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.
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
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
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