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SEE HOW: Leon County Schools transform into storm shelters when hurricanes threaten neighbors

During Hurricane Idalia, the district was able to activate 11 sites within 6 hours
Posted at 7:25 PM, May 31, 2024
  • When a storm threatens the Big Bend, Leon County Schools open as shelters for neighbors to stay safe.
  • The district is able to activate 11 sites in six hours.
  • Watch the video above to see how the process works when evacuation orders are given.


If you do need to get in the car and evacuate, you could end up at a school near you. I'm Kendall Brandt your neighborhood reporter. I'm at Lincoln High School, which is one of the Leon County Schools that turns into a shelter when we see storms like hurricanes.

When storms threaten the Big Bend, like Hurricane Idalia did in 2023, it's important to know where to go for safety.

Look at this map, it shows where those shelters are in our neighborhoods.

School Safety Analyst Pedro Rebolledo is one of the people responsible for turning these Leon County schools into a safe haven.

"It usually doesn't take that long, last season we were able to activate 11 sites within 6 hours."

He says the principals of every Leon County School, "Need to be prepared to activate within 48 hours."

School Safety Analyst Pedro Rebolledo talks with ABC 27's Kendall Brandt

They use the school's gym or cafeteria to store food, water and give neighbors a place to sleep. Each neighbor will get a space of 20 square feet. It's just enough room for this cot.

"We utilize our shelter space as a safe place to sleep while it's not safe to be outside."

Once those shelters are activated, Leon County Emergency Management will send out a notification via the emergency alert system and the Leon County Citizen's connect app. If you need to evacuate, that's the time to head to a shelter.

It's important to remember that only people without immediate shelter or under an evacuation order should go to a shelter. If it's safe to stay home, save the shelter resources for your neighbors.