Hurricane Dorian – Special message from the ALDA Suncoast Chapter

In News by ALDA News

A special message from the ALDA Suncoast Chapter and Chris Littlewood: Please share with those you know in Florida and above all else, stay safe.

Dear ALDA & D/HH friends and all our friends and family,

Dorian will most likely make landfall somewhere on the east coast of Florida. And it may come across the State and impact the Gulf Side around Tampa and the surrounding area as a Category 1 (winds of 74 miles an hour or more). The east coast will most likely face up to a Cat. 4 hurricane. Where exactly it will make landfall continues to be anyone’s guess. That said, be prepared. Get all of your emergency and disaster supplies ready. Governor Desantis has already declared a State of Emergency for all of Florida. Here are some Websites to review for updated information (you can find the same in many local Florida regions like those noted for Tampa and Pinellas County).

2. (The Ready Pinellas App is a great tool for download on this pg)

Below is A LOT more information for both people with disabilites and EVERYONE. Read on or save for later.

One of my favorite meteorologists is Denis Phillips on ABC Action News Tampa Bay (the suspender guy). The captions are usually good on ABC too. He has a list on his FaceBook page of things to know about a hurricane. Here is the list he created several years ago (You can also follow him on Facebook. He (or his team I’m guessing) posts regularly, both serious and funny information:

If you haven’t been through a tropical storm or a hurricane in awhile, here are a few reminders.

1. Storm track errors past 3 days can be HUGE. Don’t get caught up on forecasts that far out. You’ll go crazy.
2. Models flip flop back and forth all the time. Look for trends, don’t look at individual model runs
3. If you didn’t prepare in June (which you probably didn’t), do so now. Check your hurricane kit and guide to see what YOU and your family need.
4. Don’t freak out.
5. Don’t freak out. Ok? Those who live in Florida, it goes with the territory. The odds of a storm affecting Florida directly is usually low. Usually.
6. If things get bad, KNOW that we will be there with you 24-7. You’re going to hear a ton of information. It can get confusing. Stick with us. We won’t steer you wrong.
7. Stop freaking out….until I tell you to. We’re fine.

Denis Phillips also posted this one time… “Don’t freak out unless you see me freaking out.” (I think). I would agree with this one for sure! Also, if you see Jim Cantore from TWC in your neighborhood, that’s not good – SMILE, but seriously.

I will remind everyone that no matter the category of the storm, damage from winds and floods are always possible. I have seen in my 39 years in Florida even a tropical storm cause some serious damage. Squalls (sudden high winds and rain) and tornadoes can be a real problem.


A. The BEST and safest place to evacuate is outside an evacuation zone with family OR friends. A public shelter should be a last resort.
B. If you live in an evacuation or decide to evacuate, DO IT EARLY. Don’t WAIT.
C. If you go to a public shelter, there most likely will NOT be interpreters or accommodations for people who are D/HH. You are still welcome in a general population shelter.
D. A “special needs” shelter is for people with medical special needs such as specialized medical care, needs for durable medical equipment, refrigeration or power (for saving your life – not keeping your beer cold! SMILE, but seriously. )
E. For people who are D/HH, make sure you have extra hearing aid/CI batteries, pen and paper, your smart phone (notes pages and other apps), etc. for communication in emergencies with people who are hearing.
F. Power may go out and cell towers may go down. Be prepared for that.
G. Once winds reach 40-45 miles per hour, first responders such as fire, EMS, police are locked down too and DO NOT respond. You are on your own until things calm down.

Finally now, remember by definition in a disaster, resources are overwhelmed. Don’t expect emergency management, FEMA, or other agencies to be there at the drop of a hat. It takes time. It is everyone’s responsibility to help. Take care of yourself and your families FIRST. Then reach out to help your neighbors and your community as you are able.

Stay tuned for more info for preparedness as I am able and watch the news for more updates and BE SAFE!

Best, ALDA Suncoast Chapter and
Chris Littlewood
ALDA Suncoast Board and Past President
D/HH self-advocate for inclusive emergency preparedness

Thank you from the ALDA Suncoast Chapter.