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Franklin County prepares for hurricane season amid pandemic

Posted at 7:01 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 19:01:34-04

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) — Franklin County Beaches are open Monday for the first time since COVID-19 closures, but officials are looking ahead to another potential complication from the virus.

All this week, communities across the state of Florida are getting ready to deal with what Pamela Brownell, the Emergency Operation Center director in Franklin County, calls a tremendous undertaking.

Brownell says the largest obstacle she and her team are working to tackle is making sure they have equipment to send with evacuees in the event of a major storm.

"This is a little different than what we normally deal with with, just, you know, transporting people there, people going to that shelter," said Brownell. "They will be handling that, but we just wanna make sure that we have enough PPE equipment to help support their shelter."

Brownell says after Hurricane Michael, EOC staff will now evacuate once a storm hits Category 3. She encourages those in her care do the same, in addition to taking precautions for COVID-19.

"If you're called to evacuate, please wear your mask again," said Brownell. "That is to protect yourself and to protect others. Use the same safety precautions for COVID-19 in the shelter as you would out of the shelter."

People who live in the county say the best practice is common sense.

"I'm not too concerned about it right now," said Ron Karlin, who lives on St. George Island. "I think the pandemic's kind of winding down. Maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, and I think that you can still do social distancing as you evacuat. Just stay away from people, wear masks and use common sense."

Still, officials say they're counting PPE with each new shipment and making sure sandbags are available at filling stations across the county. Each of these steps being taken to make sure that you and your family are safe and protected.

Franklin County plans to have sandbag locations available at East Point, Alligator Point, Apalachicola, Carabelle and St. George Island.