State Fire Marshal and Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis visited Orlando on July 10 to meet with area agencies and to remind all Floridians to act now and be prepared if a major storm hits the Sunshine State. Elected state officials joined them, including Sens. Dennis Baxley and Tom A. Wright, Reps. Bruce Antone, John Cortes and the staff of Rep. Rene Plasencia. The event was held in Central Florida Task Force 4’s warehouse.
Clermont Fire Lt. Jeremiah Plasters and Engineer Micah Warren participated as part of Task Force 4, a regional joint search-and-rescue group with members coming from fire rescue departments from across Central Florida. Clermont Fire Assistant Chief Kathy Johnston also attended. Plasters and Warren had the opportunity to speak with Patronis and to educate attendees about the latest search and rescue equipment.
For 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a likely range of nine to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including two to four major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
“Clermont Fire Department urges residents to prepare for hurricanes in advance,” Johnston said. “Now is the time to start gathering medications, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable food items and to devise an evacuation plan just in case a storm threatens your home and you need to leave. This includes plans for pets and livestock.”
You’re advised to have your plan in writing and distributed to all family members, including the route you expect to take to evacuate and where you plan to stay when you arrive.
Hurricane preparedness information, guides and check-lists for residents and businesses is available at the State of Florida website www.StateOfFlorida.com/articles/hurricane-preparedness-guide.aspx and at Lake County’s website, www.LakeCountyFl.gov/hurricane_guide/. Emergency shelter information also is available at the Lake County site.
Task Force 4 is often called upon not just locally, but elsewhere as well, and credited for helping thousands of lives in the aftermath of storms or catastrophic events.
Last year, Plasters and six other Clermont Fire Department employees were deployed to the Panhandle to assist with Hurricane Michael rescue and recovery efforts. A couple months later, Patronis visited City of Clermont Fire Station No. 1 to express his appreciation for their service.