Preparedness is the key to safety

~  Make sure your vehicle and emergency contacts are part of any emergency preparedness plan ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season begins, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) urges citizens to be prepared by creating an emergency preparedness plan that includes maintaining a road-ready vehicle and registering or updating their Emergency Contact Information (ECI).

“It’s never too early to make an emergency preparedness plan to ensure the safety of you and your family,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Don’t wait. Have predefined emergency plans, which include keeping your vehicle properly maintained and registering or updating your emergency contact information.”

ECI is a secure system allowing law enforcement nationwide to contact designated family or friends in response to emergency situations. The ECI program was implemented in 2006, inspired by Christine Olson who lost her daughter in a crash. As of April 2018, more than 13.6 million people have registered their information in the ECI system. Residents can register or update their ECI free of charge on the DHSMV website and in local driver license and tax collector service centers.

“The Florida Highway Patrol is prepared to keep our residents and visitors safe this hurricane season,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Remember to plan ahead and be patient should you be required to evacuate. Keep your vehicle fueled and follow evacuation, curfew, and other orders to assist law enforcement during the event. Troopers will be working around the clock before, during, and after the storm to monitor conditions and ensure the safety of those traveling on Florida’s roadways.”

Last year, in advance of Hurricane Irma, DHSMV assisted with the largest evacuation in Florida history. In the event of an evacuation, residents should be prepared by ensuring their vehicle is road-ready. Check for recalls, make any necessary repairs, and inspect tires for adequate tread depth and proper inflation. Motorists should always follow all posted signs and law enforcement instruction, and dial *FHP (347) for assistance or to report unsafe driving conditions.

“It is important to be aware of all the different hazards you may be exposed to and to take all the necessary steps to be prepared,” said Florida Division of Emergency Management Director, Wesley Maul. “Be familiar with evacuation zones and routes. Make sure disaster supply kits are properly stocked and have a plan for receiving important alerts in case of an emergency.”

DHSMV urges Floridians to stay vigilant throughout the hurricane season and monitor changing weather conditions. As citizens make emergency preparedness plans, they are encouraged to visit the FLHSMV website for safe driving tips in severe weather conditions and additional resources. Also, visit FloridaDisaster.org for more information on evacuation routes and emergency preparedness.