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Where will you go?

Make a plan, or maybe two. Decide where you would go if staying in town, and where you would go if leaving the area. Pick up your phone and call your proposed destination. Don't leave it to chance.

By TIMES STAFF WRITER

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 30, 1999


A little bit of thought and a couple of phone calls right now could save you days of discomfort in a place you really don't want to be -- a public hurricane shelter.

A public shelter may well save your life some day, and everybody should seek one out if they need to, but even the best shelter will ely be a dreary place lacking privacy and most of the creature comforts that could make a long wait more bearable.

Instead, better to figure out NOW some alternatives should you be required to evacuate during a hurricane's approach.

That's especially true in densely populated counties, where local disaster managers don't have nearly enough shelter space for all of the people expected after an evacuation order is given.

The situation is especially acute for mobile-home residents because evacuations for such dwellings is mandatory in declared areas for even the smallest hurricane.

Emergency management experts say people should be talking to friends, neighbors, families, church members -- anyone they know -- to figure out now where they'll go when the evacuation order is broadcast.

Consult the evacuation maps in this section to be sure your destination is safer than where you are. And make a reservation -- Aunt Martha may have 20 other relatives and church acquaintances who think they will be staying at her house. Make sure she's expecting you, and find out what she's expecting you to bring.

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