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Polk County Hurricane Guide

    With hurricane season officially beginning on June 1st, the Polk County Board of County Commissioners' Emergency Management Division, the City of Bartow and WBF would like to remind citizens of the importance of advance preparation in the event of a storm.

    With the current tracking capabilities, no one should be surprised by a hurricane. The time is now to start making preparations in the event a disaster strikes.

Important Telephone Numbers         72-Hour Survival Kit

Shelter and Evacuation Information        

Special Care Program        

Disaster Planning Tips for Pets, Livestock and Wildlife

  • Be prepared to be self-sufficient (no electricity, no water, no telephone) for a minimum of 72 hours. Assemble a "72-hour Survival Kit" consisting of items such as non-perishable food items, water (1 gallon per person per day), clothing, medicines, flashlights, batteries, etc. Place your kit in a central location and in containers that are easily transportable in case evacuation is necessary.

  • Plan to shelter at home, if possible, and assemble the supplies necessary to protect your home from wind and water damage. If unable to shelter at home, decide where you will sheller and proceed to that location at the earliest available time. All occupants of' mobile homes should plan to evacuate. If you do evacuate, take your "72-Hour Survival Kit" with you.

  • Confirm that the shelter is open. Not all shelters will be open in the initial stages of a disaster. Tune in to Oldies 1130 WBF or call the Citizens Information Line, 863-534-0321, for shelter opening announcements (activated only during an emergency).
  Important Telephone Numbers
Polk County Information Telephone Numbers:
  • Police / Fire / Medical Emergencies Only: 911
  • Animal Services: 863-499-2600
  • Citizens Information Line: 863-534-0321 or toll-free: 866-661-0228
  • Communications Center: 863-534-0360
  • Emergency Management: 863-534-5600
  • Health Department: 863-519-8330
  • Licensing Board: 863-534-6080
  • Sheriff's Office: 863-534-6200 City Police Fire
  • Auburndale: 965-5555 965-5522
  • Bartow: 534-5034 534-5044
  • Davenport: 419-3110 419-3306
  • Dundee: 419-3110 419-3110
  • Eagle Lake: 293-5677 534-0360
  • Fort Meade: 285-1100 285-1100
  • Frostproof: 635-7849 635-7863
  • Haines City: 421-3636 421-3612
  • Lake Alfred: 291-5200 291-5202
  • Lake Hamilton: 439-1561 439-1561
  • Lakeland: 834-6900 834-8200
  • Lake Wales: 678-4223 678-4203
  • Mulberry: 425-1119 425-2912 or 425-1119
  • Winter Haven: 291-5858 291-5665 Donation and Volunteer Information Telephone Numbers:
  • American Red Cross (information): 866-438-4636
  • American Red Cross (donations): 800-448-3669
  • Salvation Army Donation Helpline: 800-996-2769
  • State Volunteer and Donations: 800-354-3571
  • United Way of Central Florida: 863-648-1515 or toll-free 800-881-8929 State of Florida Information Telephone Numbers:
  • Agricultural and Consumer Services: 800-435-7352
  • Attorney General's Price Gouging Hotline: 800-646-0444
  • Department of Insurance: 800-227-8676
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA): 800-681-8102
  • Elder Services: 800-963-5337
  • Emergency Information Line: 800-342-3557
  • Small Business Administration Helpline: 800-359-2227
  • Unemployment Compensation: 800-204-2418
FEMA Disaster Assistance: 800-621-3362

  Public Shelter Map
Polk County Government Hurricane season is fast-approaching and Polk County Emergency Management, along with Tourism and Sports Marketing, are making sure residents and visitors know how to prepare for their families and homes.

Emergency Public Shelter maps, with detailed directions to each of Polk County’s public shelters, are available at libraries throughout the county. They will also be available at many Publix Supermarkets in the area at the end of May. In addition, the maps include a list of suggested items for a 3-day survival kit, important telephone numbers, and a list of shelters that will accept pets during an emergency.

You can view a map of all Polk County public shelters at https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&jsv=107&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=101238063671114853297.00044b02507c811253deb&ll=28.008952,-81.838531&spn=0.869311,1.2854&z=10

Visit Polk County on the web, www.polk-county.net.
  72-Hour Survival Kit
    You should plan to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours (3 days) during and after a disaster. You should anticipate no water, electrical power, or utilities for that period of time. To ensure the comfort of your family, whether at home or evacuated to another location, it is suggested that the following items, at a minimum, be assembled and readily available:
    Baby Needs
  • Blankets
  • Diapers
  • Formula
  • Medicines
  • Spcial Foods

  • Change of Clothes
  • Rainwear

  • Drinking water in non-breakable containers
        (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Food (canned goods and nonperishable foods)
  • Special dietary food if required

    Personal Items
  • Personal Hygiene Items
  • Pills and Written Perscriptions
  • Spare Eyeglasses

    Sleep Items
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Sheets
  • Sleeping Bags or lawnchairs
    Battery Operated Items
  • Radio (headphones or earphone)
  • Flashlight
  • Extra Batteries

  • Books
  • Cards
  • Coloring Book and Crayons
  • Games
  • Magazines
  • Toys

    Other Items
  • Carrying container for items
  • First Aid Kit
  • Maps
  • Sanitary Supplies

    Valuables (place papers in a waterproof container)
  • Cash
  • Credit Cards
  • Extra Set of Car Keys
  • Identification
  • Policies
  • Photographs
  • Valuable Papers
    Other suggestions: Store the kit in a safe, convenient place known to all family members. If possible, it should be in a cool, dry, dark location. Keep a smaller version of your kit in the trunk of your car.

    Store the supplies in an easy-to-carry object such as a large, covered trash container, camping backpack, or duffle bag. Keep items, or groups of items, in waterproof and air-tight plastic bags. Change the water supply every three months so it stays fresh. Rotate the food every six months. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the proper procedure for storing prescription medications. Replace batteries often.
  Polk County Shelter and Evacuation Information
    It is the policy of the Polk County Emergency Management Division to recommend in-place shelter as the primary option during a disaster. For those unable to remain in place, especially those in mobile homes, the remaining choices should be considered in order of preference. Whichever of the following options is selected, it is advised that a 72-hour survival kit be assembled and ready, a course of action be planned, and that the plans be executed as soon as practicable before the disaster hits. The recommended options are:
  • In-place Shelter - plan to remain in residence during the emergency, if possible
  • Evacuate to Friends or Relatives Residence - if forced to evacuate, it is less traumatic for all concerned to be sheltered with familiar people, in more comfortable surroundings.
  • Evacuate the Area - other people leaving this area or areas in the projected path of the storm will also be on the road; leave at least 48-72 hours before the storm is expected to strike.
  • Evacuate to a Hotel/Motel - make arrangements early as rooms will fill quickly with other evacuees.
  • Evacuate to a Public Shelter.
Polk County has no designated evacuation areas because storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico is not a factor as in coastal counties. High winds and local flooding can threaten during a hurricane, and mobile home occupants should be cautious and seek shelter during these conditions.

All Public Shelters will not be activated for each possible emergency; they are opened as they are needed. Shelters are not pre-assigned by geographic area. For shelter information during a disaster, tune to Oldies 1130 WBF.

Have a 72-hour survival kit ready to take with you. No pets, weapons, or alcoholic beverages are permitted at the Public Shelters.


To obtain a Polk County Public Shelter Map, visit a Polk County Public Library near you.
  Polk County Special Care Program
    The Polk County Emergency Management's Special Care Program provides shelter and/or transportation for persons who need assistance with physical or non-acute medical conditions who must evacuate during emergency conditions.  It is specifically for people who have no other transportation or shelter options. Eligible persons must pre-register. For additional information, contact the Polk County Emergency Management Division at 863-534-5600.

    ELIGIBLES: Polk County Residents who live in mobile homes, unstable home site structures or areas of the county subject of flooding who fit into any of the following categories, regardless of age, are eligible.
  • Unable to administer own frequently required or daily injectable medications.
  • Requires daily or more frequent dressing changes because of moderate or copious drainage, such as ulcers, fistulas, etc.
  • Needs assistance with ostomy management, and indwelling catheters of any kind (n/g tube, colostomy bags, etc.)
  • Activities of daily living are so restricted by immobility that their basic needs must be met by others and those people are unavailable for this emergency.
  • Requires daily assessment of unstable medical condition by professional nursing personnel.  i.e., cardiac, diabetic, etc.
  • Cardiac or respiratory conditions which require special equipment such as oxygen, apnea monitors, or IPPM machines, etc.
  • Terminal illness, yet ambulatory, in need of professional assistance in administering heavy doses of pain medication.
  • All others deemed necessary by a triage nurse.
Persons in the following categories WILL NOT be eligible for care in Special Care Shelters:
  • Persons requiring hemodialysis procedures more than two times per week.  Individuals must check their own facility regarding arrangements for such situations.
  • High risk pregnancy within four weeks of estimated date of delivery or in active labor.  Ordinary pregnancy should get instructions from their obstetrician.
  • Persons in sudden acute medical or emergency condition.
  • Bedridden persons & persons requiring a hospital type bed who, for medical reasons, cannot use cots for emergency bedding & persons requiring a Hoyer lift for transfers.
  • Persons who, for medical reasons, require continuous air conditioning.
  • Oxygen dependent persons requiring oxygen four liter flow and higher.
What to bring to a Special Needs Shelter:
  • Personal and medical identification.
  • Home Health patient information packet/health care plan.
  • Daily prescription/non-prescription medicines for three days.
  • "Do Not Resuscitate" (DNR) Papers.
  • Health items - oxygen tanks (please do not bring oxygen concentrator), nebulizer, apnea monitor, feeding pump, eyeglasses, hearing aides, and prosthetic devices.
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • Change of clothes.
  • Blanket, pillow, if possible folding beach chair.
Special Care Shelters in Polk County
Stambaugh Middle School					226 North Main Street, Auburndale	Map
Polk County Health Department Specialty Care Unit	1255 Brice Road, Bartow			Map
Lake Gibson High School					7007 North Socrum Loop Road, Lakeland	Map

  Disaster Planning Tips for Pets, Livestock and Wildlife
    Whether it's a large-scale natural catastrophe or an unforeseen emergency that causes you to leave your home temporarily, everyone's family can benefit from having a household evacuation plan in place before disaster strikes. Every disaster plan must include your pets!

    If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own; and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.

    For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in your area allow pets --well in advance of needing them (there are two links at the bottom of this page directing you to motels and hotels that accept pets). Include your local animal shelter's number in your list of emergency numbers --they might be able to provide information concerning pets during a disaster.

    Make sure identification tags and rabies tags are up to date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home. Have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.

    Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can't escape.

    Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they're not available later. While the sun is still shining, consider packing a "pet survival" kit which could be easily deployed if disaster hits.

    If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters need your pet's medical records to make sure vaccinations are current. Include copies in your "Pet Survival Kit" along with a photo of your pet.

    If it is impossible to take your pet with you to temporary shelter, contact friends, family, veterinarians, or boarding kennels to arrange for care. Make sure medical and feeding information, food, medicine and other supplies accompany your pet to his foster home. NOTE: Some animal shelters will provide temporary foster care for owned pets in times of disaster, but this should be considered only as a last resort as shelters will fill up rapidly and usually they have only enough space for normal day to day operations

    If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place it in great danger! Confine your pet to a safe area inside --NEVER leave your pet chained outside! Place a notice outside in a visible area, advising what pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached, as well as the name and number of your vet.

    Not only are pets affected by disaster, but other animals in the disaster area are affected as well.

    EVACUATE LIVESTOCK WHENEVER POSSIBLE. Arrangements for evacuation, including routes and host sites, should be made in advance. Alternate routes should be mapped out in case the planned route is inaccessible.

    The evacuation sites should have or be able to readily obtain food, water, veterinary care, handling equipment and facilities.

    Trucks, trailers, and other vehicles suitable for transporting livestock (appropriate for transporting each specific type of animal) should be available along with experienced handlers and drivers to transport them. Whenever possible, the animals should be accustomed to these vehicles in advance so they're less frightened and easier to move.

    If evacuation is not possible, a decision must be made whether to move large animals to available shelter or turn them outside. This decision should be determined based on the type of disaster and the soundness and location of the shelter (structure).

    All animals should have some form of identification that will help facilitate their return.

    Persons owning herds of livestock will not be able to evacuate their animals. The biggest problem in these cases is flooding and downed fences caused by fallen trees.

    Your disaster plan should include a list of emergency phone numbers for local agencies that can assist you if a disaster strikes, including your veterinarian, the Humane Society and S.P.C.A., Polk County Animal Services, Sheriffs Office Agricultural Unit, The County Extension Service, local agricultural schools and livestock associations and the American Red Cross. These numbers should be kept with your disaster kit in a secure, but easily accessible place.

    Wild animals often seek higher ground which, during floods, eventually become isolated by flood waters (i.e., island) and the animals become stranded. If the island is large enough and provides suitable shelter, you can leave food appropriate to the species (i.e., sunflower seeds for squirrels). Animals have a flight response and will flee from anyone approaching too closely. If the animal threatens to rush into the water, back away from the island or you may frighten the animal into jumping into the water to escape from you.

    Wildlife often seek refuge from flood waters on upper levels of a home and may remain inside even after the water recedes. If you meet a rat or snake face to face, be careful, but don't panic. Open a window or other escape route and the animal will probably leave on its own. Never attempt to capture a wild animal unless you have the training, protective clothing, restraint equipment and caging necessary to perform the job.

    Beware of an increased number of snakes and other predators who will try to feed on the carcasses of reptiles, amphibians and small mammals who have been drowned or crushed in their burrows or under rocks.

    Often, during natural disasters, mosquitoes and dead animal carcasses may present disease problems. Outbreaks of anthrax, encephalitis and other diseases may occur. Contact your local emergency management office for help!

    If you see an injured or stranded animal in need of assistance, or you need help with evicting an animal from your home, please contact your local animal control office or animal shelter!

  • Bottles of water
  • Pet food (if dry food, it should be stored in plastic zip lock bags to prevent it from getting wet)
  • Manual can opener
  • Medicines
  • Heartworm preventative
  • First aid kit
  • Bandaging supplies
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Pet carrier (this is an extremely important item as it can be used as a cage since sheltering space will be limited)
  • Collar or harness (The pets animal license and/or rabies tag should be attached. The collar or harness should be worn by the pet at all times).
  • Leash
  • Pet waste removal supplies
  • Cat litter (the clumping type is lower volume)
  • Litter pans (small disposable tin cake pans are best)
  • Scoop to remove waste
  • Plenty of newspapers (store inside a plastic garbage bag to keep dry)
  • Plastic garbage bags to store waste in

    During a hurricane, WBF will implement its own in-house hurricane plan. Part of this plan involves the monumental job of keeping the station on the air. WBF has an on-site 15,000 watt electrical back-up generator, powered by propane, with a runtime of 60 hours per tank. Our studio and transmitter site have been designed for hurricane force winds. We will do everything possible to maintain our on-air service.