Fort Myers Beach Fire Department speaks on future hurricane plans

Author: Sommer Senne
Published: Updated:

While we stock up on supplies and prepare for hurricane season, the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department is, too, in a different way.

We spoke with Fort Myers Beach Fire Chief Scott Wirth and asked him what his crews have learned since Hurricane Ian.

“Our hurricane plans had included in them that we would leave one fire engine, our oldest fire engine in the station that was the highest above grade, in case we had a flooding problem,” he said.

They thought the truck would be available if our bridges were gone, but Station ​31 flooded and took the fire truck with it.

“We have learned from that. We’ve modified our hurricane plan, and we will take all vehicles with us if we have an event like that again,” Wirth said.

Planning for a hurricane is different than living through one, especially when help comes from across the country.

“The ambulances can’t talk to our hospitals. Their firefighters can’t talk to our firefighters, so how do we get that extra equipment and scale up so that we can support the people who are coming to support us?” Wirth said.

Thanks to these vents, the newer fire stations are also meant to flood by stepping up and filling in wherever needed.

Wirth said that the vents are designed to let water in and back out. He showed us how they have floodplain barriers to keep water from their living areas.

The fire department is also looking toward the future. The new station will have three full bays and living areas 20 feet in the air.

“I think our plans in place are solid, and we’re ready if another storm comes,” Wirth said.

Ready for what, they hope, doesn’t happen again.

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