Know your zone: officials urge SWFL to make plans for hurricane season

[Originally Published May 17, 2018] Hurricane season is here, whether SWFL likes it or not.

With Hurricane Irma still fresh on the minds of many in Florida, it’s even more important now to get ready for the next big storm. And knowing your evacuation zones could potentially save your life.

Officials say they want everyone to know to leave when they issue evacuations for specific areas tied to zones.

What you need to know about hurricane season: WINK Weather Authority Hurricane Central

“When you evacuate, you really want to get out of that storm surge area,” said Lee Mayfield, planning chief for Lee County Emergency Operations.

But if those evacuations do come, you don’t necessarily have to leave the state to avoid the surge.

“If you are going to evacuate, go tens of miles, rather than hundreds of miles. Make sure your vehicle is serviced and well-maintained. Have those basic elements like water and food,” said Lt. Greg Bueno with the Florida Highway Patrol.

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And officials add that it’s ok to bring your pets with you as long as you plan ahead. Bring their vaccination papers in a waterproof bag and a bring a safe place for them to sleep.

“You want to have a crate for them to go into. That’s going to be their safety during any kind of hurricane,” said Karen Fordiani with Lee County Domestic Animal Services.

Officials also stress the importance of planning ahead versus waiting until the last minute to make proper arrangements.

“Know where you’re going. Don’t just randomly travel. And fuel, as we learned with Hurricane Irma, can become a supply and demand issue. So you need to be aware of that,” Mayfield said.

Do you know your zone? Find evacuation information below:

For Collier County, click here.

For Charlotte County, click here.

For Lee County, click here.

Reporter:Oliver Redsten
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