Seniors prepare after devastating hurricane season

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 5:06 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Coming off of a hurricane season that left lots of Florida’s Gulf Coast devastated, Suncoast residents and especially seniors are taking hurricane preparedness a lot more seriously this year.

Hundreds of people came to the Senior Friendship Center in Venice on Thursday to learn how to best prepare for a natural disaster.

After Hurricane Ian struck Florida last September and took the lives of nearly 150 people, the sense of urgency is much higher this year.

“I knew after Ian hit that we were going to have a hurricane preparedness event this year to better equip our community with the necessary tools they would need ahead of time,” says Tammy Heller, senior center manager at SFC.

With many of the deaths from Hurricane Ian being people over the age of 65, Jodel Velarde and the SFC are implementing a new approach called C.A.N. this year to help seniors be as prepared as possible.

“So C is about communication. You can communicate your plan to people. And then A is about assembling. Assembling your hurricane kits, assembling your lists, and this is what the event is all about. Lastly is N, Neighbors. You have to know your neighbors because you can’t just come in during the hurricane and say ‘Hi can you help me,’” Velarde says, who is the marketing manager for SFC.

This new acronym is meant to help people like Debbie, who was stuck without water and electricity for over 11 days after Hurricane Ian came through.

Debbie has advice on how to prepare for the worst.

“Just pretend you are living out in the woods somewhere and nobody is going to help you. So get your food put away, get your batteries stocked up, get your candles stocked up. Whatever you need to survive without anybody’s help, at least for two weeks,” she says.

The Senior Friendship Center emphasizes the importance of getting prepared right now, and to use them as a resource if you need any help during a disaster this year.