Here is some useful information to help Hernando County residents weather the approaching storm:
To aid in evacuations due to Tropical Storm Fay, effective at 6 a.m. today, tolls will be suspended on the Suncoast Parkway until further notice. Motorists should slow down and use caution when approaching toll plazas, but should not stop. Personnel may not be on duty in the plazas to answer questions. While tolls remain suspended, SunPass and E-PASS customers may hear their transponders emit a tone; however, their accounts will not be charged.
Residents can get sandbags at the following locations:
Brooksville Fire Department, Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department, Spring Hill Fire Rescue (Parker Avenue) and the Ridge Manor Community Center.
Hernando County Animal Services urges pet owners to be sure their pets have collars with identification in the event they get loose. Only pets of special needs residents who are going to the shelter will be received at Animal Services. Special needs residents should call the Emergency Management Department to register, (352) 754-4083.
To report a power outage: Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative (352) 596-4000 or (352) 567-5133; Progress Energy toll-free, 1-800-228-8485; BellSouth Repair Service (866) 620-6900.
WREC officials said Monday that in the event of a power outage, transmission lines and substations will be repaired first, followed in order by shelters, hospitals, police, fire and rescue stations. Next will be water, sewer, sanitation plants, prisons, schools, and nursing homes.
Then public service providers such as grocery stores, hotels, pharmacies, and traffic signals. The focus will then move to distribution lines that can restore power to the largest number of customers possible followed by individual lines and secondary repairs.
WREC spokesman David Lambert gave these safety tips:
• Stay away from downed or low-hanging power lines, and report them as soon as possible. These lines may still be energized and can cause serious injury or death.
• If you plan to use a portable generator, it should never be connected to any part of your home's electrical system. If connected improperly, the generator can back feed onto the power line possibly causing serious injury or death to line repair technicians and the general public.
Important phone numbers
Emergency Management/Public Information (352) 754-4083
Hernando County Health Department (352) 540-6800
Hernando County Utilities Department (352) 754-4037
Hernando County Public Information Recorded Line (352) 754-4111
Hernando County Animal Services (352) 799-5062
Hernando County Sheriff's Office (352) 754-6830
Salvation Army (352) 796-1186
American Red Cross toll-free 1-866-438-4636