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Pinellas County Officials Continue To Urge Storm Preparedness

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - If you haven't prepped your storm kit, you may want to catch up. Parts of Florida are preparing for heavy storms as they approach.

"Right now, we're in a good place today, which is Monday," said Dave Connor a Spokesperson for Pinellas County. Both Tropical Storm Fred and Tropical Depression Grace might appear to be headed away from Tampa Bay, "but we're also at the beginning of the busy part of storm season," he says. And just because the storms aren't pointing at us today, "it doesn't mean we want to just stop thinking about this completely and go on our way until it's a little too late to prepare," explains Connor.

Pinellas County officials say three key points play a major role in your preparedness plan for all of storm season.

"Know your risk. Have a plan. And stay informed," he says. But wait a second. Haven't we heard this before? Ah yes, last week, we spoke with Pinellas County official Suzanne Boisvert with Emergency Management in Pinellas Park.

"Know your risk. Make a plan. And stay informed," she said Friday. That's because it's practically the motto for hurricane season across the county. And officials want you to memorize it.

"It's because we say it all the time.. because it really is that easy," said Connor.

Here's how it breaks down:

"Know your risk means know: are you in an evacuation zone? Are you in a zone that floods when it rains? Do you have pets?" explains Connor. And the second step, to "have a plan", is sort of what it sounds like. If you leave home, do you have a place to go? Did you bring your storm kit? What's your next step?

"And then staying informed. If someone's watching this, they're already doing a good step towards staying informed. Watch your local news media, turn on the tv, turn on the radio. Check us on social media," added Connor.

He also says that, prior to any storm, it's important to take a video or photos of your home and your belongings, especially the higher value materials. This is in case they become damaged during the storm. Taking photos will help for a smooth process and compensation during discussions with your insurance company.

And If you or someone in your home depends on electricity for medical equipment or are worried about the ability to transport due to medical conditions, you can sign up to be on a special needs during hurricane list so that when evacuations begin, local fire officials know in advance they may have to transport that person to a shelter. Officials say you only need to sign up once per storm season. That link is here.

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