BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Officials are taking no chances with Hurricane Ian urging everyone from the Florida Panhandle to Tampa Bay to get prepared.
State and local officials held a news conference on Monday at the Bay County Emergency Operations Center ahead of Hurricane Ian’s arrival.
“We urge you to keep your guard up,” said Bay County’s Chief of Emergency Services, Brad Monroe. “There is still some uncertainty about the storm.”
Monroe said Bay County is well prepared for Hurricane Ian.
“There’s been significant improvement to our communication processes,” Monroe said. “We’re still working on that here at the 911 center and Emergency Operations Center to ensure we have those proper channels of communication and are able to recover after the storm.”
Bay County Commission Chairman, Robert Carroll, said the county has put in $47 million worth of safety improvements since Hurricane Michael.
“We have pursued and received a lot of state funding and FEMA funding for resiliency, for rebuilding for hardening projects, replacing windows, replacing roofs, making stronger fire departments,” Carroll said.
Because the Panhandle went through Hurricane Michael, officials said they know what to do when getting ready for a storm.
“We’ve gotten experience through the school of hard knocks here in Bay County both at the local government level as well as our citizens,” said Bay County Sheriff, Tommy Ford.
Congressman Neal Dunn was also at Monday’s news conference. He also plans to visit other counties that could be impacted in his district.
“I will be visiting each of those EOC’s in the next 48 hours,” Dunn said. “Each county has the wherewithal, has the plan, but they need to be able to get all of the constituents to listen to the plan and partake in the plan. There’s always a few people who think they’re tougher than a storm and that’s not a good attitude.”
Congressman Dunn said people in his district that might be impacted by Hurricane Ian should also be ready for the rebuild phase.
He said they will be ready to go to work in Tallahassee and Washington D.C. when the time comes.