BREAKING: MAYOR DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN PREPARATION FOR HURRICANE

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Beaches and Low-Lying Areas Plan for Impact of Hurricane Matthew

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., October 5, 2016The City of Jacksonville, in preparation for the potential impact of Hurricane Matthew, has declared a state of emergency for Duval County. Mayor Lenny Curry is advising citizens at the Beaches and low-lying areas to evacuate.

“We are keeping a close watch on Hurricane Matthew, and will continue to update residents and visitors in our city about growing risks and threats to our area,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “As conditions are subject to change, I strongly urge citizens to prepare for this potentially damaging storm by evacuating identified areas, and updating emergency kits and plans now. Our Emergency Management team is staffed 24-hours as we monitor the storm. Additionally, our Public Works engineers and staff are implementing pre-storm protocols to prepare the city for Matthew’s potential impact.”

Areas identified for evacuation are zones A and B, which includes beach communities and low-lying areas throughout the city. Citizens can check if their homes are located in an evacuation zone by visiting http://www.coj.net/departments/fire-and-rescue/emergency-preparedness/get-prepared/evacuation-zones.aspx, or downloading the JaxReady mobile app.

Updates:

  • Duval County government offices and buildings will be closed Thursday, Oct. 6, and Friday, Oct. 7.
  • Duval County Public Schools is closing all schools and offices, and canceling all after-school activities and extended day care Thursday, Oct. 6, and Friday, Oct. 7.
  • The St. Johns River Ferry, JTA bus service, Connexion and Skyway are operating on a normal schedule today, Oct. 5.
  • JTA buses will operate on a normal schedule Thursday, Oct. 6 and a Sunday schedule Friday, Oct. 7. This is subject to change based on weather conditions.
  • The St. Johns River Ferry will be closed Thursday, Oct. 6, and Friday, Oct. 7.
  • Edward Waters College campuses will be closed through Sunday, Oct. 9.
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville campuses will be closed Thursday, Oct. 6, Friday, Oct. 7, and Saturday, Oct. 8.
  • Jacksonville University campuses and centers will be closed through Sunday, Oct. 9.
  • University of North Florida campuses will be closed Thursday, Oct. 6, Friday, Oct. 7, and Saturday, Oct. 8.
  • Florida Department of Health in Duval County (DOH-Duval) will close clinic service locations Thursday, Oct. 6 and Friday, Oct. 7.
  • First Wednesday Art Walk is canceled for Wednesday, Oct. 5.
  • Jacksonville Marine Corps 1/2 Marathon & Freedom 5K scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8, is canceled. Will be rescheduled for a later date.
  • Riverside Arts Market is canceled for Saturday, Oct. 8.
  • Mandarin High School Parade scheduled for Friday, Oct. 7 has been canceled.

Updates will be provided regularly via the City’s website and social media accounts.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What does a State of Emergency mean?
A State of Emergency Declaration allows the City to more easily allocate dollars and resources to best protect lives and property. City Council will convene to discuss the emergency declaration in the days ahead.

What’s the difference between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning?

Hurricane Watch: An announcement that hurricane conditions are possible within the specified area. Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Action: During a watch, prepare your home and review your plan for evacuation in case a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Warning is issued. Listen closely to instructions from local officials.

Hurricane Warning: An announcement that hurricane conditions are expected within the specified area. Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, warnings are issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Action: During a warning, complete storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area if directed by local officials.

What should citizens do to prepare for the storm?
Stay informed and updated on storm progress via JaxReady.com, the JaxReady mobile app and local media channels. Take steps to prepare yourself and your property.

  • Secure anything outside that could blow into a building, window or storm system, including signs, garbage cans/lids, toys, etc.
  • Pick up any litter or loose yard debris around your home and secure it in a garbage bag or container.
  • Low-lying and tidally-influenced areas should expect and prepare for flood conditions.
  • Gas and service your vehicles.
  • Charge your cell phones and mobile devices.
  • Inspect and secure mobile home tie-downs.
  • Listen frequently to radio, TV, or NOAA Weather Radio for status and forecasts of the storm’s progress.
  • Double check your emergency supply kit.
  • Review your emergency plan.

For helpful tips on what to include in your emergency kit and emergency plans, download the Emergency Preparedness Guide at www.JaxReady.com.

Are there evacuations?

Mayor Curry ordered the evacuation of the beaches communities and low-lying areas throughout the city that may experience heavy flooding. Residents living in Evacuation Zones A & B are strongly encouraged to evacuate. Evacuation zones can be viewed at http://www.coj.net/departments/fire-and-rescue/emergency-preparedness/get-prepared/evacuation-zones.aspx or on the JaxReady mobile app.

Does the City provide sandbags to prevent flooding?
Sandbags are not provided by the City. Jacksonville is a geographically diverse city, covering 840 square miles. The City’s stormwater needs and population size are different from neighboring counties. Residents who believe sandbags are a necessity should consult with their local hardware store. In addition to sandbags, the City does not provide batteries, flashlights, radios, ice, first aid kits or canned goods. These are personal preparedness items that citizens are encouraged to acquire based on their anticipated needs.

Will shelters be open?
Shelters are activated on an as-needed basis as conditions and needs warrant. The Legends Center (5130 Soutel Drive – 32208; pet friendly) will be opened at 7 p.m. today. Three additional shelters are scheduled to open tomorrow and locations will be communicated at that time. Persons requiring special needs should contact 630-City for further information.

If additional shelters are opened, that information and available locations will be communicated via local media channels, social media, the City website (www.COJ.net) and the JaxReady mobile app. For more information, call 630-CITY (2489).

Where can I receive information about how to prepare for a hurricane?
The City has produced an Emergency Preparedness Guide that is free-of-charge and available at the following locations:

  • Via download at JaxReady.com
  • Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach Police Stations
  • Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach Fire Stations
  • Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach City Hall buildings
  • Jacksonville & Beaches Libraries
  • Jacksonville & Beaches Tax Collector’s Offices
  • American Red Cross
  • Lowe’s
  • Walgreens
  • Waffle House
  • Salvation Army
  • Exit Realty locations

Citizens are also encouraged to stay informed and updated on storm progress via JaxReady.com, the JaxReady mobile app and local media channels.

Are schools closed?

Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) has advised that they are closing all schools Thursday, Oct. 6, and Friday, Oct. 7. All afterschool programs scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 5, have been canceled. There is no need to pull children out of school today, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016 for evacuations. You have time to prepare.

FSCJ campuses and centers are closing at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 and will remain closed until Monday, Oct. 10.

JU has canceled all University activities from 3 p.m. today through Sunday.

UNF has canceled all classes and activities after 3 p.m. today, Wednesday, Oct. 5, and is cancelling all classes and student activities scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 6, Friday, Oct. 7, and Saturday, Oct. 8.

Will government offices close?

Government offices and facilities will be closed Thursday, Oct. 6, and Friday, Oct. 7.

Will garbage and recycling collection remain on schedule?
All garbage and recycling collections have been canceled for Friday, Oct. 7. Collections will be rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8.


What types of debris will be picked up by Solid Waste?
All standard solid waste collection rules apply with a 5 cubic yard waste limit. Any changes or exceptions to these rules as result of the storm will be communicated via local media channels, social media, the City website (www.COJ.net) and the JaxReady mobile app.

What steps can citizens take to protect pets?

  • Bring your pets inside. They may be outside dogs/cats, but the conditions they may see during a strong storm are beyond their normal experience. They will be frightened as exposed to extreme weather and possible flying debris. Bring them in. If they cannot be allowed loose, use a crate. Crates give them their own secure space and keep them safe. Additionally, if in some unforeseen emergency you and they need rescuing, Emergency Personnel can more easily help you with contained, safe animals.
  • Do NOT set animals loose. They will not “be OK”.
  • Gather information for evacuation, even if you don’t think you will have to evacuate. The easy way to do this is place copies of Vet records, shot records, ownership papers, any medication your pet needs, an extra collar and an extra leash in a gallon freezer bag. Use a permanent marker to place your name and the pet’s name on the bag. Then keep the bag near the pet so you can grab both and go if needed.
  • Have three to four days of pet food on hand. We do not expect a major problem, but better you buy pet food now than have to wait in line later.
  • Have a gallon of bottled water per day on hand for your pets, especially if evacuating. Sudden changes in water supply coupled with stress can upset their digestive systems. Enough said.
  • Understand that at pet friendly shelters, you will be responsible for the care of your dog. Please be prepared to do so if you utilize a shelter for you and your pets.

Will the storm bring more mosquitoes?
With several inches of rain predicted to fall in our area, there is an increased risk of flooding and standing water. Mosquitoes breed by laying eggs in and near standing water. Below are a few tips to help prevent mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • Remove or turn over any outside items that can hold water (toys, bins, pet dishes, etc.)
  • Drain and empty all containers with standing water.
  • Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches and patios.
  • Dress appropriately for outdoor conditions (long sleeves, pants, shoes and socks) and use EPA registered mosquito repellents that contain either DEET, IR3535, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.


Will City increase its spraying for mosquitoes?
The City’s Mosquito Control division conducts spray operations daily. Citizens are advised to alert the City to any specific areas of concern that the Control Division will address. They can request mosquito spraying by calling 630-CITY, visiting 630CITY.coj.net, or emailing 630CITY@coj.net.

Who do I call if my lights are out?
Power outages are likely with this storm. JEA will work to restore power when it is safe to do so. Electrical outages and service issues can be reported to JEA at (904) 665-6000 or online at JEA.com.

Will bridges close?

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) works closely with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol to monitor wind conditions at area bridges. If winds exceed specified levels, FDOT will work with law enforcement to close affected bridges. Any bridge closures will be communicated via local media channels, social media, the City website (www.COJ.net) and the JaxReady mobile app.

What should citizens do if they approach a malfunctioning or out-of-service traffic light?

Drivers should treat malfunctioning or out-of-service traffic lights as 4-way stops.

What happened to the colorful storm surge markers that were located throughout the city?

The 35 markers were removed after new storm surge data was released in 2015 that made the information on the markers outdated.

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS
City of Jacksonville – 904-630-CITY (2489)

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office – 904-630-0500

Florida Department of Transportation – 904-360-5457

JEA – 904-665-6000
Northeast Florida Red Cross – 904-358-8091
Jacksonville Transit Authority (JTA) – 904-630-3100
Traffic Information – 511
United Way of Northeast Florida – 211
Florida Emergency Information Hotline – 1-800-342-3557
Salvation Army – 904-356-8641
National Weather Service Jacksonville – 904-741-4311
Duval County Public Schools – 904-390-2000

Jacksonville Public Library – 904- 630-1994

OFFICIAL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS

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LinkedIn

Instagram

For more information visit http://www.coj.net/departments/public-affairs/social-media.aspx.

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