CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - Southwest Florida is the worst place in the nation to evacuate when disaster strikes, according to a recent Atkins Global ranking. Our local emergency managers know this and want to make sure you get out well ahead of deadly storm surge.
Wayne Sallade with Charlotte Emergency Management started the "Know Your Zone" program last year. Across Charlotte County, crews have installed 9400 evacuation zone markers either under a stop sign or street sign.
The colors, red, orange, yellow and green, correspond to your storm surge risk and evacuation order. Red and orange being the most at risk and the first to be told to leave when the time comes.
"People that live in that red and orange, we want them to learn who they know from church, work, from school, just in general, who do they know that lives in yellow and green? And they can ascertain that just by driving around," Sallade said.
When a storm is forecast to hit our area, emergency managers would prefer you move inland, with family or friends in yellow or green zones before an evacuation is ordered. That way you avoid traffic tie-ups when the time comes to get out.