In Case of Emergency, Read This Blog

In Case Of Emergency, Read Blog

A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

Why Prepare? Ask (& Watch) The Survivors (Part 2) — The Pinellas County “Project Storm Story”

July 30th, 2008 · No Comments

A ‘near miss’ like yesterday’s Los Angeles earthquake often doesn’t motivate people to prepare. Sometimes, it requires something major to actually happen to you before doing anything.  

Yet, as Part 1, the Times-Picayune collection of preparedness tips I posted on Monday, indicates, the testimony of disaster survivors can also be very compelling and helpful. That’s why Pinellas County, Florida Office of Emergency Management has done something very smart as part of their preparedness education program. When I was in Washington. D.C. last week at the offices of James Lee Witt & Associates, Jordan Nelms, a summer intern there, suggested I take a look at “Project Storm Story” created by the Pinellas’ Emergency Office where he worked last year. 

According to the website, the idea of “Project Storm Story” is to: “catalog the memories of hurricane survivors. Knowing that experience is the best teacher, emergency managers are still collecting your personal accounts to use in future hurricane educational materials.’

Pinellas County — which includes the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg — has been lucky to avoid a major storm since 1921. But that good news is bad news for preparedness efforts. In fact, Tom Iovino, who came up with the idea, likes to say that “Pinellas County isn’t in the state of Florida, it’s in the state of denial!” Therefore, he has had to solicit stories from residents who experienced hurricanes in other areas. 

The video of the initial volunteer survivors can be found at the Pinellas County website.The County is continuing to solicit stories which will be posted to its website. If you are interested in contributing to the project or learning more, you should go to:

This is an idea that other emergency management offices might consider trying. And, in fact, I may do so as well. It is remarkable how many great preparedness ideas there are out there in communities around the U.S.; one of the goals of this blog is to highlight and help spread the news about them. 

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Tags: Hurricane Preparedness · Preparedness Lessons · Preparedness Tips

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