Pinellas: Residents can save money with ambulance membership
Enrollment is now open for 2024 Sunstar FirstCare Ambulance Membership
- Membership covers 100% of expenses associated with deductibles and co-payments
- Membership covers 50% of medically necessary trips denied by insurance
- In 2022, the membership saved residents on average $175 per transport
Enrollment applications are open for the 2024 Sunstar FirstCare Ambulance Membership. Residents are encouraged to enroll now to receive a full year of financial help with out-of-pocket expenses for ambulance transportation.
The estimated average cost of a single ambulance transport is $943. Annual membership fees for the Sunstar FirstCare Ambulance Membership plan are $86 for a Single Membership and $129 for a Family Membership. Membership covers 100% of expenses associated with deductibles and co-payments and 50% of medically necessary trips denied by insurance. Uninsured members receive a 20% discount on medically necessary ambulance transportation.
In 2022, the membership plan saved residents an average of $175 per transport.
The Sunstar FirstCare Ambulance Membership is not an insurance plan. It is a Pinellas County Government program that works with an individual’s insurance company to minimize out-of-pocket ambulance expenses.
Completed applications with payment in full, received before the end of the calendar year, will be effective on Jan. 1. Completed applications with payment in full received after Jan. 1 will be effective on the postmark date. Applications can be found online at www.pinellas.gov/firstcare.
For more information and detailed plan coverage, call (727) 582-2008 or visit www.pinellas.gov/coverage.
IDALIA STORM INFORMATION
Pinellas residents can now apply for FEMA Individual Assistance
FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams will go door-to-door in impacted areas
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that Pinellas County has been added to Florida’s Major Disaster Declaration, which makes our community eligible for federal assistance, including Individual Assistance.
Those impacted by Hurricane Idalia can visit disasterassistance.gov, download the FEMA app or call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Residents who use TTY may call 1-800-462-7585. Disaster survivors who use 711 or VRS (Video Relay Service) may also call 800-621-3362. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time, seven days a week. Information you share will be used to determine our needs for federal assistance here in Pinellas.
Disaster assistance may include financial help for temporary lodging, basic home repairs and other disaster-caused expenses.
If you don’t see Pinellas listed on the website among eligible counties under the Disaster Declaration, proceed with completing the online application and you will be contacted. The Disaster Assistance website is currently being updated to reflect the inclusion of Pinellas County.
FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams will begin meeting with homeowners, renters and businesses that were impacted by Hurricane Idalia in Pinellas County on Monday, Sept. 4, 2023. They will go door to door in the affected areas. They will be wearing an official FEMA shirt or vest and have an ID badge displayed above their belt line. They can help people register for FEMA Individual Assistance or update any information for people who have already registered.
Further updates about countywide Hurricane Idalia recovery efforts will be posted at disaster.pinellas.gov,
What to do after a Storm
Email: email@example.com for questions or to provide information/pictures about Hurricane Idalia
As you’re returning home…
- Do not drive in flood waters, even if they look only inches deep. Turn around, don’t drown.
- Do not walk in flood waters. The water is full of hazards like bacteria, wildlife, debris, and more.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Take extra care to prevent mosquitoes breeding in standing water. Remember the 3 Ds:
- Drain water when possible.
- Dress in light colors and cover all parts of the body.
- Defend with DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
If your home or business was damaged…
- Contact your flood insurance agent as soon as possible!
- If you have flood insurance that is part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), visit https://floodsmart.gov/start or call (877) 336-2627 to start a claim. There are time limitations to file your claim.
- If you have private flood insurance, then contact your insurance carrier.
- Do not enter a home that has major damage to the roof and/or walls.
- If you have an electric vehicle and it is flooded with salt water, do not park it in a garage because it is susceptible to spontaneous combustion.
- Document flood damage with photographs and video. Prepare a room-by-room list of damaged belongings and create an inventory including the item description, replacement cost, and age. Document serial numbers of damaged appliances and furniture. Your adjuster will need this information.
- Report your damage to help the County assess communitywide damage:
- Remove wet contents promptly! Wet carpeting, furniture, bedding, drywall, insulation, and other items can develop mold within 24 to 48 hours. Make sure to document the damage first and keep samples of damaged carpet, insulation and other contents until after the adjuster’s inspection. Visit Resources for Flood Cleanup and Indoor Air Quality | US EPA for tips on cleaning up after a flood.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
- Document High-Water Marks by going to Resident Damage Reporting (arcgis.com) before you clean up your area outside. It is essential to document the high water mark for mitigation measures; please help us by taking a picture of your high water mark and submitting them via the like provided.
Repair your Flooded Home…
- Build back safer and stronger. Look into flood mitigation techniques, such as installing flood-resistant materials and/or elevating your home. Read our Rebuilding After a Storm webpage before beginning your repairs to ensure your house can better withstand future storms.
- Find out the flood hazard and required development standards BEFORE developing your plans. Get the required permits before starting any home repair, improvement, or construction. Visit pinellas.gov/construction-in-a-floodplain/ learn more or call (727) 464-3888 with questions.
- Hire only a licensed contractor and get multiple estimates for repairs. You can ask your insurance adjuster for an advance payment to help with repairs. To find a contractor or confirm a contractor’s license is legitimate and current, visit the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board (PCCLB) Contractor Search page.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
- Look out for price gouging. It is illegal for anyone to sell necessary goods or services at higher than normal prices during a state of emergency. View post-disaster consumer protection tips.
- Never let anyone into your home without first asking for identification. Representatives of utilities, government offices, and reputable businesses will have proper identification. Also, ask your adjuster for their license number.
If you need help with damage cleanup…
If you need assistance with damage from Hurricane Idalia, call the Crisis Cleanup Home Cleanup Hotline: 800-451-1954. Crisis Cleanup will connect you with volunteers from local relief organizations, community groups and faith communities who may be able to assist with:
- Cut fallen trees.
- Drywall, flooring and appliance removal.
- Tarping roofs.
- Mold mitigation.
Services are free, but service is not guaranteed due to the overwhelming need. This hotline will be open through Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. For more info, visit www.crisiscleanup.org.
If you lost or found a pet…
If you found a pet that was separated from its owner during the storm, please do one of the following:
- See if the pet has an ID tag with owner’s contact information.
- Visit the Petco Lost Love website, click I found a Pet, enter the found location, snap a picture on your phone, and upload.
- Call Pinellas County Animal Services at (727) 582-2600, option *8.
If you have lost your pet, please follow the tips here.
If you have sandbags…
We recommend holding onto your sandbags through hurricane season. Do not dispose of sand or full sandbags as part of regular garbage. Place empty bags in your garbage (not in the recycling bin). Clean sand can be spread on lawns or landscape beds.
Do not dump sandbags onto the beach. Sand used to help stop flooding differs from beach sand and can cause issues for turtle nesting, among other problems. Pinellas County Solid Waste Disposal Facility is collecting used sandbags, free of charge, at 3095 114th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Used sandbags must be separated from other waste before transport to the Solid Waste facility.
Hurricane Idalia Damage Assessment and Business Recovery
Resources are available through FEMA and the SBA for businesses who sustained damage from Idalia. For a comprehensive list of the resources, please visit the website: https://pinellas.gov/emergency-information. The City also has established an email to report damages and concerns or seek assistance and staff will help with referrals for resources. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Report Your Business Damages.
Complete an online survey at https://floridadisaster.biz/BusinessDamageAssessments, and select “Hurricane Idalia” from the dropdown menu. No need to know the exact dollar value of costs, estimates are fine.
- Apply for the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program.
The state program makes $20 million available for businesses impacted by Hurricane Idalia. The program provides short-term, zero-interest loans of up to $50,000 to small businesses that experienced economic injury or physical damage. The loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the initial impact and longer-term recovery funding, such as insurance or other resources. Business owners can apply at: www.FloridaJobs.org/EBL. For assistance or more information, call 833-832-4494, M-F, 8 am-5 pm. City staff can also assist you by calling 727-943-4932, or email email@example.com.
- Apply for SBA Loans
SBA Physical Disaster Loans – These loans are available for uninsured losses up to $2 million to repair or replace business property to pre-disaster conditions. Loans may be used to replace or repair real estate, equipment, fixtures, and inventory and leasehold improvements.
SBA Economic Injury Loans – Loans of up to $2 million are available for small businesses that sustain economic injury. These are working capital loans made to businesses without credit available elsewhere to help pay ordinary and necessary operating expenses.
Businesses can apply for these loans online: https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/. For more information and assistance, call 800-659-2955, M-F 8 am-11 pm, and Saturday-Sunday 5-11 pm ET. County and City staff also are available to assist. To make an appointment with an expert from the Florida SBDC Network at Pinellas County, call 727-453-7200, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For local assistance, please contact City of Tarpon Springs Economic Development, 727-943-4932, or email email@example.com.
- Call or Text 211 for Services and Resources.
Storm recovery and resources, including food, lodging, healthcare, and cleanup assistance are compiled and offered through 211 Tampa Bay Cares. A full listing of referrals and resources can be found on their website: https://211tampabay.org/hurricane-storm-resources/
- Contact the FEMA Helpline.
The Helpline number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). This will pre-register you and employees impacted by the Hurricane for assistance.
- Visit the FEMA Center.
A local FEMA Center has been established at the Palm Harbor CSA, 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor. The center is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Emergency Operations – Helpful Information for Residents
Check your evacuation zone, flooding risk or just get good tips for storm safety at storm.pinellascounty.org
Pinellas County Emergency Management: Learn more about shelter options, pet preparedness, special needs options and more.
Citizen Information Line: 727-464-4333
City of Tarpon Springs Emergency Operations Center Line: 727-938-3737
Sign up for emergency notifications at: Alert Pinellas – In emergencies stay informed!
Tarpon Springs Evacuation Map
Pinellas County Evacuation Map and Shelter Details
Pinellas County Emergency Management
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
National Flood Insurance Program
National Hurricane Center
NOAA Extreme Weather Information Guide for West-Central Florida
Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Businesses
Hurricane Season is June 1 – November 30….What you need to know as a Tarpon Springs Resident
This is the time to prepare and below are some tools you can use to help make a plan!
- Know your Evacuation Zone! https://kyz.pinellascounty.org/?find=315%20COURT%20ST
- Have your Emergency Plan to go for the whole family, including adults, children, people with special needs and pets Make a Plan – Pinellas County
- Having your emergency kit ready: https://pinellas.gov/make-a-plan/build-your-emergency-kit/
- Special Needs may require specific equipment that requires electricity, be sure to have a plan for a backup source or location that does in the event there are evacuation orders https://pinellas.gov/special-needs/
- Prepare your children. Involve them in the planning and be sure to have items for children to keep them busy and give them comfort such as favorite toys and snacks.
- Pets are required to be up to date on vaccinations and their County License will need to be valid to be accepted in shelters that accept pets when evacuation orders are mandated, (be sure to take a photo and keep that along with their vaccination records with your important documentation).
- Prepare your home, yard and businesses.
- Visitors: should be aware before making plans that popular coastal/beach communities such as ours are prone to storm surge and are the first to evacuate if a hurricane threatens and to be prepared with a backup plan for that. http://www.vspc.info/ and http://www.fly2pie.com/
Pinellas County Emergency Management (ongoing updates in the case of a large-scale emergency): https://pinellas.gov/emergency-information/
Check for Emergency Information: https://pinellas.gov/emergency-information
Pinellas County Emergency Information (various resources for Emergency Management events, social media, apps, etc): https://pinellas.gov/stay-informed/
Sign up for Alert Pinellas (receive messages about emergencies and other important community news): https://pinellas.gov/alert-pinellas/
Download the Ready Pinellas App (mobile app residents can download to receive messages to help prepare in the event of an emergency): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ready-pinellas/id1160254835?mt=8 and https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ocv.a753
National Hurricane Center: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo.php