EOC director emphasizes hurricane plan, staying informed


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Emergency Management Director Kimberly Prosser emphasizes that each hurricane is different and should be taken seriously.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy of the EOC

Is your family prepared for the hurricane season?

Even if you have a plan, it is good to review it each year. This includes having a household plan, an evacuation route, a supply kit and a pet care plan during a hurricane.

During a recent interview, Emergency Management Director Kimberly Prosser offered a common-sense approach to the hurricane season.

“We always want to remind the public that every storm is different,” Prosser said. “Just because you have experienced one hurricane does not mean you have experienced every type of hurricane.”

“If you were here for Matthew and Irma, those were two very different storms, Prosser said. “The next one is going to be different still.”

A visit to the Brevard County Emergency Management website is time well-spent. The site has invaluable information on how to prepare for a hurricane — and how to stay tuned during a hurricane or other natural disaster.

One resource on the site is how to build a basic disaster supply kit. A disaster supply kit is a collection of essential items your household may need during an emergency. Assemble your kit, and review it annually.

Among the recommended items for the kit are a gallon of water per person per day for three days, a three-day supply of non-perishable food, flashlight and batteries, a first aid kit, local maps and cell phone chargers. Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, as well as cash should also be on hand.

Additionally, families should have a pet supply kit and plans for individuals with disabilities. If you evacuate, take your kit with you.

“You should make decisions and prepare no matter what,” Prosser said. “We have a brochure called your pathways to preparedness You can download it from our website; it’s a pdf or you can pick up a copy at any of the libraries.”

Steps that household members should take, per the Emergency Operations Center, include:

Read and follow the Pathways to Preparedness.

Discuss family/household plans for disasters that might affect your area and plan where to go.

Understand how to receive emergency alerts and warnings.

Collect information. Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family that includes phone numbers (work, cell, office), email, social media, medical facilities, doctors, service providers and schools.

Share information. Practice your plan. Identify information and pick an emergency meeting place.

Additionally, Prosser emphasized the importance of being prepared for all elements of a hurricane.

“A common misconception people have about hurricanes is that it’s just about the wind speed, because the categories are based on the wind speed,” Prosser said. “In addition to the high winds associated with hurricanes, other components associated with these storms can inflict significant amounts of damage.”

So, what are these other components?

“There are four different components of a hurricane and wind is just one of them,” Prosser said. “Another one is storm surge, which is when waters rise in the rivers. And there’s also rainfall of which we experienced quite a bit in Irma.”

“And the fourth one is tornadoes,” Prosser said. “We had eight confirmed tornadoes in Brevard County with Irma.”

To keep abreast of the latest local weather conditions during a storm and throughout the year, Prosser advised calling the county’s Community Information Hotline, 2-1-1. Specialists have the most up-to-date information on sandbags, evacuation routes and shelters, and how to get help after a storm.

Residents of Brevard County also can choose to be notified about local emergencies through an automated call notification system. AlertBrevard is a primary tool used by Emergency Management to send important safety information to Brevard residents and businesses. If you rely on a cellular phone as your main telephone number, you are strongly encouraged to sign up by visiting the EOC website.

Additionally, residents can stay tuned to EOC updates on social media sites.

“We are very active on Facebook and Twitter,” Prosser said. “Take a look at our website and Facebook sites. Twice a week there will be reminders on what to do and how to prepare.”

To learn more about how to prepare for a hurricane or other disaster, go to the EOC links:

• brevardfl.gov/ emergencymanagement/ home

• facebook.com/ BrevardEOC

• @BrevardEOC on Twitter

AlertBrevard is used by Brevard County Emergency Management, Utilities and Fire Rescue to notify businesses and residents of emergency situations and public safety issues such as hazardous materials incidents, wildfires threatening homes and boil water notices.