ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – As the peak of hurricane season is approaching, Orange County is hosting a free self-serve sandbag program for residents.
During a demonstration on Friday, officials talked about the importance of being prepared well ahead of a possible storm.
"The earlier (people) get the items they need for hurricane season, the more relaxed they can be," Emergency Manager Lauraleigh Avery said.
While the sandbag program is a yearly staple, officials said there will be differences this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing measures will be in place and residents are required to wear facial coverings while filling up sandbags.
Public works manager Ralphetta Aker said now is also a good time to remind everyone to update their hurricane supply list.
"We now need to add to that list, the face masks and the personal protection equipment," Aker said. "Citizens need to be prepared for a pandemic and hurricane season."
Each resident that participates in the sandbag program will receive 10 sandbags, disposable face masks and hand sanitizer.
Supplies are limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The program got underway on July 16. Orange County leaders have extended the deadline through Aug. 1 in the wake of potential tropical storm Isaias.
Residents can fill their sandbags at the following locations:
- Barnett Park - 4801 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32808
- Downey Park - 10107 Flowers Avenue, Orlando, FL 32825
- Bithlo Community Park - 18501 Washington Avenue, Orlando, FL 32820
- Meadow Woods Park - 1751 Rhode Island Woods Circle, Orlando, FL 32824
- West Orange Recreational Complex - 309 S. West Crown Point Road, Winter Garden, FL 34787
The locations are open Monday thru Sunday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. The Winter Garden location has limited hours on Sunday from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Residents can call 3-1-1 if they have questions or need additional information.