Emergency crews already starting preps for possible hurricane, asking you to do the same

Reporter: Anika Henanger
Published: Updated:
Hurricane shutters (WINK News)

With Southwest Florida in the cone for a potential hurricane right now, emergency crews are already getting prepared in case the storm comes here.

LCEC says the trucks are gassed up and the linemen and tree trimmers are ready to go.

We’ve all seen the video. A lot of us have lived through the incredible winds and dumping rain. Get ready to do it again.

When the Hurricane Center cone includes SWFL, that’s a signal to prepare.

I’ve been doing shutters for 40 years,” said Steve Tinklepaugh, owner of CC Shutters, Windows and Doors. “I can pretty much see if it’s something that could be a threat to Southwest Florida and just preparing ahead of time for that.”

He saw his neighbors through Irma. Now, he’s helping them prepare for a storm during COVID-19.

“The last thing people are worried about during the pandemic or even with the economy being the way it is is the hurricane protection,” he said.

But now’s the time to shift your focus to preparation and protection. Emergency management directors like Collier County’s Dan Summers want people to get ready when the storm is days away, not hours.

“We just ask you to be patient,” Summers said. “Supply lines are different to the extent possible, sheltering in place is the least risk for most individuals and make sure you’re prepared and ready.”

Summer remembers the devastating results of waiting to prepare for Irma, and Charlie before that. He’s learned not to take any storm lightly.

“Lots of worry in terms of will this ultimately be a tropical storm,” he said.

Several agencies said they prepped so much for Hurricane Isais and many of those safeguards are still in place. The City of Fort Myers said their preps are ongoing.

FDOT says it’s about stopping flooding before it starts, and at least do what it can. Crews are checking and cleaning drainage areas, roadside ditches and culverts.

LCEC has extra linemen and tree trimming crews prepped.

Lee County, Glades County, Cape Coral and even power company FPL say they are all in one mode: closely monitoring this storm

“We did so much of that with Isiais — fuel generators and check storm drains that kind of thing we did that intensively for that particular storm, so really we’re in good shape because that was a nonevent,” Summers said. “If it’s a nonevent and all we’ve done is prepare a little harder then that’s okay if it’s a category one hurricane and we do get some effects, I think we’ll be in pretty good shape.”

Now, they just need you to be ready too.

“Let’s work as a neighborhood and work as a team and will get through this,” Summers said.

Our crews out in the stores today saw storm veterans stocking up on food, water and just as important, prescription drugs. A good example for those of you who’ve yet to experience a hurricane.

If you’re a storm first-timer, Lee County has a Lee Prepares app that allows you to sign up for emergency notifications.

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