Q: In the event of a hurricane warning and evacuation, how will Gulfport residents be allowed back into the city after the storm passes if Gulfport sustains severe damage?
A: “We will try to create checkpoints,” City Manager Jim O’Reilly says. Depending on the severity of the storm, he adds, the city could have assistance from outside agencies.
If Gulfport residents do evacuate, the city manager asks that they take with them “proof of who they are and where they live,” such as a driver’s license showing the correct address or other government-issued photo identification. If the photo identification shows a non-Gulfport address, residents should also have a copy or their lease, mortgage, water bill, or power bill in their name.
The city manager took this question as an opportunity to ask residents who live in areas of the city prone to flooding to heed any state-issued evacuation order. Should a hurricane develop and the city anticipate flooding, city public safety officers may begin making public announcements through local television, radio stations, and a call center (in the event of a hurricane warning for this area of Pinellas County). In addition, the city will communicate directly with the Gabber; we will update residents throughout any storms on this web site.
If residents decide to ignore government-issued evacuation orders, O’Reilly stressed that the city would reach a point where it could not help stranded residents.
“They’re on their own,” he says of people who choose to stay “At a certain point it would be unsafe to send public safety vehicles in to get them. Once the sustained winds (not gusts) reach 45 miles per hour, the city will take all non-essential emergency public safety off the street.”
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