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Bay County officials prep for future hurricanes

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 8:46 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - It’s all about preparation.

On Tuesday, Bay County officials prepped with a practice storm called Hurricane Ally.

“This exercise enables us to bring all our partners together in one place like we would in an actual activation and exercise some of the folks and their roles and responsibilities,” Bay County Emergency Services Deputy Chief Brad Monroe said.

The statewide hurricane exercise is just that, a simulation of a major storm on its way to our area.

Officials practiced protocol.

“It’s about being prepared. That’s the main thing with this, is the practice,” Bay County Commissioner Tommy Hamm said.

Hamm said it’s not if a hurricane comes, it’s when.

“The last time we did this was prior to Michael, and of course Hurricane Michael, and then with COVID we haven’t been able to do it for two years. So it’s good we’re able to do this, kind of brush the dust off and work out kinks,” Hamm said.

Outside of the Bay County Emergency Operations Center lies a new tool yet to be used in the case of a major storm: a unified command center.

“What we really saw that we needed was something that brings all that together, and from that, the concept of the incident management team was born,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said.

The center is a joint effort between the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and Bay County Emergency Services.

Sheriff Ford said the county learned the hard way about the importance of having an incident management team.

As our local government partners work together to better prepare themselves for a future hurricane, they encourage folks at home to do the same.

“Go to ready.gov. Go to alert bay and sign up. All those little things wound up being big things when you get hit by another category 4 or 5 storm,” Monroe said.

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