NBC 6 South Florida's Diana Gonzalez reports on the scene Wednesday at the Broward County Emergency Operations Center, which was last activated for a major storm for Hurricane Wilma in 2005. The staff, including Chuck Lanza, Bob Humple and Michael Ascarrunz, was monitoring Tropical Storm Isaac on Wednesday.
As Tropical Storm Isaac rounds the Caribbean, meteorologists are keeping a close eye on the storm and placing Florida within its five-day forecast cone.
With a high likelihood of Isaac becoming a hurricane in the next day, the Office of Emergency Management is your best source for evacuation information, hotline numbers and survival kits.
“Everybody in the office is working now 100 percent of their time on Isaac," said Chuck Lanza, the director of the Broward County Emergency Management Division, which is taking every opportunity to let the public know what it needs to do for food, water and supplies if the tropical storm gets larger and keeps tracking toward South Florida.
His division is coordinating and communicating with various government agencies and the school board, as well as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
“This is the dress rehearsal for the real thing, so we want to make sure that everybody’s ready to go if and when we have to pull the trigger," Lanza said.
The last times people had to be evacuated in Broward were for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Wilma in 2005, he said.
At this point his office would handle all evacuations of residents from coastal areas and mobile homes on Saturday, and take care of people with special needs, Lanza said. All of their preparation activities would be finished up early Sunday morning under that timeline.
Lanza recommended that people have enough food in their pantry for two to three days.
“We want people to top off their car with fuel. We want them to get water," he said, specifying that each person should have 1 gallon of water per day for three days.
The Office of Emergency Management is in charge of carrying out the county’s emergency plan before, during and after disasters. For more information on hotline numbers, evacuation assistance and emergency plans, visit your county’s website.
Shelters: Sixteen schools are on Broward's primary list for evacuations, though not all of them would be used if it is a small storm, Lanza said. Aside from Millennium High School, most do not accept pets. See the shelter list here.
Shelters: Several shelters will open in Miami-Dade during storms. Click here for a full list.
After the storm: The OEM has a list of gas station and grocery stores with backup power capability in case the power goes out. These stores will be more likely to be open following a hurricane.
Shelters: Shelters will not open for Category 3,4, or 5 hurricanes. The OEM recommends finding out what zone you live in to know when and if you need to evacuate. Click here to find your zone.