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Hurricane season ahead

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By Alice Du Pont

It is common knowledge that knowledge is power, and the more you know about hurricanes the more likely you are to survive and have a positive outcome. Hear directly from t experts representing more than 20 state and local agencies on what to do before, during and after a hurricane to increase your chances of survival. It’s all going to be happening from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at the Courthouse Square in Quincy.

 

Just because you live in Florida doesn’t mean you know all about hurricanes. Emergency Management Director Major Shawn Wood said many Floridians, including thousands who live in the Panhandle, have inadequate knowledge when it comes to hurricanes and how to protect their lives and property.

 

Saturday is the official start of hurricane season, which runs through the end of November. The emergency management office will partner with the city of Quincy, during the kickoff of the city’s anti-litter campaign to teach citizens what they need to do in case a hurricane strikes. 

 

“We want people to have the knowledge before an emergency. A lot of times, they start calling us because they are not prepared and just don’t know what to do. People have moved into our area from places where there has never been a hurricane, and we want to reach them now,” Wood said.

 

Much of the information could be life-saving.

 

“If there is a person who has special needs living in the home? Is there a person who is oxygen dependent in the home? It’s important that we reach those people because we need to know if their needs are taken care of during an emergency,” said Tashonda Whaley, administrative assistant in the emergency management office.

 

“This hurricane information and clean-up campaign really go hand-in-hand. High winds can easily sent projectiles through the air that could kill or injure someone. When we know a hurricane is coming, one of the first things we tell (the public) is clean up around your house. That’s just another reason people need to come out Saturday,” Wood said.

 

Casanova Nurse, Channel 27 meteorologist, will talk one-on-one to citizens about the role of broadcast media in case of hurricanes and other significant weather events.

 

“One thing we thought we’d do is let people see all of the heavy equipment that is involved and meet the people who operate the large machines and we are out in the rain and wind protecting their property, clearing roads of trees and restoring power. Many of these folks are their neighbors,” Wood said, “and they may not even know it.”

“To my knowledge,” he said, “this is the first time anything of this magnitude has ever happened in Gadsden County. We’re pulling out all of the stops and involving all of the players. We want people to know that the emergency management office is ready but they have to do their part.”

 

The Gadsden County Health Council has become a partner in this event as well as the Gadsden County School District.

 

School is out for the summer on May 31, and one way to promote the participation of young people is to get them involved, Wood said. The district will provide free ice cream and include their summer reading program.

 

“We have so many people coming, there isn’t a question that people can ask that won’t get answered by an expert,” Wood said.

 

Some of the agencies include:

 

• Gadsden County Emergency Management

• Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office 

• State of Florida Emergency Management

• City of Quincy

• Gadsden County Public Works

• City of Quincy Public Works Department

• Gadsden County Road and Bridge Department

• Quincy Police Department

• Quincy Fire Department

• Florida Health Department at Gadsden County

• Gadsden County Humane Society

• Talquin Electric

• Florida Highway Patrol

• Florida Institute of Public Safety

• WTXL weather team

• Civil Air patrol

• Gadsden County EMS

• Quincy Shuttle

• Gadsden Community Health Council

• Big Bend 211

• American Red Cross