One of the better problems to have is a pile of unused sandbags. Sandbags that have come into contact with floodwaters may be contaminated with bacteria, so do not dispose of any sand or full sandbags in your regular trash. It’s not generally safe to use in a child’s sandbox, and it often includes granules of all different sizes, including coarse grains that can clog storm drains. If the sandbags have not come into contact with floodwaters, you can recycle the sand by spreading it on lawns or landscape beds. Keep and store clean sandbags for preparation for future events.
If you have dry/unused sandbags:
- DO: Reuse for future flood prevention.
- DO: Use in flower gardens
- DO: throw away empty bags in a trash can
- DO NOT: use in sandboxes
- DO NOT: dispose on school yards
- DO NOT: dispose on beaches
If you have a used sandbag (it has come into contact with floodwaters):
- DO: empty the sand and dispose in trash cans
- DO: Put used full sandbags that weigh less than 40 lbs at the curb for pickup
- DO NOT: Have any item that exceeds 40 lbs
County Safety Status: Red, yellow and green conditions
Hurricanes and other natural disasters can create widespread damage, leaving debris, downed trees, flooding, live power lines on the ground and damaged buildings.
Immediately following such disaster, many departments (including law enforcement, fire, emergency management and public works) respond to assess damage and help citizens. Communicating the level of damage and potential danger is imperative as citizens’ safety is our number one concern. Sarasota County utilizes a color-coded system (RED, YELLOW, GREEN) to indicate the level of damage, hazards and impact to services.
These colors will be used in Sarasota County’s emergency public communications to represent the safety status of the county. Heavily impacted areas where damage is extensive and services are limited will require the RED status.
As in Hurricane Irma, impacts to power, traffic lights, and downed trees may require larger areas of YELLOW; meaning take caution, be vigilant and careful when out on the roads. Finally, as power is restored, roads cleared, and traffic lights become operable, citizens will see the GREEN or all-clear status.
|COLOR||LEVEL OF DANGER|
Level of Danger: Unsafe. Emergency services may not be available. Extensive damage limiting travel.
Citizen Action: Access may not be allowed, or limited, according to authorities having jurisdiction. If access is allowed, proper ID is required. Enter at your own risk.
Level of Danger: Limiting factors to include lack of power, trees and power lines down in areas.Traffic lights may be out. Potential damage to utilities such as water systems and wastewater.
Citizen Action: Safety precautions required. General travel limited to essential needs.
Level of Danger: No limiting factors.
Citizen Action: All clear. Safe for general public.
Hurricane CategoriesHurricanes are rated on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale from Category 1 to Category 5, based on their sustained wind speed. The scale estimates potential property damage. Hurricanes of Category 3 or higher are considered major because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage. Category 1 and 2 are still dangerous and require preventive measures.
|74 - 95
|Some damage: unanchored mobile homes, vegetation and signs.|
|96 - 110
|Extensive: all mobile homes, roofs, small crafts, flooding.|
|111 - 129
|Devastating: small buildings, low-lying roads cut off.|
|130 - 156
|Catastrophic: roofs destroyed, trees down, roads cut off, mobile homes destroyed, beach homes flooded.|
|157 - plus||Catastrophic: most buildings destroyed, vegetation destroyed, major roads cut off, homes flooded.|
Storm surge is an abnormal rise of sea water generated by a storm. It moves ashore prior to and during a hurricane making landfall.
Water rising along the coastal areas and rivers can inundate populated areas as the storm makes landfall. Damage severity depends upon the storm’s size, forward speed, direction of movement, tidal action and intensity.
Storm surge has the potential to cause the greatest loss of life, cripple communications, cause sewers and stormwater basins to back up, and contaminate drinking water supplies. It can leave roads, streets and bridges filled with sand, debris and, in some cases, structurally unstable.