Q:  What’s happening with trash pick-up?
A:  Waste Management will continue to collect household garbage and recycling materials from its customers according to regular schedules until sustained winds reach 35 miles per hour or local authorities instruct them to suspend service.  Here’s some other tips from Waste Management:
  • Secure your garbage and recycling containers. Place containers in a secure location away from open spaces.
  • Stop all yard maintenance and tree trimming activities now.
  • Bundle and tie down all loose trash such as tree limbs, wood planks or building and roof tiles. Store these materials in a location where debris cannot become hazardous to homes and vehicles in high winds.

Q:  What about shelter accessibility for pets?
A:  Collier County has traditionally offered one shelter that was accessible to pets.  That shelter is available by pre-registration only and is already full.  At today’s emergency meeting we discussed the need to explore additional options should conditions warrant evacuations.  Your county staff is working on this issue, and we will keep you posted on alternatives as they are determined.  You can also watch the County’s Facebook page for updates. Alternatively, your best bet with pets is to shelter them in the home of a friend or family member who lives in a safe zone.

Q:  Someone in my family needs electricity for a medical device, or has other medical needs. What should we do?
A:  If you or a family member, during periods of evacuation or emergency, requires evacuation and/or sheltering assistance due to physical impairments, mental impairments, cognitive impairment, or sensory disabilities; it is important that you are aware of the County’s Special Needs Shelter program and its Registry.

The statewide registry allows residents with special needs to register with their local emergency management agency to receive assistance during a disaster. Registering provides first responders with valuable information to prepare for disasters or other emergencies.  To register, visit https://snr.floridadisaster.org.  You can reach them with questions via email at FLSNRsupport@deltaone.com,via phone at 800-374-9689, or via TTY at 800-395-1878.

If you’re not yet in the Registry, register now, and also reach out to Collier County Emergency Management at 239-252-3608.  There are no shelters open at this time; however, Collier County will make a determination on shelters in the coming day or two. Watch your local news or the County’s Facebook page for updates.  And see below for more details on evacuating to a shelter.

Q:  I know the public schools are closed Thursday and Friday.  What about next week?
A:  Yes, many of our public schools also act as hurricane shelters, and they willall be closed to allow for preparations (which we all hope will end up being unnecessary).  The school district will make a decision about Monday later as they evaluate the impacts of Hurricane Irma.

If you are the parent of a school-age child and have not already received information about this via email blasts, text updates, and/or robo-calls from the school district, you need to visit the CCPS Portal right now and make sure your contact information and communication preferences are accurate so you will receive these important updates.

Q:  Should I evacuate?
A: An evacuation is recommended when life threatening conditions are present, or will be present, in the area. For a hurricane, we should “Run from Water and Hide from Wind”. So, if you’re threatened by the storm’s surge you should get to a safe location before the threat arrives.

Currently, there are no evacuation orders and the Bureau of Emergency Services has not opened any shelters at this time. However, Collier County has nine regular evacuation shelters and one special needs shelter preparing should they be necessary.

If a mandatory evacuation order is given, in addition to communicating where lives are threatened, your government is also letting you know where emergency services (police, fire and emergency medical) will cease until the threat no longer exists. Again, emergency services will NOT be provided in areas where mandatory evacuation orders are in place.

If you’re in a mandatory evacuation zone, officials may go door-to-door advising you of an evacuation order, but they will not force you out of your house. They may ask for your next-of-kin information, so please cooperate. Ultimately, your decision to remain in a mandatory evacuation zone is “YOURS”.

Whether you decide to shelter in place or move to an emergency shelter, remember “The First 72 is Up to You.” You should plan to provide for yourself and your family for the first 3 days: food, water, bedding, diapers, medications, extra batteries (including for your cell phone), toys for your kids, food for your pets, etc. Learn more about how to Build a Kit; also in Español.