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Jun 14

Are We Prepared?

Winnie the Pooh photos still hang on the wall as Amanda Henry cleans her 11-month-old son’s room.

“My apartment began to flood around 10 a.m. Saturday morning … it started coming through the sliding glass door and the front door,” said the Forest Creek resident. By 11 a.m. Henry and her son had to evacuate their unit and wade through water as high as four feet to her cousin’s apartment in the same Warrington complex.

Henry says when her apartment began to flood; she didn’t think it was going to do much damage. Now, after the flood her reality is different.

“I lost everything,” she said. “All of my furniture, my baby’s mattress to his crib, diapers, formula, food – basically everything.

Cam Johnson, Communications Coordinator for Escambia County, says when the storms began on Saturday his office quickly responded.

“Our office was part of the activation for the emergency operation center,” he said. “We staffed the center approximately noon on Saturday until noon Monday, June 11.”

Johnson said not only were there several homes and business flooded, but many streets were flooded with cars stalled out on the roads as well.

“There were some county facilities that were flooded as well,” he said. “We’re still in the process of evaluating to see what type of monetary amount (in damage) we’re looking at.”

Johnson also acknowledged that the brunt of the damaged occurred in areas within the west-end of the county – like Warrington.

According to the National Weather Service, the west-end of Escambia received 23-27 inches of rainwater this past weekend. With many of Forest Creek’s residents receiving some type of public assistance, the devastation of this situation greatly affects many of them.

“The [Department of Children and Families] is authorized to activate the “disaster food stamp program” in times of emergency,” said Nicole Stookey, Northwest Region Communications Director for FDCF.

“At this point, we don’t have authorization to run that program,” she added. Still, Stookey said there are ways that the department can help.

Federal rules for our food assistance program sometimes allows a reimbursement or replacement for food items that have been lost due to weather-related disasters, such as a flood,” she said.

According to Stookey, customers can report their grievance by calling the customer call center at 1-866-762-2237 or by visiting the local DCF office at 33 Brent Lane in Pensacola, Fla.

“This is a great opportunity to encourage folks to make sure that they have an emergency family disaster plan,” Stookey said.

For more information on how to create and implement an emergency disaster plan, visit: floridadisaster.org.

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