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Fire district offers preparation tips ahead of next storm

By SANIBEL FIRE AND RESCUE DISTRICT - | Jul 21, 2021

On June 29, the National Hurricane Center began monitoring Elsa. On July 6-7, Tropical Storm Elsa was parallel to the west coast of Florida with sustained winds up to 60 mph. Sanibel was impacted by the storm’s weather bands, including heavy rain, accompanied by flooding, wind gusts and lightning.

“Residents and visitors were lucky we avoided a direct hit from Tropical Storm Elsa,” Sanibel Fire and Rescue District Division Chief of Training Tim Barrett said. “But this is a reminder that anyone who is not ready for the next storm, now is the time to prepare.”

The district offered the following tips to help islanders prepare for the next storm:

PRIOR TO THE STORM

– Secure items: Move items indoors or place in a secure location in the event heavy winds impact the island.

– Hurricane kit: Make sure you have your own food, water and other supplies to last for several days. Necessary items for your kit should include water, nonperishable foods, a battery powered radio, flashlights, batteries, first aid kit, prescriptions and a cellphone with a charger. Proper planning will help individuals avoid panic buying

– Evacuation plan: Have a plan in place in the event an evacuation order is issued. Sanibel and Captiva are barrier islands and there is a chance the bridge could be shutdown. Individuals should have a plan to evacuate prior to the closure of the Sanibel Island Causeway Bridge.

DURING THE STORM

– Monitor local news and social media: Stay informed via local news stations and social media on the most up-to-date closures for the bridge and roadways, evacuations and the latest news on the approaching storm.

– Stay indoors: During Tropical Storm Elsa, island firefighters witnessed individuals in pools or Jacuzzis, as well as sports enthusiasts participating in recreational activities in the Gulf of Mexico. It is very dangerous to participate in these activities during a storm due to strong winds, heavy rain and lightning. Individuals are encouraged to stay indoors during a storm.

– Evacuate: Be prepared to evacuate. At a moment’s notice, a storm can shift and cause increased winds, flooding or storm surge. Have your evacuation plan ready, so that you can initiate it in the event an evacuation order is issued.