SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – Residents of Sumter County have several resources available to them while preparing for a storm, riding it out and dealing with the aftermath once it passes.
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If you live in Sumter County, emergency officials recommend residents stay up to date on any emergency with AlertSumter, a free emergency notification system that will send a text or email warning residents of an emergency in the area. Sumter County emergency officials use the countywide notification system for severe weather, major road closures, missing persons and evacuation notices. Residents will receive time-sensitive messages based on their location settings. Business owners can also sign up for AlertSumter to receive emergency messages via text message or calls directly to their business. You can sign up and pick where and how to get AlertSumter messages here.
County officials also encourage all residents to review their emergency management information at sumtercountyfl.gov/emergency. It has a number of resources, including a checklist to help create an emergency kit and contact information for residents to use in the wake of a natural disaster.
The county also encourages pet owners to create a plan on what to do with their animals in the event of an emergency. Officials ask that you keep copies of your pet's immunization records with your family emergency plan and emergency food so you’re shelter-ready in the event of an evacuation.
Depending on the severity of the weather and when it's expected to impact your area, some Sumter County shelters will open to welcome residents who need to take shelter.
Because different weather emergencies call for different responses, it’s not guaranteed that all shelters will begin accepting people as soon as there is bad weather. Residents should always check with the county for the latest information before heading to any shelter.
If shelters are open to evacuees, they will be located at one of the designated locations listed below, according to Sumter County officials:
Sumter County will provide shelter for those with special needs. Before staying at a special needs shelter, residents would need to apply for eligibility. Those with special needs or a representative can register with the county ahead of a storm online or via a paper application. Both can be found here. County officials ask people to register ahead of time and not wait until a storm is about to hit. They reserve the right to cease application processing during any emergency or disaster.
According to officials, all Sumter County shelters are pet-friendly. You can read more about Sumter County’s emergency pet plans on their emergency management website.
If you must evacuate your home, Sumter County always recommends trying to stick with friends or family in another home at a safe location. Those who need to consider evacuations are people in mobile homes, or RVs, people living in low lying and flood prone areas, those with special needs and those who do not feel safe by themselves.
If you choose to evacuate to a shelter provided by the county, please review their list of “must-haves” before arriving.
SCEM also provides a list of shelters on its website.
County emergency officials also have a list of emergency numbers for residents to save. They want residents to be aware of their Citizens Information Line, which is only available during a disaster. You can see a list of phone numbers organized by location on the county's website.
For more information from the Sumter County Office of Emergency Management on how to plan for disasters or how to get updates when a hurricane is in the forecast, visit sumtercountyfl.gov or call 352-689-4400.
For weather updates, tips on how to prepare your home, family and pets ahead of a storm and what to expect during and after one, visit ClickOrlando.com/Hurricane.