What is a Hurricane? This is a
storm with a sustained wind force of 74 mph or greater.
These storms are traced from the time they become a
tropical wave until they develop into a hurricane.
Hurricane season is June 1st through November 30th.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office offers these safety
tips to citizens of Polk County when preparing for a
hurricane or other natural disaster:
Do I leave or do I
stay? If you leave, have preparations made in
advance. Do not wait!!! The roads become a parking lot.
For every four (4) times you evacuate, three (3) times
will just be a short vacation.
Before you leave
- Turn off:
- Fill freezer with containers of water.
- Have plenty of cash on hand.
- Make sure important papers go with you (keep
these in a water tight container or ziploc bag).
- Have an up-to-date inventory of possessions for
insurance purposes with descriptions, models, and
serial numbers of items. Include purchase price and
date (Operation ID). Secure a video tape or take
photographs of all possessions and keep in safe
deposit box. (Take this along with you when you
If you stay:
- Know location and routes to Red Cross shelters.
- Secure home and grounds (tape windows, tie down
or store yard items, etc.)
- If in a mobile home community, evacuate to
shelter immediately whenever a Hurricane Warning or
Disaster is declared.
- Turn freezer to lowest setting and fill it with
containers of water so it will stay colder longer.
- Keep a two-week supply of non-perishable foods,
needing little or no preparation. Don't forget
non-electrical can opener and emergency cooking
equipment, i.e. grill, Coleman stove (for outside
- Have at least one (1) gallon of water per person
- Secure important papers; labeled ziploc bags,
currency in small denominations only.
- Have emergency cash available. ATM's will not be
- Have flashlights and fresh batteries with
- Have portable battery operated radios and/or
- Scour bathtub and rinse with household bleach,
then with water. Fill the tub with water for use in
- Make sure your vehicle is full of fuel.
- Have all medications for a full two weeks;
include a first-aid kit.
Be prepared to be
completely self-sufficient for at least two weeks.
- If evacuated, delay return until authorized.
- Seek medical help at Red Cross stations or
- Do not go into disaster areas.
- Drive, only if necessary.
- Beware of snakes and insects moving to high
- Avoid all structurally damaged buildings.
- Guard against spoiled food.
- Notify insurance agent of damage.
- Make temporary repairs to protect against
further damage and looting.
- Beware of unscrupulous opportunities: i.e. price
gouging. Polk County has a gouging ordinance. Jail
time for price gouging is 6 months and $500.00 for
- Curfew ordinance starts in any local emergency.
- Do not wire emergency generator directly into
house, draw power directly from generator.
Red Cross Shelters:
- Opened as needed in emergency area(s). There are
41 primary shelters in Polk County.
- Bring special foods, i.e. baby food, diabetics
- Medicine for 2 weeks.
- Personal items (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap,
deodorant, books, puzzles, etc.)
- Flashlights, extra batteries.
- Portable radio.
- Food and drink will be provided.
- Items NOT permitted in shelter: guns, alcohol,
- Potential capacity of 40,000-50,000 persons. 102
shelters are available.
- Temporary emergency
facility capable of providing medical or nursing
care which does not necessitate a hospital.
assistance available to: Special needs shelter,
public shelter, or nursing home/hospital.
Pre-registration in the program is preferred by
contacting Emergency Management office (863)534-5600.
- The three Special
Needs Shelters in Polk County are:
- Haines City Adult
Daycare Center 751 Scenic Hwy., Haines City
- Lakeland Adult
Daycare Center 1200 Southern Ave., Lakeland
- PCHD Specialty
Care Units 1255 Brice Blvd., Bartow
- Bring backup oxygen
supply and medical/electric equipment and
medications (at least 72 hours).
To register for the Special
Needs Program or to receive more information, contact
the Polk County Emergency Management Division at (863)
534-5600 or Citizenís Information Line (C.I.L.) at (863)
534-0321 or 1-(866)-661-0228.
Mobile Home Park
Emergency Notification System:
- System of notification for all county emergency
situations (chemical spills, severe weather,
hurricanes, wildfires, etc.)
- Established as backup for radio and television
emergency information service.
- Recorded message from Polk County Public Safety
Department announcing the emergency and a number to
call if evacuation is necessary, and locations of
open Red Cross shelters.
- List of three (3) designated people in each
community to be contacted by the notification
system. There should be a primary contact and two
- To receive more information, contact the Polk
County Emergency Management Division at (863)
534-5600; Citizenís Information Line (C.I.L.) (863)
534-0321 or 1-(866)-661-0228.
For more information on any
of these programs, contact the Crime Prevention at
863-534-6677, during normal business hours.