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Evacuation Ready?

Leon County emergency managers say in the worst case scenario, a category four or five storm, and with session on and two home games, more than 61,000 people would have to evacuate the area. It's a lot of people, but Leon County Emergency Management says plans are in place to handle it.

It's one thing when you get stuck in a rush hour traffic jam. Imagine adding the tension of a hurricane headed in our direction and thousands of your neighbors trying to get out of town.

Richard Smith, Leon County Emergency Management Director, says, "The evacuation network is only going to take the maximum amount of evacuees that it can take, so be prepared for some waits."

Smith says the county has planned for the worst case scenario, and for the most part the county's 10 major evacuation routes would be able to handle the more than 61,000 evacuees, and others from surrounding counties.

But it's going to take some cooperation, and he says that means knowing how you would get out of town. Blue signs are your first clue.

Bob Pennington, a Leon County resident, says, “I've seen one somewhere, but if it's that bad where I can't remember where it is, that's pretty bad. They oughta put it out there where it's got a blinking light saying, ‘evacuation route, evacuation route!’"

There are no blinking signs, but signs are there to point you in the right direction, and if you're confused, Richard Smith says call your local emergency management. He says the time to plan is now and not wait until the storm is barreling our way.

Richard Smith also brought up another point when it comes to evacuations. He says if you don't have to, then secure your home and stay there. He says this is one of the valuable lessons we can take from Houston during Rita when there was an over evacuation.

And if there are backups on evacuation routes, Smith says the evacuation routes will be monitored and if a back up occurs they will redirect traffic so everyone gets out safely.


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