As Fay Passes Alachua County Demobilizes and Shelters Close
Alachua County spokesperson Mark Sexton says, "Word has gotten out to all of these officials it's time to get people to gather their belongings."
Sexton adds transportation is being provided to shelter residents, especially those at Westwood Middle School --which the Alachua County Health Dept. has operated as a special needs facility for those with chronic illnesses, but not in need of hospitalization.
The Red Cross which has been operating shelters for the past two days, is also shifting gears, according to Lauran Mager the local director, who says their focus is not is to, "make sure that all of the people that been in our shelter, residents of the shelter, can go back to a safe environment."
Operating in eight counties in North Central Florida, the Red Cross will concentrate their efforts on assessing damage Tropical Storm Fay has caused, and provide longer term residency for those in need.
"Any time you're in a disaster situation the greatest need is being able to comfort people who are being affected by this storm," adds Mager.
And county officials say the next order of business will be to gradually evacuate the government agencies that have been housed at the emergency center.
Sexton says, "Certain things don't close down just because it's saturday or sunday so we try to get those back to normal operation," which include law enforcement, fire rescue and trash collection. Sexton says, however, no one will be off alert though the EOC will close.
He adds, "just in case the storm does something unexpected."
Dan Jesse of GRU, says, "This has been an excellent exercise for us in preparation in case there should be a major event later on..."
Fay has caused minimal damage in comparison to her predecessors in 2004 -Frances and Jean --but if their equal does make their way through the area emergency operation personnel say they're ready.
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