'Know Your Zone' is a critical tool


At the dentist’s office Thursday, the receptionist mentioned that hurricane season, which starts Monday, is not expected to amount to much.

I was a bit surprised by that comment, as I don’t often hear Floridians talk about hurricanes until they are standing in the middle of the cone of probability.

So kudos to her for paying attention to the predictions that the season will be fairly quiet. I hope her hurricane awareness includes knowing her evacuation zone.

The “Know Your Zone” campaign is important to the folks at the Florida Division of Emergency Management. As I interviewed Bryan Koon, the state’s chief emergency manager, at the recent Governor’s Hurricane Conference, his public relations aide stood nearby, gently reminding Koon to discuss Know Your Zone.

It’s an online tool on which you enter your home’s street address and are told the evacuation zone in which you live. If you live on a barrier island, for example, you are in Zone A, the most likely to be evacuated by the county emergency manager during a hurricane.

(In a search engine, such as Google, search for Know Your Zone and your county’s name.)

“We don’t want this to surprise anybody,” Koon said. “We don’t want them to find out 24 hours in advance. We want them to know now, so that when the time comes, they are mentally prepared with the disaster kit.”

You can find out what should be in your disaster kit by going online to FloridaDisaster.org or FLGetAPlan.com. “Plug in your information and it will spit out an emergency plan for your family, based on your address,” Koon said.

Said Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, “All the new warnings, technology and evacuation instructions — none of that is going to be as effective as it could be if people haven’t thought about what they are going to do.

“I always tell people who are new to the hurricane problem to ‘know your zone.’ Start with that. If you are in an evacuation zone, figure out today where you would go and how you would get there if you were told to evacuate.”

Knabb said if you are not in one of the hurricane evacuation zones, find a friend or family member who is, and “you can be their inland evacuation destination.”


A French film crew will be in Sarasota this week to document the Umbrella House and perhaps the Hiss Studio in Lido Shores.

I’m told that English writer Jeremy Callahan will be researching the social history of the house and the Sarasota School of architecture, for an article in Le Figaro’s weekend supplement. The group may return next February, when the umbrella is restored, and possibly produce a book.

Last modified: May 29, 2015
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