Sheriff Chad Chronister and Sgt. Stephen Hoopes discuss the 2020 hurricane season, how you can prepare, and how #teamHCSO has been preparing. For more information, visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes
Speaker 1: Attention Hillsborough County, Unit 100 is now present. Group: I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will support, protect and defend. Speaker 1: I repeat Unit 100. Your sheriff, Chad Chronister is now here. Group: And I will follow him faithfully to perform the duties of deputy sheriff of which I am about to enter. So help me God. Speaker 3: and now the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office brings you Keeping It 100 With Sheriff Chad Chronister. Amanda Granit: Hello everyone this is Amanda granite, your host, and we are talking all about hurricane prep for this episode of Keeping It 100. Of course, with us is your sheriff, Chad Chronister. Thanks for joining us, sir. Chad Cronister: Hi Amanda. It's great to be back doing these podcasts again with you and what an important topic we're going to cover today. Amanda Granit: Certainly in joining us for this episode is Sergeant Steven Hoopes. Thank you so much, Sargent for joining us. Sgt. Hoopes: Oh, you're welcome, happy to be here. Amanda Granit: So now that we are going into June, we are going into the time that us Floridians know as hurricane season. We're not going to get into what we think it's going to be like for the season, because that's not our job. What our job is, is to make sure that people are prepared and safe. Chad Cronister: Well we can talk about it's supposed to be a very active season. Amanda Granit: Yes. Chad Cronister: A busy season, which should even prompt our community to say, "Hey, listen, the time to be prepared as now." Amanda Granit: Exactly. And how can people start being prepared now? What are the things that they should do ahead of a storm ever being in the forecast? Chad Cronister: Well, I think whenever you talk about enduring and trying to minimize whatever loss we think about when we try to prepare for hurricane is just that, you have to be prepared. You have to have a ... And the only way to be prepared is to have a plan in place. Make sure that you have that seven days of food and water, make sure those important medications are filled. And I think one thing that we found during some of the other hurricanes is make sure you have a plan for your pets. Leaving them tied out in the back yard, saying, "Hey, I'm getting out of here," isn't a plan. They need to be prepared to. If this happens, if a hurricane was to hit, what are we going to do? Chad Cronister: And lastly is an evacuation plan. Make sure you have a plan in place so if it gets to that point and it gets that serious, you know what evacuation zone you're in. So if we say evacuation zone B, you know hold on a second, that's me and my loved ones. You have a plan in place and you know if that happens where are you going? Amanda Granit: Sergeant you not only live here with your family, but also you've been on the streets during hurricanes like Irma and you've, you've seen it firsthand. What do people forget to do? What are the things that you would want to remind them to do now before the hurricane is bearing down on us? Sgt. Hoopes: Well yeah, the biggest thing is not wait. We've seen what it's like especially now with this pandemic going on, you don't want to be in the stores last minute trying to get water, or trying to get toilet paper when then new fear sets in, unfortunately, and people start hoarding. So like you mentioned, you want to have it hurricane kit ready. You want to have enough food and water, non perishable foods and cans. But again, the time is now to go out and get that stuff and slowly start accumulating it rather than waiting for a named storm to be approaching and be out in the crowd and trying to deal with it then. Amanda Granit: Anything that you guys would recommend be in that hurricane kit that people might not think about? Chad Cronister: You know, one thing that always comes to mind, and again, during that last hurricane we heard it quite prevalent, is you worry about your loved ones, you worry about your pets, you worry about the food and water. What about those important documents that you need? You think it's too late, well hold on a second my house has gone and what about my insurance? Well, you have no information. Whatever important documentation, you get that together. The time is to have that together now too knowing that if something happens, you're going to need those documents. Chad Cronister: And number two, cash. Make sure you have some cash where you keep it in a safe, doesn't have to be all kinds of money, but have some cash so what if the power does go out? ATM's work on power. You're going to need some cash there to hold you over for a while. So again, if I had to add something to what we've already said, what Sergeant Hoopes and I've already said when it comes to preparing a hurricane kit, have those important documents in place as well, to where you can easily grab those and take off. And have some cash on hand to knowing that it may be awhile before electric resumes and you can get access to your money. Amanda Granit: And while other people are getting prepared, how prepared is team HCSO for any storms we may run into? Chad Cronister: I'll start and then turn over to Sergeant Hoopes. But we're very prepared. We train all year round, we'll do a agency-wide exercise and punch it and place a lot of different scenarios to make sure that ... What happens if the generator goes out in one of the districts? What happens if the radio system goes down? And having those backup plans in place. Chad Cronister: So we're extremely prepared. We've put a lot of focus on purchasing high water vehicles. We'll start placing our high water assets around in different places. We know, hey if it comes where we take in our boats, our canoes, our fan boat, our flats boat. So we are prepared and I think that's always a lot of comfort being the sheriff is if a hurricane comes, we are going to be prepared. We have a plan of redundancy plan and then a backup plan, knowing that we're still going to be able to provide those vital services that we need to provide to our community. Sergeant Hoopes. Sgt. Hoopes: Yeah, part of that plan is training advanced and getting [inaudible 00:05:18]. We have our own hurricane kits. Each district has their own trailers ready with barricades, chainsaws. All the deputies, or select deputies have gone through training to be able to deploy, that way if trees are blocking important roads and evacuation zones, they can get out there in a timely manner. Again, with the right equipment and pickup trucks, to be able to navigate through low waters, cut away debris in the roadway and help the citizens be able to evacuate or get back in to their neighborhoods. Chad Cronister: And then we're a part of those rescue teams too where we go out with a Hillsborough County Fire. So that's one thing, a lot of people don't ever ... It doesn't come to mind when you think about rescue, well deputies, aren't doing that. We sure are. We're assigned to those teams. So be prepared before, we're prepared during, and then we're part of that recovery process afterwards, that whole search and rescue process. Amanda Granit: Sergeant what can people do, look around their homes right now and kind of observe so that if a storm does come into the forecast, they know how to prepare their home? Sgt. Hoopes: Yeah, definitely. There's a lot of low cost things you can do just simply like cleaning up around the house. Low-hanging tree branches. It definitely, if the storm is projected to come in our area you want to remove the flowerpots, things that you might just not think about that could become projectiles. And well that and address things in your house that could become a bigger problem. If you have that small leak, that's gone unaddressed, now's the time to get that fixed. If you were thinking about, "Hey, maybe I should get hurricane shutters or hurricane windows." You might want to upgrade those now. If you wait until a storm's coming, you're not going to be able to get it done. And same with insurance, you want to make sure you're properly insured, flood insurance. If a named storm is approaching, they're not going to be writing new policies. So you want to start thinking about those things now. Chad Cronister: Great advice. Amanda Granit: Yeah, certainly. And sheriff when it comes to shelters, a lot of people have to evacuate their homes because of where they live in proximity to the water or their land level, where can people find information? That's what we want people to know right now. We don't have a storm coming to us now, but here's how you can be ready to get the information you need. Chad Cronister: The best resource available is ready.gov. Ready.gov has so much information. You can click on different segments and tabs that get the information that you need. And you talked about shelters, we have a phenomenal relationship with the Hillsborough County school board and school administration and school superintendent. And we will open up those shelters when we need to. They're so accommodating, they help feed, they helped clothe, they helped make sure people had plenty to drink. They even had those shelters that were pet friendly, that you could bring your pets to make sure that they were okay when you had to evacuate from your home. Chad Cronister: So again, I think it all goes back Amanda, to just being prepared. Making sure that we're prepared, what revisions do we need to make to make sure that ... This is probably, they're predicting going to be a busy storm, a busy time, and just making sure that we're ready in every facet. Amanda Granit: Certainly. Sergeant kind of one last message for the community as we go into this hurricane season that is expected and forecast to be a little bit more active than usual. What's your message to the residents of Hillsborough County? Sgt. Hoopes: Yeah. I mean, there's a laundry list of things we could discuss. I think one thing's, if you have children is start planning and communicating with them ahead of time. If a storm's coming, that can be a scary time. You mentioned the ready gov website. There is a section in there dedicated for kids and there's learning material games on there. They even have coloring books, which is educational. And it's a good time to start communicating and developing that plan with your children so they're not freaked out when we are dealing with this. Amanda Granit: And sheriff message to the community? Chad Cronister: He said it perfectly, be prepared, have a pant plan in place. And the best time to be prepared is now, not when a storm is bearing down on the State of Florida. Amanda Granit: All right. And everyone, of course, as storms may come into our forecast, you can always catch the latest by following us on social media at, @HCSO Sheriff. We'll keep you updated, we'll keep you informed, and of course, we'll keep you safe. See you next time. Speaker 9: Thank you for listening to this edition of Keeping It 100. To keep up with team HCSO in between each episode, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at HCSO Sheriff.