Leon County Disaster Survival Guide
Prepare. Act. Recover.
Surviving all hazards
While hurricanes pose a major threat to Leon County, there are other potential disasters that threaten lives and property. From violent tornadoes to hazardous chemical spills, it is critical to know what to do when warnings are issued.
Thunderstorms and lightning
Thunderstorms are a common occurrence in Florida, especially during the summertime. The Sunshine State sees about 1.4 million lightning strikes in an average year and we lead the nation in lightning-related deaths. About 10 percent of thunderstorms are severe, with winds 58 mph or stronger and 1-inch hail. Keep an eye on the weather forecast before you venture outdoors and heed nature’s warning when you hear the sky start to rumble.
Every thunderstorm produces lightning. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike. Go inside or find shelter immediately. Wait 30 minutes after hearing the last crash of thunder before going back outdoors.
When thunder roars, go indoors!
If you’re indoors during a thunderstorm, stay away from anything that conducts electricity, such as corded phones, electrical appliances, computers, plumbing, metal doors and windows.
If stuck outdoors ...
Downed power lines
Man-made and biological hazards
Terrorism and active shooters
Unlike a hurricane, there may be no warning for a terrorist attack, but you can plan ahead by taking the steps referenced earlier: emergency contacts, emergency alerts, a meeting place and a disaster bucket. Be alert and aware of your surroundings. If you see something — report it to law enforcement. Report suspicious activities to the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement at 1-855-FLA-SAFE.
In our global society, infectious diseases can spread quickly by human contact, animals, insects or food. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is the agency responsible for warning the public about pandemic health hazards. The Florida Department of Health in Leon County may also issue warnings and advice. For more information, visit the website of the CDC at CDC.gov or the Florida Dept. of Health at Leon.FloridaHealth.gov.
Tornadoes can form quickly during thunderstorms any time of year creating high velocity wind and blowing dangerous debris. In Florida, the average warning time before a tornado hits is only 12 minutes. You may only have moments to make a life-or-death decision.
Watches vs. Warnings
Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible in your area; monitor radio or TV reports for further developments.
Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted in your area. Proceed to safe room immediately.
Designate a safe room where you can stay during a tornado in your home, office, or other places you go frequently. Good safe room options include: bathrooms, interior hallways, the center of a building, and spaces on the ground floor away from windows.
Mobile homes are not safe from the violent winds of a tornado. Identify a safe place in a sturdy building you can go to when tornadoes are possible.
Vehicles are easily overturned in a tornado, so get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. Do not try to outrun or outmaneuver a tornado!
Flooding is a year-round threat. Sometimes floods develop slowly and forecasters can anticipate where a flood will happen days or weeks before it occurs. Oftentimes flash floods can occur within minutes and sometimes without any sign of rain.
Know your flood risk
Stay out of the water
Learn more about floods: Leon County has a comprehensive website on our area’s flood hazards and how residents can become better prepared: LeonCountyFL.gov/floodprotection.
Hazardous materials are part of daily life. Should a chemical spill or other hazardous material release occur, there are a few basic steps you can take to protect yourself:
Droughts and freezes create an ideal situation for wildfires. With so many trees in Leon County, the threat of wildfires is always present. Take a few minutes to discuss with your family what actions you will take if there is a fire in your neighborhood or your home.