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Collier County has declared a State of Emergency

Reporter: Lauren Leslie
Published: Updated:

Collier County has declared a State of Emergency.

Declaring an emergency allows the county to enforce emergency operations and act quickly if the course of the storm changes.

This was declared early Sunday after the Board of County Commissioners held an emergency special meeting.

Despite the declaration, there are no evacuation orders and the Bureau of Emergency Services has not opened any storm shelters or special needs shelters at this time.

Collier County Public Schools announced they are closed on Monday but not due to threats from Tropical Storm Ian, this was already planned in the 2022-23 academic calendar.

Monday will be a regular work day, with teachers participating in a professional development day.

The district announced that schools will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Debbie Vallas, a Collier County resident said, “Just be prepared.”

Vallas says this is not her first rodeo. She moved to Florida right after Hurricane Charley. And knows exactly what she needs to do during times of emergency.

“You know, the water, the food, I have that beginning of every season, very little do I need to buy when something like this happens,” Vallas said.

Vallas says regardless she is not taking any chances.

“I’ll put my storm shutters up tomorrow. And if I need to evacuate, I have several places I can go to,” Vallas said.

Lana Kaelin says she’s originally from Kentucky and is keeping calm because she has time to prepare in case of a hurricane.

Kaelin says she has time because for a tornado there is no time to prepare.

“You don’t get any preparation for that. I mean, all of a sudden, you got five minutes and a tornado hits. So I’m pretty relaxed about it; I have a place to go. I always use the WINK News booklet that you all put out for hurricanes,” Kaelin said.

WINK News will continue to provide updates if there are any changes.

The two major threats to Naples in particular are wind and water. And for those who are experiencing a hurricane for the first time, like Cindy Carlino, this can be a very tough time.

“It’s going to be nerve-racking to say the least,” Carlino said. Carlino, a Boston native, just relocated to Naples and their biggest concern is the oncoming surge.

“The water the surge,” Carlino explained.

“I’m on the first floor of a condo it just doesn’t get any better,” Betsy Orner said.

Mayor Teresa Heitmann was emphasizing, evacuate or stay inside as Ian makes its impact.

“We could get tornadoes and tornadoes can be just as dangerous flooding waters please do not drive through,” Heitmann said.

“If the storm deteriorates and we go into an evacuation mode or curfew mode we will take that very seriously,” Chief Tom Weschler of the Naples Police said.

Crews have been preparing all week and emergency responders are ready to act.

“We’re preparing our personnel to be able to get the roads back open through cut and push teams and be prepared for any search and rescue activities that might happen post-storm so we can get out there and help people who need our help,” Chief Pete DiMaria of the Naples Fire Department said.

Visit this link for information on evacuation zones.