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Disaster Preparedness Seminar this Friday

By Staff | May 6, 2015

A preparedness seminar specifically for local residents with disabilities is planned for this week.

Lee County Emergency Management will conduct a Disaster Preparedness Seminar on Friday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Lee County Emergency Operations Center. The event is free to the public.

Debbie Quimby, special needs program specialist with the Lee County Emergency Management, explained that similar seminars are held every year at various facilities throughout the county.

“They wanted to try to join them together, help bring attendance up,” she said of hosting only one.

The event was organized in partnership with local organizations that serve those with disabilities, including the Center of Independent Living Gulf Coast, ADA Advisory Council of Southwest Florida, Lighthouse of SWFL,and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center. Representatives will be on hand.

“So people with like disabilities might find out something they didn’t know,” Quimby said.

WINK-TV meteorologist Jim Farrell will speak, and an ASL interpreter will be present.

Topics for the seminar will include emergency plans, Special Needs applications, evacuation zones, shelters, transportation, smartphone apps and more. A copy of an emergency plan will be handed out.

“We try to help them create their emergency plan,” she said.

The Special Needs program involves shelters for those who have disabilities or those who would require a constant power source. For example, people on oxygen or those using certain medical equipment.

“There are a number of people with disabilities who do perfectly fine in a public (average) shelter,” Quimby said. “It just deals with what their particular issue is and getting them to the right place.”

The seminar will also cover the basics, like putting together an emergency kit.

“A disaster doesn’t have to be a hurricane,” she said. “We’ll be talking about a lot of those pieces.”

Attendees will be able to ask questions during a question-and-answer session.

“Maybe in a big setting they might not be able to ask questions as easily,” Quimby said.

Those interested in attending are asked to register by calling the Lee County Emergency Operations Center at 239-533-0622. Registration is not required, however, so people can just show up.

“It’s just helpful for us,” she said. “That way we have an idea of how many people will be there.”

For more information, visit online at: www.leeeoc.com.

The Lee County Emergency Operations Center is at 2675 Ortiz Ave., in Fort Myers.