

The city of Tampa also highlighted sources for residents related to a hurricane. Use the hashtag #TampaReady for more information.

Ready, a national public service campaign formed to help prepare people for natural disasters, recommends you have two kits: a basic kit and a kit with additional emergency supplies.

An emergency supply list should include:

  • At least a three day supply of water
  • At least a three day supply of non-perishable food for each person and pet
  • Change of clothing
  • A blanket or sleeping bag
  • A first aid kit
  • Battery-powered weather radio, cell phone, charger (if you can invest in a couple of portable chargers, even better!)
  • Emergency toolkit
  • Flashlights
  • Cash
  • Extra car and house keys
  • Medicines and any special items

To view all evacuation zones in Hillsborough county, click here. 

For more information on flood maps and evacuation zones in Pinellas County, click here.

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