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NFM Civic Association: Lots of good information presented at hurricane seminar

By Staff | May 22, 2019

The North Fort Myers Civic Association held our first Hurricane Seminar this past week in several years at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center as a free public service to the North Fort Myers community. The seminar was very well attended as well as quite informative in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season which begins June 1st.

The Hurricane Seminar’s main speaker for the evening was NBC-2 Meteorologist Rob Duns, who detailed how hurricanes work and what to expect when one is approaching our area. Also speaking at the seminar was the North Fort Myers Fire Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County EMS, Lee-Tran, Lee County Domestic Animal Shelter, United Way, Patrick Chrissy Hurricane Shelter Manager, and John Gardner from Lee County Insurance Agency.

Mr. Duns started off the evening with a presentation using unique visual aides to engage the audience and make his presentation regarding this very serious topic entertaining as well as informative. Mr. Duns answered questions from the audience at the beginning and also at the end of the seminar to help the audience better understand the severity of all hurricanes from a Category 1 through a Category 5 storm and that no matter the category, all hurricanes are to be taken seriously and require preparation to ensure everyone’s safety.

North Fort Myers Fire Department Chief David Rice, along with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office North Watch Commander Captain Joe West, and Lee County EMS Chief Benjamin Abes all made their presentations at the same time regarding public safety issues during a storm. All three emphasized to the audience in attendance that public safety officials take shelter when wind speeds reach 40 mph and that no public safety services are available until an all clear is given for law enforcement, fire and medical services to first check the area prior to an all clear for residents to return. Chief Abes also spoke to the audience regarding those with special needs care need to register through Lee County EMS in order to assist with them their particular disabilities.

One subject that gained a lot of particular interest was the presentation from Lee County Domestic Animal Services and how pets should be cared for during a storm. Karen Fradiani, representing Lee County Domestic Animal Services, stated that pets should never be left alone in a home if the occupants of the home are evacuating. She stressed that pets are family members and that if a need occurs for a mandatory evacuation the Lee County Domestic Animal facility located on Banner Drive in South Fort Myers can take pets in during a storm. However, she also stated that pet owners should make every attempt to have their pets with them in an airline type crate in order to muffle noise and distractions as much as possible for the safety and comfort of the pet, as they are scared of the circumstances around them as well during the time of an impending storm approach.

Patrick Chrissy who is a designated Lee County Hurricane shelter manager, offered advice on what a person should bring with them to a hurricane shelter. Mr. Chrissy stated that lines will be long for those registering to stay in a shelter, and that those entering a shelter should anticipate excessive waits for services simply due to the number of persons occupying a shelter in contrast to those serving and volunteering at shelters. Mr. Chrissy mentioned that bringing comfortable items for an extended stay would be a strong benefit. Mr. Chrissy also emphasized that “A shelter is not a hotel, it is a lifeboat for those in need.”

The final speaker of the evening was John Gardner owner of Lee County Insurance.

Mr. Gardner discussed with the audience to read over their insurance policy and to always purchase a policy based on substance and not on price. Mr. Gardner also stated that the word “Hurricane” does not appear on most insurance policies, however the word “wind” is an important factor when purchasing storm coverage for our area.

The North Fort Myers Civic Association would like to thank all of those that came out to our Hurricane Seminar not only as presenters but concerned citizens as well.

If you may have a question regarding Hurricane preparedness and were not able to attend our seminar, you may send us your question by going to our website at NFMCIVIC.COM and selecting the contact us link. We will contact the appropriate agency and get back with you with an answer.

Always stay informed by local media and be prepared for any storm that may approach our area. June 1st is just days away and now is the time to get your hurricane plan in order.

– Doug Dailey is the president North Fort Myers Civic Association