Santa Rosa County Emergency Management continues to monitor Gustav and prepare for the potential effects of the storm. The specific path of the storm and impact to area is still subject to change; at this time the National Weather Service is predicting the following conditions for our area:
" We are currently under a coastal flood watch.
" Deadly rip currents and surf conditions can be expected.
" Sustained winds of 20-25 MPH Monday evening.
" Possible 2-4 storm surge.
" Up to 2 inches of rain.
" Isolated threat of tornadoes and thunderstorms.
" We may be put under a tropical storm watch sometime this afternoon.
Sand and sand bags are available at the following sites/times today. At this time, there are no plans to offer sand bags on Sunday. However, they may be offered again if the situation warrants. Residents should bring shovels and be prepared to fill and load their own bags. There is a 25-bag limit per vehicle.
" Skyline Fire and Rescue District- 6924 Highway 87, Saturday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
" Pace Fire Rescue District -4773 Pace Patriot Blvd. (The new station location, not the old station next to Pace Assembly of God) Saturday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Staff is on hand to assist the elderly or disabled.
" Midway Fire District (bags only) - 1322 College Parkway & 1801 Abercrombie Road, Saturday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
" Holley-Navarre Fire District- 8618 East Esplanade Street, Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
" Tiger Point Park (sand only)-1370 Tiger Park Lane, anytime while supplies last
" The City of Gulf Breeze does not currently have sand bags available at this time. The city is continuing to monitor the situation and may make sand bags available at a later time.
Santa Rosa County has been advised by the state that if a storm affects Santa Rosa County, ice will not be available at any points of distribution sites. Life sustaining items such as food and water will be available only if the situation warrants. Residents are encouraged to take the following steps before any potential loss of power:
" Turn your refrigerator up to highest setting while you still have power.
" Use dry ice, if available. Twenty-five pounds of dry ice will keep a ten-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days. Use care when handling dry ice, and wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.
" Buy bags of ice, or use your ice machine to make your own in advance:
o Continually empty manual ice trays, place ice in baggies and refill with water.
o Continually empty your automatic icemaker storage bin, by bagging the ice, so your icemaker will continue to make more ice.
o Fill milk jugs or other containers with water and freeze.
" Beachgoers, swimmers and surfers should heed red flag warnings and stay out of the water.
Planning Actions by Santa Rosa County
" Santa Rosa County is ready to take all steps possible to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors.
" The emergency operations center is at a level 3 or monitoring phase. All emergency staff are on call and key staff will participate in conference calls and planning meetings Saturday and Sunday.
" No evacuations or protective actions have been ordered at this time.
" Public works has placed all staff on call, have staged equipment and are prepared to take action. Their first priority will be to clear roads for first responders.
" The Red Cross has been notified, and if needed, shelters will be opened.
Steps Residents Can Take
" Hold a family meeting and review your family plan now:
o Make sure your hurricane kit contains non-perishable food, water, medications for 3-5 days for each family member and pet.
o Establish an out of town contact in case you are separated.
o Know if you live in an evacuation zone and what low-lying areas near your home are subject to flooding such as creeks, drainage channels, streams and bayous. You can check on line at: www.santarosa.fl.gov/emergency , by expanding the emergency management tab and clicking on evacuation zone.
o Decide now how you care for family members with special needs, including the elderly and infants, and your pets.
o Decide now if you will evacuate, and to where, if evacuation orders are issued. Remember, sheltering with family or friends outside of the evacuation zone is more comfortable than going to a shelter, and will be easier to return home than leaving town.
o Make copies of your vital records and store them in a waterproof container
o Fuel your cars.
o Get small amounts of cash.
o Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8" marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
o Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
o Decide now what you will do with outdoor objects such as lawn furniture and toys. Prepare to anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
o Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and down spouts
" Mariners should heed small-craft warnings and remain in port.
" Residents are encouraged to monitor the local media for the most up-to-date information. A NOAA Weather Alert radio can be a lifesaver especially during the evenings when you are sleeping.
" The county's 44-page disaster guide is available online at www.santarosa.fl.gov, under what's hot- Gustav information. The 2008 guide features preparation information for all kinds of disasters including pandemics, wildfires, tornados, hazardous chemical accidents as well as hurricanes.
" At this time, no plans have been made to close offices or cancel school. However, this can change in the next two days.
City of Gulf Breeze
The City of Gulf Breeze has established an e-mail list to provide community and emergency information to residents. Sign up at the City's website: www.cityofgulfbreeze.com and follow the link under "Emails from the City" on the front page.
Official County Storm Information
" Updates, notifications and alerts are available by e-mail or text messaging during an emergency. To subscribe to this free public service, please log on to www.santarosa.fl.gov