Marion state of emergency declared

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Hurricane Irma anticipation

The Marion County Board of County Commissioners declared a state of local emergency on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, in anticipation of the potential for severe weather resulting from Hurricane Irma’s approach toward the Sunshine State. This local state of emergency is issued under the provisions provided by Florida Statutes and follows Gov. Rick Scott’s declaration for all 67 counties in Florida on Labor Day.

A declaration of a local state of emergency provides the framework for coordination between agencies as outlined in the county’s comprehensive emergency management plan. Marion County Emergency Managment, a division of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, provides overall coordination of county response in emergency situations.

Marion County Public Schools announced that all football games scheduled for Friday have been moved to Thursday.

Residents are encouraged to prepare this week in anticipation of a major hurricane impact. Some of the recommended steps residents are asked to take include:

*Sign up for Alert Marion at www.AlertMarion.com to receive emergency notifications via phone, email or text message.

*Know your flood risk and learn about flood insurance at www.marioncountyfl.org/flooding.

*Stay tuned for weather updates through weather alert radios, local media outlets, the county website (www.marioncountyfl.org) and county social media accounts.

*Review additional tips and planning tools at www.marionso.com/emergency-management.

*Review disaster plans for your family, business and property.

*Get your survival kit and important papers ready. Purchase any items you will need to complete your survival kit now to avoid long lines and limited supplies. A checklist can be found online at www.marionso.com/hurricane-preparedness.

When planning to evacuate, residents are advised to consider evacuating short distance (tens of miles, not hundreds of miles) to avoid the impacts of potential storm surge, significant rainfall flooding, and unsafe structures (mobile homes). Consider staying in safer structures that have window and door protection for hurricanes.

If your plans are to evacuate out of the area, please be aware of the uncertainty of the track of Hurricane Irma and that all of Florida is presently in the threat area. When evacuating, people should safely use real time traffic apps on their smart phones, such as Florida 511, to find the best route if roads become congested.

The state has also suspended the refill too-soon restriction. Residents can now refill their prescriptions and should also obtain a list of their medications from their pharmacists.

With the inclusion of Marion County in the declaration of a state of emergency, residents are now protected by the state’s price gouging law. Residents who suspect price gouging can report it to the Attorney General’s hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.