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Tampa Fire Rescue hosted its inaugural Hurricane Preparedness Expo on Saturday, drawing in hundreds of attendees who gathered essential information and collected sandbags to brace themselves for the upcoming hurricane season.

With just 26 days remaining until the official start of the season, authorities emphasized the urgency of being prepared.

The event saw Tampa Fire Rescue distributing sandbags, a crucial resource for residents residing in evacuation zones.

Many individuals left the expo with their car trunks filled with sandbags, ready to face any potential hurricane threats.

As Floridians are well aware, the state’s susceptibility to hurricanes necessitates unwavering preparedness, as even a single storm can wreak havoc.

Tampa Fire Marshal John Reid reported that several hundred people visited the Hurricane Preparedness Expo, highlighting the city’s commitment to safeguarding its residents.

Having experienced three major hurricanes, Reid emphasized the importance of being fully prepared and taking necessary precautions to ensure safety.

Barbara VanAirsdale, a resident who has endured hurricanes such as Irma, Wilma, and most recently, Ian, expressed her dedication to being prepared.

She stressed the significance of having a plan in place, as being caught unprepared during a hurricane can be a harrowing experience.

VanAirsdale recounted a particularly distressing incident when she found herself in an unfamiliar location without a designated evacuation site.

Hurricane Ian, which narrowly missed Tampa, serves as a reminder of the potential impact and the need for heightened awareness.

Reid highlighted that any near misses or instances of nearby areas being affected heighten the community’s vigilance and understanding of the importance of preparedness.

In addition to Tampa Fire Rescue’s efforts, over a dozen organizations, including the Red Cross and community emergency response teams, participated in the expo.

Their collective goal was to raise awareness about hurricane preparedness and ensure that everyone understands the necessary steps to take for their safety.

Tampa Fire Rescue plans to organize more events focusing on hurricane readiness as the season approaches.

The department aims to equip residents with the knowledge and resources they need to protect themselves.

As Tampa gears up for the upcoming hurricane season, the community stands united in its commitment to weathering any storm that may come their way.

In other news, the list of hurricane names for this year has been released, and some may sound familiar to those who have followed previous seasons.

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