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County commissioners approve improvements to emergency shelters

Posted at 3:22 PM, May 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-08 13:44:15-04

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - More than 3,000 people sought safety from Hurricane Irma at Leon County's 10 emergency shelters.

Tuesday night, the county commission approved a plan to improve shelter operations moving forward.

The county will work with the school district and Red Cross to enhance shelter staff and management and to make sure each shelter has the resources it needs before opening.

Under the new plan, the county would be in charge of opening risk shelters for local residents and the Red Cross remains responsible for host shelters for evacuees.

The school district would staff the risk shelters.

There's a list of preferred sites, but emergency management has the right to open other school facilities if necessary.

Commissioner Nick Maddox says shelter is critical during major weather events and this agreement gets everyone on the same page.

"We're just trying to sit down and come to the table to see what kind of plan we can put together that works best for our community," said Maddox. "It's great that our partners in this thing in LCS and Red Cross are coming together to address it. We've got a good plan on the table, so I feel pretty confident about it."

The agreement includes changes recommended from an after-action report.

The school district will train staff before hurricane season begins June 1 and the Red Cross will provide food and other resources to all shelters.

The commission also approved an agreement with the city to restructure the Community Redevelopment Agency. Find out more about that here.