Since Hurricane Irma is still very much on our minds, now is the time for the City of Gulfport, city staff, elected officials, residents and businesses to do a thorough self-assessment of both our personal and municipal actions pre-/post-Irma, analyzing what worked well and determining areas for improvement. Since Hurricane Season isn't over until November 1, we still have time to review and modify our hurricane preparation plans. See below on sending us feedback.
From a personal preparation perspective, there are plenty of resources and guides that provide very specific information on how to prepare a hurricane preparedness kit, understanding one's own surge flood levels and evacuation codes, details about evacuation centers (shelters) and requirements, and much more. A good place to start is with the annually updated "Pinellas County All Hazards Preparedness Guide" (download here http://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/PDF/All_Hazard_Guide.pdf). Now is a good time to stock up on batteries, flashlights, update prescriptions, buy/size window boards, etc. You print your evacuation zone map Anything not used now can be saved for the beginning of hurricane season in June of 2018. Below are links to important storm preparedness resources I have shared previously.
Government systems will definitely review all processes activated during Hurricane Irma. This includes federal, state, county and local government operations. The City of Gulfport had many moving parts (from sand bag operation to debris clean-up) during Hurricane Irma that helped get us ready for the storm, and get things to as close to normal afterwards.
We will communicate updates to storm readiness preparedness as they become available. However, please take the opportunity to send City Management and/or each of us on the Gulfport City Council constructive feedback that can help us improve storms readiness in the future. Below are some area that, in my opinion, may need to be considered for improvement. Also below is the City Directory and Council contact information. Please feel free to SEND US FEEDBACK and/or send us any questions you may still have.
Some area we may need to discuss and potentially modify:
Implement additional means of communicating information to individuals with little or no on-line access, including those not using social media.
Increase the number of "special needs" registrants; increase outreach to all households; facilitates evacuation of special needs individuals when a mandatory evacuation is ordered.
Determine how best to identify the needs of elderly and disabled residents when a prolonged (days) power outage occurs after a storm.
Request a "tree trimming" plan (trees affecting power lines/transformers) to be done by Duke Energy throughout Gulfport; develop information encouraging the individual trimming of trees on their property.
If citywide power outage occurs, establish a post-storm distribution center for items such as ice and batteries.
If citywide power outage, identify early on a Duke Energy contact for real Gulfport situational updates.
Increase the use of our well-staffed Emergency Call Center.
Partner with community organizations.
Increase number of residents registered with "Alert Pinellas."
We must provide feedback to Pinellas County that BCHS must be added as a "Pet Friendly Shelter."
PLEASE SEND US YOUR FEEDBACK...CONTACT INFORMATION ABOVE (LINKS).