Palm Coast - To increase citizens' awareness of where Palm Coast's evacuation zones are located and whether they live within an evacuation zone, the City of Palm Coast is installing signage at 59 intersections within the zones.
Installation of the color-coded signs, which are marked with "Evac Zones B, C, D or E," began today (July 17) and will continue this summer until the project is completed. The signs are being installed on stop-sign posts, just below the stop signs.
The new signs are an initiative that came out of the After-Action Report compiled by the Palm Coast Fire Department after last October's Hurricane Matthew. The After-Action Report recommended the City "clarify evacuation zones and better communicate with residents when mandatory evacuations are ordered" because of an approaching tropical storm or hurricane.
"Evacuation zones are designated by a letter of the alphabet, and during the hurricane we found that there was a lot of confusion about that and whether it relates to Palm Coast's neighborhood sections, which are also informally named by a letter of the alphabet," said Deputy Fire Chief Jerry Forte. "The two systems are unrelated, but the fact that they are both done with an alphabet lettering system can be confusing."
The new signs will make it easy for citizens to identify which evacuation zone they're in - before a tropical storm or hurricane approaches.
Evacuation zones are developed based on "Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes" (SLOSH) modeling developed by the National Weather Service that predicts storm surge and winds. Residents who live or work near the coast, Intracoastal Waterway, rivers, canals or other waterways that connect to the ocean should review Flagler County's evacuation zone maps to determine their flood risk. Citizens who live in an evacuation zone should be prepared to evacuate, whether voluntarily or because they are required to do so, because of a tropical weather system.
The evacuation zones can be found in the Disaster Preparedness Guide put out by the City, Flagler County Emergency Services and the City of Flagler Beach. The guide is available at many public facilities throughout Palm Coast and Flagler County and can be viewed online at: www.palmcoastgov.com/emergency/disaster-preparedness. There are six evacuation zones in Flagler County, but only four of those are within the Palm Coast city limits.
Residents may also call Palm Coast Customer Service at 386-986-2360 for information on whether they live within an evacuation zone and, if so, which zone.
"The ultimate goal here is safety during a storm, and preparedness is critical," Forte said. "We urge all residents to educate themselves on whether they live in an evacuation zone and, if so, to evacuate when emergency officials determine it's needed for their protection."
"These new signs being installed in our evacuation zones are one more step in educating the public so that they can be as prepared as possible when the next storm hits," Forte said.
For more information about your evacuation zone, call Palm Coast Customer Service at 386-986-2360.