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CCFD to host hurricane seminar

By Staff | Jun 8, 2016

Still drying out from the passing of Tropical Storm Colin is coincidental to the Cape Coral Fire Department’s annual Hurricane Seminar scheduled on Thursday at City Hall.

The event is free and open to all residents and businesses with no registration required. The seminar runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Council Chambers.

Hosted by Fire Chief Donald Cochran, the seminar features several speakers highlighted by WINK?News chief meteorologist Jim Farrell. Cape Coral Emergency Management Division manager Jesse Spearo, Police Capt. Kurt Graf, building official Paul Dickson and Coast Guard Auxiliary liaison Tom Bamford also are guest speakers.

“We are expecting a full house like last year,” said Fire Emergency Management Division manager Jesse Spearo. “People should come early to get a good seat.”

Attendees can expect to learn of emergency preparedness tips for individuals, families and home, evacuations, re-entry following a tropical event, where to get up-to-the-minute information as well as avoiding predatory unlicensed contractors to make needed repairs.

“Anyone new to Florida or who has not been exposed to a tropical event this is an excellent opportunity to get a lot of information,” said Spearo.

Dickson will discuss the permitting process after a hurricane event to be aware of predatory and unlicensed contractors.

The Coast Guard will give tips on how to prepare and store boats.

“This is a large boating community, so that is especially good for people to know,” said Spearo.

Spearo also emphasized that it is critical for individuals to prepare themselves.

“Our message is that the first 72 hours of an event are on you,” he said. “Don’t count on any government or other agency to help. If the power goes out it could be several weeks before it is restored. Do your due diligence – be prepared, be informed, have your insurance up to date and know what to do if there is an evacuation.”

Cape Coral Police will share tips on evacuations, how to secure your property and always be aware

Farrell will guide attendees through weather patterns, how storms form, how they are steered, storm surges and strength of storms and the like.

Hand-out guides and agency material will be available.

“We will talk about putting together a go-kit, how to find your evacuation zone and other activities,” said Spearo.

Spearo said one seminar each year is enough because the fire department does presentations and outreach in the community all year long. The tornado event in January is a good example of a storm event outside the hurricane season from June 1 to Nov. 30.

“We talk to the Chamber of Commerce, New Residents’ Club and other social clubs throughout the year,” said Spearo. “We are working on hosting an annual hurricane expo next year, a day-long event on a Saturday in June where people can talk to experts and agencies about products and services.”

Anyone unable to attend Thursday’s seminar can watch it live on the city’s website at: www.capecoral.net, or the anytime after the video is posted on the site within a week.

“The main thing to remember is it has been 11 years since we had a storm, but we must stay vigilant,” Spearo said. “We don’t want people to have amnesia about the effects of a tropical event.”

Cape Coral City Hall is at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.