TAVARES — The Lake County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be activated on Wednesday, May 24, and Thursday, May 25, for the statewide hurricane exercise.
Representatives from a multitude of agencies, including Lake County Government, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lake County Health Department, local municipalities and various other community partners, will prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, which begins June 1 and extends to Nov. 30.
“This two-day exercise for the Lake County EOC will assist staff with collaborating, coordinating and facilitating our plans for the 2006 hurricane season,” said Jerry Smith, Director of the Lake County Emergency Management Division.
Smith also said EOC representatives will be reviewing new programs and initiatives that are implemented for this upcoming hurricane season, such as:
• Reverse 911 — An automated system that utilizes GIS mapping and telephone number databases to deliver emergency notifications. This system, which can place 23 outgoing calls at once, will specifically be used during hurricane emergencies to contact individuals with special needs.
• E-Team — A new software package being installed in the EOC allows users to geo-locate incidents, resources, facilities and other critical information. It also allows users to send broadcast messages, new information alerts and situational updates to system users.
• Public Shelter Registry — Spawned as a lesson learned from Hurricane Katrina, the new Lake County Public Shelter Registry Program assists emergency officials with locating residents who may not have reliable transportation to a public shelter. The program is for Lake County residents who feel they may have to stay at a public shelter during a disaster or hurricane. It is not necessary to sign up for the program, but residents who may need transportation to a shelter are encouraged to participate in the program. To receive a public-shelter registry application, call the Emergency Management office at (352) 343-9420.
• New Citizens Information Line resources — A revamped and larger call center with more telephone lines, laptops and operational resources is expected to make the Citizens Information Line more efficient. The call center is staffed during disasters at (352) 343-9732.
• Cable provider agreements —This past year, Lake County was able to expand government/education access television agreement to Comcast, Bright House Networks and Florida Cable. This new service will be used primarily to provide hurricane preparation on all major cable systems in the County. During a disaster a resident can tune into Comcast channels 13 or 22, Bright House channel 99 or Florida Cable channel 4 to receive updates from the Lake County EOC.
On May 24 at noon, the Lake County EOC will conduct a news conference at the Lake County Administration Building, 315 W. Main St., Tavares, to explain these new measures implemented for the 2006 hurricane season. The news conference will be broadcast live on all four government-access channels. The news conference will re-air May 25 at noon.
For more hurricane preparation information, call the Lake County Emergency Management Division at (352) 343-9420 or log on to www.lakegovernment.com, keyword: hurricane.