Tampa City officials unveil new plan ahead 2019 hurricane season

Hurricane

FROM THE TAMPA POLICE DEPARTMENT:

TAMPA UNVEILS NEW PROGRAM AS 2019 HURRICANE SEASON APPROACHES 

After one of the most destructive hurricane seasons in Florida history, today 
the city of Tampa announced a program designed to make the recovery process 
faster, safer, and more efficient in the event of a major hurricane and 
massive evacuation. With the official hurricane season still three months 
away, the city is taking steps now to prepare, and is seeking help from the 
local media and the public to help make the new program work.

Starting on Monday, March 4, the city will begin mailing out envelopes with 
color-coded hang tags to more than 70,000 residents and businesses in the 
areas most likely to be evacuated in a major storm.

“We will need the assistance of the public for this program to work,” said 
Police Chief Brian Dugan. “If you live in the affected area, please keep an 
eye out for the envelope. Don’t throw it away. Put it in the glove box of your 
vehicle. That way it will be where you need it when you need it.”

Tampa has had close calls in recent years, such as Hurricane Irma in 2017, but 
has not experienced a major hurricane in over 90 years. “It is going to happen 
at some point. We need to be prepared,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

The goal of the new Hurricane Re-Entry Program is twofold: It is designed to 
make it easier for residents and business representatives to re-enter the area 
after evacuation orders have been lifted – and to prevent gawkers and 
potential criminals from entering the area.

During a catastrophic hurricane event, public safety officials will screen 
vehicles attempting to re-enter the impacted area. In an effort to avoid long 
lines, the vehicle Re-Entry Hang Tag will allow public safety officials to 
quickly identify vehicles approved to re-enter. Those vehicles will be waved 
through, bypassing the normal public screening required to enter the affected 
area. The Re-Entry Hang Tag Program will enhance safety and speed up the 
recovery process by getting residents and business representatives in – while 
keeping criminals out.

“This plan is something we have been working on in one form or another for a 
while,” said Tampa Fire Chief Nick LoCicero. “Considering what Florida has 
faced over the last two hurricane seasons, I’m pleased that we are able to 
implement this re-entry program now. It just adds another layer of 
preparedness for the city.”

The city is working with organizations and community groups to get the word 
out regarding the Re-Entry program.

“We’re looking forward to working with the City and TPD in implementing the 
new hurricane re-entry program for our residents and business owners to ensure 
their safe and swift return into Downtown in the event of an emergency,” said 
Lynda Remund, president and CEO for the Tampa Downtown Partnership.

Highlights:
        On Monday, March 4, the city will begin mailing out color-coded hang tags to 
residents and businesses in the areas most likely to face an evacuation during 
a hurricane event. That includes neighborhoods south of Interstate 275 and 
Interstate 4.
        Residents will be asked to keep an eye out for the white envelope with the 
words “CITY OF TAMPA HURRICANE HANG TAG ENCLOSED.” When it arrives, they are 
urged to remove the hang tag and immediately place it in their primary vehicle.
        In the event of an evacuation, the hang tags will enable residents to get 
back to their homes or businesses quickly and safely. Those without hang tags 
will still be able to re-enter the area, but they will be asked to produce 
identification or a utility bill to show that they have a reason to enter the 
neighborhoods.

A web page with maps and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at 
Tampagov.net/hurricane-information. Just click on the Hurricane Re-Entry 
Program link.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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