Disaster Preparedness & Tips

Have a Family Emergency Plan

The Great Hurricane Blowout offers a number of preparation resources including tools for building a family emergency plan and hurricane emergency kit at www.greathurricaneblowout.org.

What will your family do if a hurricane is coming? You should have a family emergency plan.

  • Collect copies of important papers such as the deed to your home, insurance paperwork, financial information, etc.
  • Review your property insurance coverage and keep updated photos and/or a video inventory of your personal belongings.
  • Store important phone numbers such as the number of your insurance company, doctor, veterinarian, and family contacts in a safe place.
  • Identify your evacuation routes. Have an alternate route planned in case the first option is not navigable.
  • Identify the safest place in your home to ride out a storm and make sure everyone knows where to go.
  • In case your family is not together when a hurricane hits, make sure you have a pre-identified meeting place in addition to your home, and make sure everyone knows the address and phone number of your meeting spot.
  • If you have a medical issue or may need help evacuating, contact your local emergency management agency now to find out how to get the help you may need.

Build a Hurricane Emergency Kit

The following supplies should be included in all hurricane emergency kits. Special circumstances such as medical needs or pets should be taken into consideration when planning your kit.

  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food and water for each person in the household (one gallon of water per person, per day)
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank emergency radio
  • Flashlight
  • Dust masks (at least 4)
  • Batteries (8 AA and 4 D)
  • Trash bags (4 per kit)
  • First aid kit that includes: two pairs of latex or other sterile gloves; sterile dressing to stop bleeding; cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic wipes to disinfect; antibiotic ointment to prevent infection; burn ointment to prevent infection; adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes; eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as a general decontaminant.
  • Can opener
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Five-gallon bucket or other container for kit supplies

Hurricane Dorian

MEDIA

Head Start  Duval  |  Announcement – 09/01/19

Head Start Palm Beach County  |  Announcement – 09/01/19

Head Start Palm Beach County  |  Announcement – 08/31/19

Head Start Pinellas & Hillsborough | Announcement – 08/30/19

LSF CLOSURE NOTICES

CLOSED TUESDAY (Sept 3rd)

  • Pinellas Head Start/Early Head Start
  • Hillsborough Head Start
  • LSF Central Services
  • LSF Refugee Services (Hillsborough)
  • LSF Refugee Services (Pinellas)
  • Pinellas CMO

CLOSED TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY (Sept 3rd- 4th)

  • Duval Head Start and Duval EHS-CCP
  • LSF Health Systems
  • Palm Beach Head Start/Early Head Start
  • PEPPI Head Start

LSF STAFF RESOURCES

Employee hotline 1-855-360-3445

Messages from LSF leadership:

Sam Sipes | 08.31.19

Dear LSF,

The latest forecast model shows Hurricane Dorian pointing toward an off shore Florida track. While this is certainly good news, we must remain vigilant and continue our preparedness efforts. The “Hurricane Team” has daily meetings which I have been an active participant in.  Our team is empowered and decision making has been impactful as we put you and the clients we serve first.  I know there is some angst as many of us remember Hurricane Irma and the chaos it brought, but please know while I thought we handled that really well – we have some new leadership since then and an even stronger operations team. I said it on the calls and I will say it to each of you, I am proud to be part of LSF and I am impressed and appreciative of the work being done ahead of this storm.

The closures of our programs and services aligns with local school closures. If your program is closed Tuesday, (Monday is a holiday) you should have received communications from your leaders. You can always check our LSF Disaster Response and social media platforms (Facebook & Twitter) or call 1-855-360-3445 for closure updates and other resources and information about managing through the Hurricane.

Resources to help you: 

Please heed the advice of the Florida Division of Emergency Management – especially your local Emergency Management officials.  You can access county plans via HERE. Please access and the NOAA Hurricane Center HERE.

As we face this situation together, please remember LSF does offer an Employee Assistance Program that is confidential and free. You can call 800.932.0034  or visit the website HERE (http://lsf.acieap.com/).

Florida Evacuation Zones – You can determine whether you reside in an evacuation zone HERE.

We will stay in touch with you. Please remember to focus on being prepared and follow your county emergency procedures. My prayers are with you.

Sam Sipes

LSF CEO

Bob Bialas | 08.30.19

Dear LSF,

Hurricane Dorian is currently tracking to hit Florida’s west coast in a few days.  If the current trajectory continues, Florida’s west coast may start to feel tropical-storm force winds as early as Sunday morning with the eye of the storm arriving early Tuesday morning near the West Palm Beach area.  We all know this can rapidly change, so please pay close attention to your local news.

Leaders from LSF Legacy Programs, LSF Health Systems, LSF Head Start & LSF Headquarters are meeting regularly to ensure we gather and share information with employees and funders, make requests for help, implement our local emergency response plans, secure our facilities, guide our clients to shelters or other safe locations, and provide counseling and other mental health assistance.  We will continue to meet each day until the storm has passed and post-hurricane response is completed.

Resources to help you: 

Please heed the advice of the Florida Division of Emergency Management – especially your local Emergency Management officials.  You can access county plans via HERE. Please access and the NOAA Hurricane Center HERE.

As we face this situation together, please remember LSF does offer an Employee Assistance Program that is confidential and free. You can call 800.932.0034  or visit the website HERE (http://lsf.acieap.com/).

You can also call the Employee Emergency Hotline at 1-855-360-3445 (leave a voice mail someone will get back to you quickly).

Visit our LSF Disaster Response page for links to other resources and information about managing through the Hurricane.

We will stay in touch with you. This is a slow-moving storm which can increase the anxiety for us all. Please remember to focus on being prepared and follow your county emergency procedures.

My prayers are with you all.

Bob Bialas

EVP of Children and Head Start Services

Bob Bialas | 08.29.19

As a federal first responder deployed to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I understand emergency preparedness and promise to lead us through this potential disaster. Governor DeSantis has declared a state of emergency to speed state agency assistance to communities in need. As a large nonprofit in Florida we are doing our part to ensure your safety. Thank you to LSF’s operational leaders who have all mobilized their emergency plans at the direction of Mike Carroll and Dr. Christine Cauffield as Hurricane Dorian approaches Florida. Our central services leaders are supporting these efforts as the hurricane gets stronger with the possibility of hitting Florida as a major hurricane (Cat 4 with sustained winds of 130-156 mph). We all know that can change hour by hour, but we are likely to see significant weather in the coming days and you all are doing an admirable job preparing.

The following information will ensure that you receive timely information as we learn more about the path of the storm:

  • STAY IN THE KNOW: Please be sure your information is in UltiPro and current. We will use the OneCall system to send out important announcements about office closures and other critical information.  Take two minutes to update your information in UltiPro (Login, then to Myself>Personal>Name, Address, Telephone.  If the information is not correct or current, click “Edit” in the upper right corner and update both the “primary home phone” and the “primary work phone”, click save.  Be sure to have at least one number that can receive text messages.
  • OFFICE CLOSURES:  If the local public schools or local government offices are closed, then our local LSF offices will be closed as well.  We have discretion and may make additional closures to protect our employees.  We will use the OneCall system, email, LSF website and social media platforms and the employee hotline (1-800-342-3557) to help communicate any closings throughout the storm duration.
  • BE PREPARED:  There are many resources available to prepare for a hurricane.  You can find great information, a preparation checklist, and links to relevant sites on our LSF website here.
  • YOUR SAFETY IS OUR PRIORITY:  Your safety is number one – please be sure that you are taking care of your family first.  If you run into conflicts, please work with your supervisor and management team to resolve any issues.

We will hold daily meetings with LSF management to ensure that all our employees, clients and locations are as prepared as possible for the storm.  Additionally, we will continue to send out global communications as appropriate throughout the next week or so.

We pray for the safety and security of our employees and clients through this hurricane season.

Bob Bialas

EVP of Children and Head Start Services

Sam Sipes | 08.28.19

Hurricane Dorian continues its path toward Florida and is expected to intensify  prior to making landfall. There is still uncertainty on when and where Dorian will make landfall. We will continue to monitor the storm and provide updates on potential office closures as Dorian approaches. We follow the local public schools or local government closures – if they close, then our local LSF offices will be closed as well.

I have tapped Bob Bialas, EVP of Children and Head Start Services to lead our disaster efforts for LSF. He has two decades of first responder experience and was on the ground during Hurricane Katrina. He will be coordinating with Mike Carroll and Dr. Christine Cauffield from the operational side as well as Phil Hubbell and Amelia Fox from the support services team.

Bob will hold daily meetings with LSF management to ensure that our employees, clients and locations are as prepared as possible for the storm.  Additionally, we will continue to send out global communications as appropriate.

Hopefully this will pass without any of us being affected, however, it is always best to be prepared and ready.

Sincerely,

Sam Sipes,

Lutheran Services Florida, CEO

Helpful Websites

Lutheran Services Florida on Twitter

Tweets with information on storms affecting Florida

@LutheranServFla

Lutheran Disaster Response

Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) Disaster Response

 

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Apply for FEMA assistance at https://www.fema.gov/apply-assistance  or call 800-621-3362.

Weather information, important updates and tips on making an emergency plan can be found at www.ready.gov or by downloading the FEMA app at https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app

 

Florida’s 511 Traveler Information System

Evacuation and emergency travel information

www.fl511.com

 

Great Hurricane Blowout

Tips on making an emergency plan and disaster kit

www.greathurricaneblowout.org

 

NOAA Extreme Weather Information Sheets

State and local emergency contact information, weather radio stations

www.ncddc.noaa.gov

 

Spaghetti Models

Links to hurricane maps, tracks and spaghetti models for current storms

www.spaghettimodels.com