Though Debby didn’t make it to hurricane status, she sure made a mess of things! The National Weather Service is predicting a pretty busy hurricane season this year, so please be sure you stock up on water and non-perishable foods, and make your transportation plans now – before a storm is upon us. PSTA has a big, thick procedure manual that outlines exactly what we do in case of a hurricane. Here are things you should know:
In the event of a hurricane, PSTA works with Pinellas County Emergency Management to assist with evacuation by providing bus transportation to designated shelters. A list of the shelters and the bus routes that serve them will be posted on the weather alert page of PSTA.net prior to a pending storm.
There are also several locations where passengers can transfer and ride to a shelter with available space. The transfer locations are: Park Street Terminal, Williams Park, Central Plaza Terminal, , Tyrone Square Mall, and Shoppes at Park Place.
Pets are allowed on evacuation buses as long as they are in a pet carrier. If you plan to evacuate to a shelter that accepts pets you must pre-register with Pinellas County Animal Services.
If you or a family member needs transportation to a “special needs” shelter you must pre-register with Pinellas County Emergency Management, or call the Citizen Information Center during a storm at (727) 464-4333.
PSTA will phase out regular bus service as a storm approaches in order to assist with evacuations and will stop all service once a storm has sustained Tropical Storm Force winds (40 mph).
Service will resume as soon as possible after a storm passes. We will keep the local media updated about the status of service, so tune in to your TV and radio stations for the most up-to-date information. During Debby we also tried to post updates on our website, Facebook, and Twitter. Since those rely upon both electricity and internet access we might not be able to keep them as updated as we’d like during a big storm.
So, get prepared, have a plan, and be safe!
~Cyndi Raskin-Schmitt, RidePSTA Blog Editor