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Evacuate or Stay?

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Most emergency managers agree that if you are in a well-built home and not in an evacuation zone the best option is often to secure your residence and ride out the storm there.

Residents who live in mobile homes or in a storm surge area should always evacuate to a public shelter or stay with relatives or friends.

If you are elderly or have special needs or health concerns then you should also evacuate. The only Special Needs Shelter for Port St. Lucie residents is located at the Fenn Center in Fort Pierce, and you need to pre-register with St. Lucie County Department of Health, preferably before hurricane season begins.

If you are concerned with the structural integrity of your house then you should evacuate or seek public shelter.

When is it time to evacuate?

When officials at the Emergency Operations Center give notification that conditions have escalated and it is time to evacuate particular areas.

How will you know?

  • Register for Alert St. Lucie and get notifications
  • Police patrol cars with their “public announcement” systems
  • Commercial radio and TV stations
  • Door-to-door warnings from local emergency officials
  • Your neighbors
  • NOAA weather and all-hazards radio

Reminder: Only stay at home if you have NOT been ordered to leave. If you have been told to leave, do so immediately.

In Port St. Lucie, certain sections of Westmoreland Boulevard, Morningside Boulevard, Ballantrae and Tesoro (please refer to the map of evacuation routes) are prone to flooding from a storm surge and residents in these areas need to have a well thought out evacuation plan. Remember, flooding from a storm surge is caused by heavy rainfall as well as wind and can occur several miles inland from the coast.

If you plan to evacuate heavy traffic will add several hours to your travel time. Be sure to leave early so you don’t become trapped in your car as the storm approaches. Prepare an evacuation kit early and have it ready for when you need it.

I’m staying, now what?

  • Fill bathtub(s) and large containers for sanitary purposes
  • Fill sterilized containers with water for a two week supply of drinking water
  • Turn refrigerator and freezers to maximum cold and open only when necessary
  • Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities
  • Stay inside a well constructed building
  • Stay away from windows and doors, even if they are covered
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway
  • Take a battery powered radio and a flashlight with you
  • Close all interior doors
  • Secure and brace exterior doors, particularly double inward opening doors and garage doors
  • If you are in a two-story house, go to an interior first floor room, such as bathroom, closet or under the stairs
  • Keep a full tank of gas
  • Be alert for tornadoes which often are spawned by hurricanes
  • If the eye of the hurricane passes over your area be aware that the improved weather conditions are temporary and that the storm conditions will return with the winds coming from the opposite direction sometimes in a matter of just a few minutes
  • If you are in a multiple story building and away from the water, go to the first or second floor and take refuge in the halls or other interior rooms away from windows (interior stairwells and areas around elevator shafts are generally the strongest part of the building)

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