Orange County officials brief residents on Hurricane Irma preparation, protocols

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs provided information on communication, government closings, schools, shelters and more emergency preparation.

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  • | 4:36 p.m. September 8, 2017
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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ORANGE COUNTY  With Hurricane Irma set to hit Central Florida in the next 24 hours, Orange County government staff updated citizens on hurricane safety efforts in a media briefing Friday afternoon.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs reminded citizens that Orange County government offices are closed Sunday and Monday, and Orange County Public Schools are closed until further notice. 

“We just need people to be careful, listen to the instructions, stay engaged and continue to monitor weather,” Jacobs said. “We need to make sure after the storm is over our citizens stay put until they get the green light, either through the media or other means.”


Orange County residents with smartphones are encouraged to download the OCFL Alert app, which is one of multiple methods of communication the county will be using. Jacobs also reminded residents that the 311 line is open for residents with questions or concerns to call for assistance.

Additionally, you can follow updates on Orange County’s social media outlets on Facebook and Twitter, or visit 

Evacuation and Shelters

Residents living in low-lying areas and mobile homes are being asked to evacuate and stay with family, friends or at a public shelter.

In West Orange County, West Orange High School in Winter Garden will open Saturday, Sept. 9 at 9 a.m. for the general population. 

General Safety

“The No. 1 priority for us is to keep our citizens safe and we will do that by working together,” said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings. “Together as a community we can get through this. I certainly appreciate the work that has been done by the different community partners and citizens to prepare themselves. There should be comfort in knowing that because of our experiences here in Orange County, we are well capable of dealing with this storm at hand.” 


Forty-two of OCPS’s facilities are currently designated as emergency shelters. Once Irma moves through, Sublette said, the facilities team will perform a facilities and road assessment to determine when schools should reopen. 

“Families should be on the alert for an announcement from us after Irma has passed as to when schools will reopen,” said Orange County Public Schools Chairman Bill Sublette. “…We cannot make that determination at this time.” 



Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].


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