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Hurricane seminar to cover before, during and after storm

By Staff | Jun 11, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED The American Red Cross' Next Generation Emergency Response Vehicle.

Residents, business owners and even visitors will have an opportunity to hear from officials on preparing for, surviving through and recovering from a storm at an upcoming island event.

The city of Sanibel will host its annual Hurricane Seminar on June 14 at 1 p.m. at The Community House, with a chance to view an American Red Cross response vehicle beforehand from noon to 1 p.m. Free and open to the public, it will feature a lineup of speakers and a question-and-answer session.

“It’s to educate folks, educate island residents and visitors and anyone new to the island about the dangers associated with the hurricane season,” Police Chief William “Bill” Dalton said.

He noted that the information also covers storm preparation.

“And what to expect from the city in response to an event,” Dalton added.

This year’s list of speakers will include Dave Roberts, the city’s weather consultant, who will provide information on hurricane formation, the categories of tropical systems and dangers of storm surge.

Sandra Tapfumaneyi, the operations chief for Lee County Emergency Management, will discuss family emergency planning and explain the county’s responsibilities in dealing with tropical storm systems

“Sandra will talk about what the county does as far as preparation and recovery,” he said.

F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva Program Director Kathy Y. Monroe will discuss special needs issues. Advance registration is required in order to use a special needs shelter in the event of a storm.

“Kathy will talk about how F.I.S.H. goes out and helps residents register for the special needs shelters,” Dalton said, explaining that the program participants may be on an oxygen tank or have a disability.

Community Services Director Keith Williams will cover the post-storm recovery plan.

“Keith will talk about the city’s role in the recovery efforts,” he said. “Keith was in charge of cleaning up all the debris after (Hurricane) Irma – it was really a massive job.”

Sanibel Building Official Harold Law will review the city’s building codes.

“Harold will talk about all of the building codes on Sanibel and why they’re strict,” Dalton said. “We’ve had little damage considering all the storms we’ve had, but that’s because of the strict building codes.”

The police chief will lead the seminar and discuss the city’s storm plans for attendees.

“I also go over the police department’s role for preparing, evacuations and re-entry,” he said.

The program lasts for about an hour, and the audience can ask questions afterward.

“The number one goal of everything we do is safety,” Dalton said.

“We’ve been through three major storms and we haven’t had a loss of life,” he added. “We think if we educate the citizens, visitors and businesses – we’re much more likely to be successful in our concerns of safety.”

At the seminar, attendees can apply for the city’s Hurricane Reentry Pass Program, which is open to residents and businesses. The city is reusing the hurricane passes from 2016 for the 2019 season.

People can also pick up literature and resource packets to take home.

“There will be information from F.I.S.H. and we’ll probably have Lee County’s All Hazards Guide,” Dalton said.

Prior to the start of the seminar, the Fort Myers American Red Cross office will have its Next Generation Emergency Response Vehicle on display for attendees to see and become familiar with. A volunteer will be on hand to discuss its purpose and answer any questions from those present.

“What the Red Cross has done here in the past is they responded and fed people,” he said.

The public is urged to attend the event.

“So that they know how to prepare and survive a storm,” Dalton said.

The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.