What Polk County residents need to know before a storm

Resources available to help

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

POLK COUNTY, Fla. - When it comes to preparing for a storm, Polk County has its residents covered.

[HURRICANE RESOURCES: ClickOrlando.com/Hurricane]

While the local emergency management office offers plenty of resources, its up to members of the community to do their research before hurricane season begins so they can have a plan in place before severe weather strikes.

How to stay informed

We recommend that Central Floridians start by installing the News 6 Pinpoint Weather app, which allows you to sign up for location-based push alerts so you'll receive detailed updates based on where you live. You can download that and our free news app today by searching WKMG in your app store.

The next step is to sign up for Polk County public safety notifications. When a particular area could be at risk of a hurricane or tornado, residents will receive critical updates via text message or email. Click here to fill out the enrollment form.

Social media is another good place to turn for storm-related information. Click here to follow Polk County Emergency Management on Facebook and here to follow the department on Twitter.

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Regardless of whether a storm is in the forecast, the county has a disaster preparedness plan accessible to residents at all times.

Staying at home, provided your residence is safe and properly elevated, is the recommended option for most people. Those who live in mobile homes or other residences that might not be able to withstand strong winds and rain should try to shelter with a friend or family member or at a hotel, either locally or in a region outside the storm's path.

Shelter information

Going to a public shelter should be a last resort since space is limited. Shelter locations will be announced when and if they open but, even then, always call ahead to ensure there's availability.

Those who have animals or specific medical situations should plan to go to a special-needs shelter. The registration form for those shelters is available here in English and here in Spanish.

Regardless of where you're sheltering, be sure to have a 72-hour emergency survival kit with you. For a list of kits available for purchase online, click here.

Other resources

For more information from the Polk County Office of Emergency Management on how to plan for disasters, visit Polk-county.net/emergency-management.

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.

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