(Editor’s note: The Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District Community Emergency Response Team runs a disaster preparedness series for islanders.)
Eviction notices are mandatory, so if there is an eviction notice you are strongly encouraged to evacuate. Emergency services may not be available to assist you until long after the event.
Take precautions after the storm has passed. The damage to your home and municipality can be extensive. It can take several days for relief supplies to arrive.
Keep these tips in mind:
• Only call 112 in life-threatening situations.
• Apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster relief as soon as it becomes available.
• Keep an eye on the local media for information about re-entry.
• Follow Lee County Public Safety on social media.
• Sign up for Alert Lee www.AlertLee.com.
• Provide a valid ID if necessary for return.
• Avoid downed cables and standing water. Assume all downed electrical wires are live.
• If it is necessary to drive, avoid weakened roads, bridges, power lines or tree branches that could collapse unexpectedly.
• Call utilities to report hazards such as broken gas or water lines, failed power lines, or overturned gas tanks.
• Turn off your home’s main power switch if the power goes out.
• Photograph and record all damage and make any necessary temporary repairs.
• Repair open holes in your roof and place buckets under leaks inside to prevent additional water damage.
• Obtain a valid provincial building permit from a contractor. Do not sign a contract if they are not licensed or pay for services before the work is completed.
• Report suspicious contractors or unfairly high prices to authorities.
• Beware of wild or domestic animals. Even if you know an animal, it can be scared or hurt and can be dangerous.
Extreme caution is required when using a generator. While convenient and useful, generators can pose hazards to homeowners and electricians.
• Turn generators on outside with adequate ventilation.
• Do not connect a generator to a home outlet or circuit breaker panel to avoid backfeeding.
Tune in to news or social media for official instructions. Emergency Management has a list of hazards to assess and a Family Emergency Plan that can be found at www.leegov.com/hurricane and in the LeePrepares app.
REMINDER: Keep an eye on the local media for information about re-entry. It may take some time for the local authorities to clear the area to ensure you can return safely.