Helping Neighbors: FISH Program Spotlight: Hurricane Preparedness
Hurricane Season. It’s hard to believe it’s here again and, although the last several seasons have been quiet, the 2017 season should not be taken lightly. Hurricanes are not an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ scenario. Each and every one should prepare annually by making an evacuation plan, gathering emergency supplies, and creating lists of contacts and medicine.
The F.I.S.H. Hurricane Preparedness Program helps the community by providing a detailed resource packet full of information on where to go, what to do, and how to prepare, in the event of an approaching storm. The program is a collaborative effort between FISH, City officials and emergency management teams to assist with the safety of our neighbors. Each year, FISH and a team of volunteers verify evacuation routes, flood zones and hotels with generators to update their resource packet. Packets are generally available by the end of May at the FISH Walk-In Center.
“The purpose of our program is two-fold,” states Committee Chair Sharon Thomas. “First and foremost, we want to make sure everyone in the community has reliable information on hand in case we get a storm. Just knowing what to pack and where to go can help alleviate stress and confusion during an emergency situation.”
“Additionally, FISH maintains a list of those most vulnerable such as our elderly, those with health and medical conditions, and those who are alone,” continues Maggie Goldsmith, Committee Co-Chair. “This list, our ‘Active List’, contains detailed information about health conditions, out-of-state contacts, and the individual’s emergency plan. We share this, with the individual’s consent, with Sanibel Police Department, Sanibel and Captiva Fire Departments, Lee County Sheriff, Community Housing Resources, Lee County Emergency Management, Lee County Shelter and Special Needs, and out-of-state family members, so that everyone is in the know, should a storm become a concern for our area.”
The FISH Hurricane Preparedness Program is not only valuable to our residents, but also to their families. Should a storm approach, committee members will gather at F.I.S.H. to reach out to those on the ‘Active List’ to confirm their emergency plans and to make sure they are safe. FISH will relay this information to out-of-state relatives, giving them peace of mind that their loved ones are prepared. Should the islands be evacuated, FISH will, to the extent possible, keep track of those on their ‘Active List’ until their return after the storm.
FISH Hurricane Resource Packets are available at the Walk-In Center, 2430-B Periwinkle Way, Mon.-Fri. from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Home visits may be arranged for those who would like more detailed discussion on how to prepare. If you, or someone you know, would like additional information on the FISH Hurricane Preparedness Program, contact Maggie Goldsmith at (239) 472-4775.