Lee County’s After Ian Action Report finds staffing issues at shelters

Reporter: Annette Montgomery Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

Lee County has released the After Ian Action Report, and while Lee County gives itself pretty good marks in the wake of Hurricane Ian, the report did say they had some staffing issues in its shelters.

Hurricane Ian landed in Lee County on September 28, 2022.

It was a Category 4 hurricane that caused more than $112 billion in damages, the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history behind Katrina and Harvey.

The after action report reviews the county’s preparedness, response and recovery efforts. It is supposed to help leaders be ready for the next big disaster.

On the report, the county said, “They encountered challenges in notifying staff of assigned shifts” and “at times staff were provided the wrong shift times resulting in secondary staffing gaps.”

The county also admits that some of the backup staff were not properly trained, something Dr. Darryl Claire and his wife, nurse Linda Claire, can attest to.

The county said that after being called to work at a shelter, they saw staffing issues right away. They hope the county is taking steps to ensure that doesn’t happen again.

“They have to understand the impact is tremendous,” Claire said. “I mean, we saw families break up. It’s a tough job and training again should be done today in preparation for the next hurricane. Planning for the staffing needs to be done.”

“I think we highlighted the opportunity to staff those shelters better,” said chairman Brian Hamman, a Lee County Commissioner.

Claire said that at times there wasn’t enough staff to man the showers used by both adults and children in the shelter.

Part of the county’s solution on Tuesday was to consider hiring an outside firm to help staff shelters in the future.

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