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Evacuations will be announced with enough time for you to prepare your home, pack your car, and drive to a place of safety well before tropical storm-force winds arrive. Brevard County Emergency Management will make the announcements for evacuations and available shelters and the City of Cocoa will share that information through their communication channels.
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Brevard County’s mandatory evacuation areas include the barrier islands, mobile and manufactured homes, and low-lying areas. Homes near US 1 may be in a storm surge zone. Visit the Brevard County Emergency Management website to determine whether you live in an evacuation zone. Deciding to stay when you are told to evacuate could mean a delay in emergency services and difficulty to reach you. It can also mean an increased risk of losing utility services. Visit Evacuation Zones to see if you are in an evacuation zone.
If you live east of the Indian River, across a causeway, you live on a barrier island. The following communities are considered barrier islands: Merritt Island, Cape Canaveral, Melbourne Beach, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbor Beach, Cocoa Beach and Indialantic.
Shelter locations and openings are incident specific and will be posted at Emergency Management on the Brevard Emergency Management social media pages, provided to 211 Brevard and sent out to the local media channels once those decisions have been made. Brevard County has general population, pet-friendly and special needs shelters.
A shelter is a place to go in the event of an evacuation, but it can be noisy, crowded and have few personal comforts. Shelters should be your last resort if you have nowhere else to go. A shelter is a stressful environment for everyone; please treat your fellow evacuees with courtesy and kindness.
Residents going to a shelter need to take their own supplies, some of which may be found in your disaster supply kit:
By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan, you can be better prepared for any situation.
Remember, being ready is the key to maintaining your independence.
There are three types of evacuation shelters available to the public: Primary Evacuation Shelters, Special Needs Shelters, and Pet-Friendly Shelters.
Never go to a shelter unless local officials have announced it is open. Shelter opening will be announced through local television, radio stations, social media, and the Brevard County Emergency Management Website.
Shelters are designed to house residents of the barrier islands (including Merritt Island), those in low-lying or flood-prone areas, those in mobile/manufactured homes, or those with no other sheltering options.
If you choose to go to a shelter, follow these instructions:
Shelters are intended to keep you safe, not necessarily comfortable. Remember, a shelter is a life boat, not a cruise ship.
Pet-friendly shelters are designed to accommodate household pets. Owners are responsible for the feeding, care, clean-up, and behavior of their pets. Shelter openings are incident-specific. Never go to a shelter unless local officials have announced it is open.
If you go to a pet-friendly shelter, you will need:
The Brevard County Special Needs program is for residents with specific health and/or medical conditions needing assistance with sheltering in times of an emergency or disaster during an evacuation. Residents who meet the Special Needs criteria and have no other alternative for a safe shelter should register with Emergency Management.
Applications are available:
Once registered, annual updates are required to keep information current and up-to-date.
As part of the Special Needs registration application, there will be space provided to share information about your pets. Due to health concerns, pets are NOT allowed in Special Needs shelters, so when it comes time to go to the shelter, you will receive a call which will verify your need to be taken to a shelter and pet information. You will be given an approximate time that you will be picked up and Animal Services will pick up your pet. You will need to have your disaster kit, your pet, and their items ready. Once the emergency has passed, and you have returned home, Animal Services will return your pet.
Transportation is free to all Special Needs and primary evacuation shelters, and will be provided to residents who register a transportation request either as a part of a special needs application or if a resident has no means of transport to a shelter. Transportation will only be provided to and from a shelter. No other destinations will be provided.
YES. It is a good idea to turn off the water to your home if you plan to evacuate. Also, if you own a dock, make sure to turn off the water there as well. If the main from the meter to your home breaks while you are away, it can cause flooding in and around your home.
The City of Cocoa does not turn off water during a storm. Depending on the trajectory and strength of the impending storm, City leadership may decide to isolate the system that supplies water to the barrier islands (Merritt Island, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach) from the main utility system since that system is more susceptible to breaks in the system. Breaks in the barrier island system could be unreachable for many hours depending on the storm and therefore cause pressure loss to the entire utility system. This is not a guarantee for every storm. If this happens, there will still be water service, but it will be limited to the amount stored in tanks on the barrier island. Local city and utility officials will evaluate the speed, direction, and intensity of the forecasted storm to determine if and when an isolation to the system is needed. Once the decision has been made, the message will go out through the multiple communication channels throughout the entire county and will be communicated to the news media and through the City's website and social media pages.
Barrier islands include all areas east of the Indian River including Merritt Island, Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. Water main breaks are highly likely on the barrier islands but can happen at any location where the storm hits. All residents are advised to be prepared for potential loss of water service and for the possible issue of a Precautionary Boil Water Notice once water service is restored. Prepare by storing water ahead of the storm.
Causeways DO NOT close prior to a storms arrival. Residents are provided every opportunity to evacuate. However, it is unsafe to cross causeways in high winds. After the storm has passed, causeways will close until it has been inspected for safety by the Florida Department of Transportation. This is why it is very important to remain off the roadways immediately following a storm, to give the proper authorities time to clear and inspect the roadways so they are safe for travel.
Brevard County Emergency Management will always be the go to source for the latest information on any emergency situation.
If you need emergency assistance dial 9-1-1.
Facebook: Brevard County Emergency Management (Click "Get Notifications" under the "Liked" button to ensure that you see all of the posts)
Text Alerts: Text Follow BrevardEOC to 40404 (normal text messaging rates apply)
Facebook: City of Cocoa - Government (Click "Get Notifications" under the "Liked" button to ensure that you see all of the posts)
Text and E-mail Alerts: Sign-up to receive text and e-mail notifications and click on the Hurricane Weather Alerts under the Alert Center Notifications
Mobile App: Download our mobile app, Cocoa Connect
Website: www.weather.gov/mlb/Twitter: @NWSMelbourneFacebook: US National Weather Service Melbourne Florida (Click "Get Notifications" under the "Liked" button to ensure that you see all of the posts)
Phone: 2-1-1Website: www.211brevard.orgTwitter: @2-1-1 BrevardFacebook: 211 Brevard (Click "Get Notifications" under the "Liked" button to ensure that you see all of the posts)
Twitter: @BrevardSchoolsFacebook: Brevard Public Schools (Official) (Click "Get Notifications" under the "Liked" button to ensure that you see all of the posts)
Mobile App: BPS Mobile (Sign-up for push notifications to get the latest information on school closures)
City of Cocoa Police Non-Emergency Line: (321) 639-7620
Brevard County Sheriff Non-Emergency Lines:
Florida Power and Light (Report an Outage): (800) 468-8243
Florida Price Gouging Hotline (To Report): (866) 966-7226
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): (800) 621-3362; www.ready.gov
Florida City Gas: (888) 352-5325
Florida Division of Emergency Management: www.floridadisaster.org
National Hurricane Center: www.nhc.noaa.gov
United Way of Brevard assists with storm related volunteer efforts. Please make sure to prepare yourself and your family first and then if you are able, here are links if you are interested in volunteering.
The City of Cocoa has provided piles of sand in the past for residents to fill their own sand bags but this is not a guarantee before each storm. Not all homes need sandbags. Research ahead of time if you live in a low-lying area that is prone to flooding. Sandbags may be used to protect your home by placing them across doorways to prevent water from entering the building. Most home improvement stores carry sandbags. You can purchase them and keep them in your hurricane supply kit and then fill them with sand or dirt available on your property. Home improvement stores often sell fill dirt as well. Remember DO NOT fill your bags with sand from the beach. If you plan ahead, this will save you time when a storm is approaching. Remember, lines were quite long to get sandbags during Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma. Location and availability of sandbags available prior to a storm will be updated as the information becomes available. Most local municipalities do not provide sandbags prior to a storm.
The City's waste services provider will collect trash and yard debris prior to the storm's arrival. However, do not wait until the last minute to clean up your yard and dispose of your debris. Any debris not able to be picked up can become projectiles and can clog drains and cause flooding. Please keep your yard maintained throughout hurricane season. Do not stack debris near storm drains. Residents will be notified via the City's website and social media channels when the last pick-up will occur. After that point, please remove any loose debris from your yard.
Public Safety personnel are always on duty and ready to respond. Please be aware that emergency responses could be delayed due to storm conditions or damaged or blocked roadways. Your safety is our main concern as well as the safety of our Public Safety personnel.
Electricity outages are likely during a storm. You can prepare ahead of time by making sure the trees in your yard are free from any power lines prior to storm season. Visit http://www.fplmaps.com/ to see outages and keep track of when power will be restored. Florida Power and Light (FPL) works very hard to restore service to customers as quickly as possible.
Many times after a large storm that brings a lot of rain, there is a lot of pressure on sewer systems from all of the storm water. Also, electricity outages can mean the loss of power at some pump stations. After a hurricane, you may be asked to limit usage to sanitary use only —that means strictly limiting or not doing laundry, taking only very short showers, no watering your lawns, and limiting dish washing or any other activity that sends a lot of water down the drain and into the sewer system. To prevent back-up into homes, conservation is a good option. Only use your water for what is necessary until the systems can get back to normal after the storm. This is also another good reason not to rush back home after the storm.
Please be patient after the storm has passed. Public service personnel are working hard to get our communities back up and running safely as quickly as possible. You can help by keeping the roads clear so service personnel can get to areas of concern quickly. Make sure to keep your debris piles separated. Debris pickup will go a lot faster if debris is separated into vegetative and other debris piles. Debris pick-up will begin as quickly as possible. Following a storm, Brevard County Waste will be sending debris trucks around to pick up debris. They are covering a large portion of the county which can delay pickup. Waste Management can not pick up any debris that is not in a Waste Management container during the time frame that the county is collecting debris. If you have smaller piles of debris, you can place them in your waste receptacle to be picked up by Waste Management.
Do not rush back to your home after you have evacuated. Public Safety personnel are out and about making sure the roadways are safe for your return and it is easier to do that without all of the traffic back on the roadways. Many traffic lights will be out, roadways can be flooded, power lines can be down and utility service many not be established at your home yet. Please remember to take your time returning home until it is safe to do so. Be patient and be careful.