For immediate release - October 23, 2005
TAVARES — As of 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, the activation level of the Lake County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was raised to Level II, partial activation.
All 21 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) of the Lake County EOC are on duty to prepare for Hurricane Wilma. An ESF is a mechanism that consolidates multiple agencies that perform similar or like functions into a single, cohesive unit to allow for the better management of emergency response functions.
“As Lake County continues to raise its preparedness level for Hurricane Wilma, families should do the same by making sure their disaster supply kit and family disaster plan are in order,” said Jerry Smith, Director of the Lake County Emergency Management Division.
Residents should begin by making sure their disaster supply kit is stocked with:
- At least a four-day supply of bottled water
- At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food items
- A manual can opener
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Battery-operated radio
- At least one month’s supply of medications
- First-aid kit
Other items typically included in a disaster supply kit are basic toiletries, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, shampoo, toilet paper and personal hygiene supplies, blankets, pillows and a waterproof bag of important documents, such as emergency contact numbers and insurance information.
If your family has pets, it is also recommended to keep a pet disaster supply on hand. A pet disaster supply kit should include items such as food, water, registration records, medications, proof of vaccination, a leash and collar.
The first step to creating a family disaster plan is to hold a family meeting to discuss the dangers of fire, severe weather and other emergencies. Families should openly discuss escape routes in the home and teach every member important emergency numbers, such as 9-1-1 and emergency help lines.
Families should also designate two emergency meeting places outside the home — one near the home and another outside the neighborhood. You can also select two calling points, possibly a friend or relative, where family members can check in to, in case they are separated from the rest of the family.
A well-thought-out plan of action for you and your family can go a long way toward reducing potential suffering from any type of disaster that could strike. With the pending hurricane season, preparing your family disaster plan is the first step. Household emergency plans should be kept simple. The best emergency plans are those that are easy to remember.
Here are some other tips that should be included in a family disaster plan:
- Teach responsible family members how to turn off the utilities in the home.
- Be familiar with escape routes in case you need to evacuate your neighborhood. Plan several escape routes for different contingencies.
- Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.
- Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.
- Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
For more information about hurricane preparedness, call the Citizens Information Line at (352) 343-9732 or log on to www.lakecountyfl.gov.
Lake County Hurricane Guide
Office: (352) 343-9609; Cell: (352) 455-0445