Sarasota and Manatee county emergency managers prepare for hurricane season

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Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2014 5:29 pm

BRADENTON, Fla. - The 2014 hurricane season officially starts June 1st and runs through November. Thursday, Sarasota and Manatee County emergency managers took part in hurricane drills today to get ready for whatever this season has in store.

The National Weather Service is forecasting eight to 13 tropical storms this year with three to six of the storms turning in hurricanes.

“Any section of our coast line can be hit by a severe tropical storm and one storm, whatever the probabilities are, one storm can wreak tremendous havoc,” said Dr. Katherine Sullivan, Administrator of NOAA.

Approximately 180 people filled the Manatee County Emergency Operations Center on Thursday to participate in a hurricane drill. The goal is to make sure if a severe storm does wreak havoc on the Suncoast, county officials will be ready to respond.

“What this actually helps us do even though it is a table top exercise, it is a matter of face time with each other, comparing each others plans from all the different agencies and jurisdictions,” said Don Hermey, Manatee County Emergency Management Chief.

With multiple agencies working together in one room, everyone can work together for the common good of the community.

“The role is really to develop partnerships. Make sure we have good synergies with everyone,” said Hermey.

“We can't drill enough, I wish we could do a drill every week,” said Ed McCrane, Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief.

Sarasota County Emergency Management officials also held a hurricane drill in their Emergency Operation Center located in the county administration building in downtown Sarasota.

“We can stay in this building for everything up to a category two hurricane or a hurricane that produces less than 13 feet of storm tide,” said McCrane.

Construction of the new Sarasota County Emergency Operation Center is underway and is being built on county owned property near I-75. The 18.6 million dollar structure is being built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.

State and county emergency management agencies are doing what they need to do to make they are ready and prepared to respond should a hurricane hit our area but we as residents also need to be ready. One way we can help get prepared is by picking up a disaster planning guide provided by our local county emergency management agencies.

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