Post-Debby advisories issued for the public

A rainy haze seems to cover the downtown bayfront area as Tropical Storm Debby's rains pelted the area this week. Photo by Norman Schimmel

As local governments continue to deal with Tropical Storm Debby’s effects on the county, Sarasota County Emergency Management officials are urging businesses to report any damage, health officials are warning people to use caution around flooded areas and standing water and the City of Sarasota is asking for patience with debris collection.

In a news release issued today, June 29, the Sarasota County Emergency Management Department says information about businesses that suffered harm “is vital as damage assessment teams continue to evaluate the effects of the storm.”

The news release says business owners may report damage, losses, closings, impediments to reopening or any other issues of concern to a private sector hotline, 850-410-1403, between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily until further notice.

Information also may be reported by email to

Regarding floodwaters, the State Emergency Response Team with the Florida Department of Health is urging parents and other adults not to allow children to do the following:

  • Wade in or play in floodwater, as it may contain fecal matter from sewage systems, agricultural and industrial waste and septic tanks.
  • Play with toys that have been in floodwater until the toys have been disinfected. Use one-fourth cup of bleach in one gallon of water to disinfect toys and other items.

The SERT also advises that if anyone with open cuts or sores is exposed to floodwater, the person keep the cuts as clean as possible by washing them with soap and disinfected or boiled water. If a wound develops redness, swelling or drainage, the person should seek immediate medical attention.

Residents who sustain lacerations and/or puncture wounds and have not had a tetanus vaccination within the past five years should get a tetanus booster, a county news release says.

Health officials also point out that drinking contaminated water from any source may cause illness. According to local health officials, all water utilities in Sarasota County that provide potable drinking water are operating at normal capacity. “However, if your well has been flooded, it needs to be disinfected and tested … after floodwaters recede,” the news release says.

Questions about testing should be directed to the Sarasota County Health Department at 941-861-6133.

County health officials also offered the following recommendations to promote safety in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Debby:

  • Do not drive through flooded roadways.
  • Look before you step, as the ground and floors may be covered with debris, including bottles and nails.
  • Avoid contact with downed power lines and electrical wires.
  • Do not open manhole covers.
  • Clean up debris to avoid injury and contamination.
  • Operate chainsaws only in safe conditions (not in water soaked areas), and only if you are experienced in the proper use of such equipment.
  • Wear shoes to avoid injury to the feet from glass, nails or other sharp objects.
  • Be alert to wildlife (snakes, alligators, etc.) that may have been displaced as a result of flooding.
  • Heed posted signage near affected area waterways.

Finally, the City of Sarasota has announced that short-term delays are possible with yard waste collection because of the higher than normal amount being collected after Tropical Storm Debby.

Waste Management, which picks up yard waste for the City of Sarasota, anticipates delays may occur through the beginning of next week, a city news release says.

“Your patience is requested as crews work longer hours and manage the larger workloads,” the release adds.”To assist with the collection, please remember trimmings should be less than 4 feet and weigh no more than 50 pounds.”