PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay County officials are ready to answer questions you may have about Hurricane Ian. The CIC or Citizens Information Center hotline will provide as many answers as possible.

While the storm isn’t a big threat for us in the Panhandle, they still want to help worried residents.

Bay County officials opened up the hotline on Monday. The CIC was formed after Hurricane Michael and is now used for any relevant event.

“This allowed our 911 call operators to focus on emergencies,” Bay County Public Information Officer Valerie Sale said.

The hotline was open during the pandemic and received over 4,500 calls. During the complex fires, over 450 people used the number.

County leaders said the CIC is more efficient than dialing 911 with a question.

“It’s much better they call the CIC rather than the 911 center because we really those folks focusing on taking emergency calls,” Sale said.

Bay County librarians will be answering the hotline. Making sure they have the right information is a team effort.

“Generally the way that the information flows is our 911 call operators will get a sense of the most frequently asked questions over the course of the event and then we will formulate the lists of questions that our CIC may get,” Sale explained.

The CIC hotline has started taking calls. So far, they are getting questions about shelters.

“At this time we don’t anticipate that there’s going to be a need to open any shelters, if that changes we will certainly be putting that out to the public,” Sale said.

People are also asking about possible bridge closings.

“The bridge is going to be staying open, were very fortunate that it looks like Bay County won’t be getting the brunt of the storm,” Sale added.

Officials say the CIC hotline will stay open until the storm has completely moved away from the area.

The hotline number is (850) 248- 6090. They are open Monday through Saturday. There will be an extensive recording after hours.