The threat of thunderstorms kept the early morning crowds light but over a dozen service organizations and agencies set up at Community Maritime Park Saturday morning for the first annual Hurricane-Disaster Preparedness Day.
The event was a collaboration between the City of Pensacola, Escambia County and BRACE, the Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies. Greg Strader, the Executive Director of BRACE, talked about the importance of putting together a hurricane kit filled with items to help you get through the first 72 hours of a hurricane or other disaster. This year families are getting a little help building that kit. Through next Sunday, June 8, there is no Florida sales tax on items from flashlights and batteries to portable generators.
"The first 72 hours are on you" according to Elton Gilmore, Operations Officer with Escambia County Emergency Management. He says that gives officials time to clear roads, hold rescue operations and start getting the power back on. Gilmore said the Emergency Operations Center is set up and ready go for the season. In fact, he said with the ice storm and flood events they've already had more practice than they wanted.
At the event there were demonstrations on the proper installation and operation of a home generator, as well a lot of information from health and service agencies. The Salvation Army was giving tours of its newly purchased food truck.
Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward spent time addressing the crowd and greeting members of the participating groups and the media. He said getting together like this is important for the city. The mayor also pointed out that the recent floods showed how important cooperation can be.
The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane season lasts until November 30. The first named storm will be called Arthur.