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Seminar to cover key subjects for hurricane season

By Staff | Jun 25, 2019

Fire Chief Jeff Pawul

With the island one month into this year’s hurricane season, property owners will have a chance to hear from officials on preparing for, surviving through and recovering from a storm at an event this week.

Hosted by the Captiva Island Fire Control District, the 2019 Captiva Hurricane Annual Seminar will take place on June 27 at 3 p.m. at the fire station. Free and open to the community, it will feature presentations from a few of speakers, followed by a question-and-answer session for those attending.

“It’s a time for us to educate the residents that are on the island on how to take care of themselves and how to prepare themselves in the event that we have a hurricane,” Fire Chief Jeff Pawul said.

Over the years, the district has held the seminar at different times throughout the year to try and increase public participation, but settled on hosting it around the start of hurricane season.

“That way it’s more fresh in everybody’s minds,” he said of the information shared.

Pawul noted that the information covered is more Captiva specific, as Sanibel has its own event.

One of this year’s guest speakers will be Sandra Tapfumaneyi, the operations chief for Emergency Management with the Lee County Department of Public Safety. A member of the county’s Emergency Operations Center team, she will discuss lessons learned from past hurricanes and how to prepare.

“We have somebody from the EOC,” he said.

NBC meteorologist Jason Dunning will cover the 2019 hurricane season predictions.

“Weather-related topics on what to expect in the upcoming season,” Pawul said.

He added that Dunning will talk about tropical storms and hurricane basics.

Along with Pawul, a representative from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office – mostly likely Lt. Mike Sawicki – will be present. Following the presentations, they will answer questions from the crowd on topics like preparations, evacuations before a storm, and safely returning to the island after leaving.

“We will answer any kinds of questions that anyone has,” Pawul said.

The seminar typically last for about an hour.

“We try and keep it shorter than not,” he said. “You lose interest if it gets too long.”

All are welcome and encouraged to attend – residents and business owners, even visitors.

“It’s really geared toward anybody who’s a property owner on the island, and it’s mostly beneficial to residents who are here during hurricane season,” Pawul said.

“We always have business owners,” he added of attendance. “We have some of the real estate and rental companies come out because they manage the properties.”

Copies of Lee County’s All Hazards Guide, the Family Hurricane Planner, Captiva Home Owners Authorization Letter and other valuable information will be available for people to take home.

“There’ll be handouts,” Pawul said. “The hurricane guide and the family hurricane plans.”

The fire station will have the handouts for anyone unable to attend the seminar.

“We’ll have extra copies of all that stuff available,” he said. “They can stop by and pick that up at any time.”

The community is urged to come out for the event.

“If you’re new and you’ve never been here for a hurricane, there’s nothing more important than being prepared,” Pawul said, noting that it can be chaotic if one is not ready and a storm is approaching.

“You want to have all those plans in place before the news tells you a hurricane’s coming to Captiva,” he added. “During a storm is not the time to make plans and figure out what you’re going to do.”

For more information, contact the fire district at 239-472-9494.

The Captiva Fire Station is at 14981 Captiva Drive.