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Cape Coral residents urged to begin planning for 2017 hurricane season

May 15, 2017
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With hurricane season set to kick off, the city of Cape Coral encourages residents to prepare.

Hurricane season is recognized as June 1 through Nov. 30.

"We've been very fortunate that we were not impacted by a large storm in over a decade," Meischa Jackson, emergency management coordinator with the Cape fire department's Division of Emergency Management, said. "Hurricane season is six months. We need to be mindful throughout the season."

For disaster preparedness, officials recommend focusing on four key points:

* Have a plan.

* Make a kit.

Fact Box

Hurricane Seminar

On June 8, the Cape fire department will host its annual hurricane seminar from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall. It is free and open to the public; registration is not required to attend.

Cape Coral City Hall is located at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.

* Be informed.

* Get involved.

"There's only so much that we're capable of providing," she said of the city.

Residents should have an evacuation plan thought out, including where they will go.

"If you don't need to evacuate, don't," Jackson said. "If you are in an evacuation area, do so ASAP."

When evacuating, settle in somewhere within a few miles of your home - not hundreds of miles. Officials recommend seeking temporary shelter with family, friends or coworkers living nearby.

"(Emergency) shelters should be your last refuge or last resort," she said.

When making a disaster kit, each person should have enough food and water for three days. Include first-aid items and extra clothing, along with necessities like maps, manual can openers and toiletries. There should also be copies of vital documents - IDs, medical paperwork, mortgage and insurance.

"If you have pets, make sure you pack pet supplies in the kit, as well," Jackson said.

Remember to include cash in case of a long-term power outage.

"Your kit should be personalized," she said. "Pay attention to what you need and use."

Comfort items, especially for children, can help to relieve stress.

For information, have a weather radio and sign up for ping4alerts! from the city and county. The free app, which notifies users of safety concerns, is available from Google Play and the Apple AppStore.

"Be informed," Jackson said.

"Make sure that you're getting creditable information from reputable sources," she added.

Emergency agencies for the city and county level can be found on social media.

"There can be service interruptions, so be prepared to pull the information from various mediums," Jackson said.

Officials noted that preparedness starts with the individual and family, then neighbors.

"It's about neighbors helping neighbors," she said.

The Cape fire department operates a CERT - Community Emergency Response Team - program. Free for residents, the classes educate participants on disaster preparedness and response training.

"They focus greatly on outreach and assisting others to prepare," Jackson said.

"They also play vital roles in an (emergency) activation," she added.

For more information about CERT, contact 239-242-3022 or

While residents prepare for the upcoming season, the city has been doing its part.

"We do prepare throughout the year for hurricanes and any hazard that's likely to impact our area," Jackson said. "Year-round we do conduct drills and exercises - we test our systems and capabilities."

"We also attend public safety and hurricane conferences," she added.

On June 8, the Cape fire department will host its annual hurricane seminar from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall. It is free and open to the public; registration is not required to attend.

"We will provide information on hurricane preparedness," Jackson said.

The keynote speaker is WINK News meteorologist Jim Farrell.

"There will be multiple speakers and an opportunity for questions," she said.

There will also be giveaways, along with information for home and family preparedness.

"The community is not only invited but encouraged to attend," Jackson said.

Lee County publishes an "All Hazards Guide" in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole. Containing helpful information, it can be found at:

Other helpful websites include:

* Cape Coral Fire Department:

* Lee County Department of Public Safety:

* Florida Division of Emergency Management:

* Be Ready Florida:

* Federal Alliance for Safe Homes:

Cape Coral City Hall is at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.



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