Shelter From the Storm

LARGO -

Many people in Pinellas County have seen the map - two islands poking out of a storm-tossed sea. That's what the state's most densely-populated county would look like if 'the big one' were to hit the peninsula dead-on.

What to do in advance of such a catastrophic event has long been on the minds of the county's emergency operations planners. There aren't enough shelters to handle the large population. And as the run-up to Hurricane Charley showed in 2004, evacuations mean miles-long lines just to get past the bridges over Tampa Bay.

So the county has opened up another front - having people on high ground open their homes. Or at least a part of their homes. It's called the Host Home program.

To find out more about the Host Home program, click on the Pinellas County emergency management web site at www.Pinellascounty.orggemergency.

To find out more about the Hurricane Buddy program, click on www.hurricanebuddy.com.

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