ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — June 1 marks the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. Escambia County Emergency Manager Travis Tompkins emphasized the importance of being prepared at a roundtable discussion with members of the media.
Tompkins says some people don’t know a hurricane is coming until its at their door. He’s encouraging people to stay alert to notifications from the National Weather Service.
“We live in Florida,” said Tompkins. “We live on the Gulf Coast. Its just a matter of when not if we’re gonna get hit by a storm.”
Tompkins is also encouraging people to be one week ready prior to a storm, a change from the previous “72 is on you” slogan.
“We want to make sure that we plan for a catastrophic event here,” said Tompkins. “So if we were to plan for a category five hurricane we would want to make sure that our citizens had enough food and water per individual for at least a week on hand.”
Officials also recommend staying inside for the first 48 hours after a storm.
“We know people want to get out of the house after a storm to take a look around,” said Tompkins. “But what happens with that is the more vehicles we have on the road, that impedes our teams that are going out doing search and rescue. If we have citizens out and about just wanted to look around that impedes the live safety issues that we’re trying to address after a storm.”
This year to ensure that everyone in the county is prepared, Emergency Management will also be posting informational videos in Spanish and Vietnamese along with their typical preparation videos.
“The reason that we’re doing that is just those conversations that we had with people in the community,” said Tompkins. “Just finding out that these people over here may not be getting the message and we want to make sure everyone’s covered.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association predicts a near-average hurricane season this year.