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Pinellas unveils new hurricane tools

Pinellas County officials unveiled new emergency preparedness tools and urged residents to check their evacuation zone during June 1 Media Day: Kick Off to the 2017 Hurricane Season.

With the first day of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the county highlighted the launch of the new “Ready Pinellas” mobile app designed to help residents with preparedness and decision-making ahead of storm events. It is available for free download on the Apple Store and Google Play.

Newly-released storm surge data produced by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC) has resulted in changes to the assigned evacuation zones for more than 85,000 properties in Pinellas County. About 20,000 of these properties are now in an evacuation zone for the first time.

To keep residents informed about these changes, the county provided phone, text and email notifications via its Alert Pinellas notification service. Sign up for Alert Pinellas at

Residents are reminded to review their current insurance policies and consider adding flood insurance to their coverage, which takes 30 days to go into effect.

“We encourage residents to follow three key preparedness steps: connect to emergency information by signing up for Alert Pinellas, assess your risk by checking your evacuation zone and plan to prepare for during and after the storm by downloading the Ready Pinellas app,” said Sally Bishop, director of Pinellas County Emergency Management.

Emergency Management has made copies of the 2017 All Hazards Preparedness Guide available at county government facilities, public libraries, city locations and online at The guide provides residents important tips on a variety of emergency and hurricane-related topics, as well as a basic, fillable template for an emergency plan.

Residents are also encouraged to review their emergency kits and take advantage of a three-day sales tax holiday for hurricane supplies starting June 2. During the hurricane supply sales tax holiday, residents will be able to purchase items such as flashlights, batteries, weather radios and other essential items tax-free.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, please visit or call Pinellas County Emergency Management at (727) 464-3800.