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  1. #1
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Default Guard is up Statewide for 2005 Hurricane Season

    Get ready for hurricane season
    St. Cloud, OUC plan meetings for residents, preach preparation

    By Danielle De Pari | Sentinel Staff Writer
    Posted May 22, 2005


    ST. CLOUD -- Even as many residents are still recovering from last year's devastating storms, hurricane season is about to return.

    So the city of St. Cloud and the Orlando Utilities Commission have teamed up to make sure residents are aware of what they can do to prepare before the June 1 start of the season.

    "Now is the time to do it," OUC Communications Manager Grant Heston said.

    Representatives of both entities will meet Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 1300 Ninth St., Building A, third floor, to present neighborhood informational sessions.

    The sessions are part of OUC's Neighborhood Outreach Program. All city residents were sent postcards informing them of these sessions. At the meetings, residents will have the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers and advice.

    OUC will distribute its 2005 Hurricane Guide and have a drawing for a battery-powered combination television/CD player/radio.

    Heston said OUC is working hard to get every last bit of information out to everyone. Residents are encouraged to bring questions because the most important part of the meeting will be an open question forum.

    Preparedness is also on the minds of city officials as they gear up for another season.

    "We had such a season last year," said Bill Johnston, assistant fire chief. "We have a whole new reference point on hurricane preparedness. We have done things in the past, but the idea was intangible. Now people have a word picture and know exactly what they need."

    Residents may download hurricane tips from OUC's Web site at www.ouc.com and e-mail questions beforehand to neighborhoods@ ouc.com.

    Danielle De Pari can be reached at ddepari@orlandosentinel.com or 407-931-5951.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


  2. #2
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Default

    Navarre readies for disasters

    ¸ CERT volunteers will aid area that primarily relies on county resources.

    By KARI C. BARLOW Daily News Staff Writer

    NAVARRE — Eight months after Hurricane Ivan turned Navarre into a chaotic jumble of downed trees and power lines, residents are coming up with new ways to respond to future disasters.

    Plans are under way to form that area’s first Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT.

    Used statewide by counties and cities, the teams are designed to assist existing emergency crews during a disaster.

    “What CERT does is augment first responders when things happen,” said T.J. Doherty, a Navarre resident and coordinator of the local CERT effort. “What we saw during Hurricane Ivan is what happens when the county gets overtaxed.” Doherty, also a member of the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said the teams are especially needed in Navarre, where there is no local government.

    “We rely on the county,” he said. “If the county has trouble getting down here, this is a way the community can get going.” In the days following Hurricane Ivan, CERTs would have been helpful to local fire departments and patrol officers, said Holley-Navarre Fire Chief Les Slocum.

    “Somebody can come and cook for us,” he said. “That’s a big help. Traffic control would have been outstanding. With no power there were no power lights.” Slocum has donated the fire station’s meeting room for CERT training, which is expected to begin in mid-July. CERT volunteers receive seven weeks of training and wear identifiable vests and badges while working an event. “The more volunteers you have, the better,” he said.

    Doherty said he expects to eventually have specialized CERTs that are deployed for specific situations.

    “We’ll have search and rescue teams,” he said. “We’ll have chainsaw teams … to clear the way on heavy thoroughfares.” Doherty said he is looking for anyone 15 and older who is willing to serve the community. “We’re going to need administrative people, people with a logistics background, with a communications background,” he said. “We’ll find a place for whoever comes.”
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  3. #3
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Default

    Storm tracking easier than ever

    By Tony Bridges

    DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER


    The good thing about hurricanes is that it's easy to see them coming.

    Between the Internet, radio, TV and the offerings of government types and weather entrepreneurs, watchers can follow a storm all the way from first brew to fade-out - city block by city block, in some cases - without ever getting wet.

    Important information in real time for the threatened, a constant feed of fascinating details for the merely weather-curious.

    "Everything I'm looking at is the same thing you have available at home," said Marty Bishop, emergency manager for city of Tallahassee. "It's certainly turned everybody into hurricane 'experts.'"

    'The most authentic source'

    His first recommendation: the National Weather Service.

    The federally funded agency makes weather reports available to the public for free, and the information's usually easy to come by.

    "That's the most authentic source, no matter what else is out there," Bishop said.

    Electronics stores, including Radio Shack and Best Buy, sell inexpensive weather-alert radios that pick up NWS broadcasts.

    They can be programmed to give warnings only for certain counties and even plug into light switches to give visual cues to the deaf.

    On the Web, the NWS recently has updated its site to be easier to use and offer more details. Go to the main page, look on the left side, and you'll find a list of links to storm data, including the National Hurricane Center.

    The site has active radar that shows exactly where a storm is and exactly how strong it is, along with gauges to measure rainfall.

    "We're just trying to make it as quick and easy for our users as possible," said Paul Duval, meteorologist in charge of the Tallahassee office. "We want to get as much information to them as we can.

    "Weather is one of the things that impacts everybody."

    Many more options online

    Still want more?

    Best bet is to go back to the Internet.

    There are a number of Web sites that provide weather data, some free, some not.

    The city of Tallahassee posts information about serious storms and hurricanes on its main page, and Bishop said he also intends to install feeds from two mini-weather stations, one at the Tallahassee Police Department and another at Fire Station #3 on South Monroe Street.

    Weatherunderground.com and HurricaneAlley.com both are good free sources, while WeatherTap.com is a reliable and relatively inexpensive subscription service used by the city, Bishop said.

    He said watchers also can subscribe to other services that send automatic e-mail updates to pagers or cell phones - or they can just ask him to add their names to a city list that will do the same thing.

    As for being able to get live images of storms as they hit town, well, that's possible, too. Sort of.

    The city's Web site provides feeds from traffic cameras all around Tallahassee that the public can use to check on rainfall, flooding and downed trees. The images are updated every two minutes.

    But with all this information comes a warning.

    Don't go making your own predictions, especially if they contradict warnings from professional storm trackers.

    "Those folks are looking at it with a much more educated eye than any of us," Bishop said.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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