Sandbags given out in South Florida before Tropical Storm Erika

Proof of residency required

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, MJ Acosta - Reporter

DORAL, Fla. - Free sandbags were being passed out Friday to residents in Doral as Tropical Storm Erika nears South Florida.

The sandbags were available for pickup at Doral Central Park at 8401 NW 53rd Terrace between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

However, demand was so great that the city ran out by about 2 p.m.

City spokeswoman Maggie Santos said more sandbags would be distributed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Each vehicle is limited to 10 sandbags while supplies last, and residents and businesses must bring a valid ID for proof of Doral residency.

Doral Vice Mayor Sandra Ruiz lead the initiative to make sure residents are taking the proper steps to prepare their homes ahead of Tropical Storm Erika.

Ruiz shared her concern about the 79th Street Corridor near the Palmetto Expressway. She said the area has been known to bring several feet of water into the Doral area. The construction is just one of the reasons officials are preparing their residents for possible flooding should the storm intensify and hit South Florida.

"My message is very strong: We are South Florida. We have seen strong storms in the past and we will be well prepared," Ruiz said. "What we should not do is panic. These are basically the steps we should take to try to protect, but certainly no one should be panicking."

Filled sandbags are used for water control and diversion during flooding, high waters, storm surges and other natural disasters.

City officials urge Doral residents to sign up for CodeRed alerts to receive emergency information on their cellphone or email.

Residents can also visit Doral's Storm Readiness Web page to keep up on emergency notifications in their area.

Sandbags are also available for residents of Sweetwater, Hollywood and Hallandale Beach. Proof of residency is also required.

Hollywood residents can pickup sandbags at the Public Works Administration Complex at 1600 South Park Road from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The complex ran out of sandbags about 5 p.m. Friday, but sandbags will still be available for Saturday.

Sandbags are available at the Hallandale Beach Public Works Compound at 630 NW Second St. from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

In Sweetwater, sandbags can be picked up at the Public Works building at 1701 NW 110th Ave. at 9 a.m. Saturday.

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