As subtropical storm Alberto was forming in the Yucatan Channel, on its way up the Gulf, a crowd of 20 people gathered at The Center of Anna Maria Island Friday, May 25 to get some tips for the storm season.
Some of the attendees were new to the area and some came from the mainland to attend the hurricane seminar. Red Cross volunteers Monte Messersmith and Mary Lochleidmen, who lives on the Island, urged the audience to stock up on survival supplies now.
“I have two shelves of supplies,” Messersmith said. One is for when I stay and ride it out and the other is for when I go.”
Messersmith said he has tarps and equipment to protect him and his home if he stays and he has all of his insurance information and other important paperwork plus immediate supplies if he leaves.
Both he and Lochleidmen urged the crowd to have a plan for where to go if they have to evacuate. They said people can reserve a room out of the danger zone and cancel it before the storm hits.
“If you lose your deposit, you can chalk it up to experience,” Messersmith said.
They said the county has a number of shelters in schools for those who have nowhere else to go, but they cautioned the crowd it is very uncomfortable.
Lochleidmen took out a beach towel and spread it out on the floor.
“This is roughly the amount of space you will have to sleep or sit,” she said. “If you have a pet, you will have to locate a shelter that takes pets and bring food and supplies for your pet.”
They said everyone should stock up on water, fuel and cash before the storm. They also said it would be a good idea to take stock of possessions in your home and document them with pictures and videos.
For those on medications, make sure you have enough for possibly a month, and make sure you take them with you, preferably in an airtight bag.
They closed their presentation by urging people to volunteer with the Red Cross if they want to help others.