Networking in blue skies, working in grayWow! Twenty weeks have come and gone since this past January when we published our first installment of this series. I hope you, the public, have enjoyed reading about preparedness and taken at least some of it to heart. The goal was to educate, embrace and incorporate the citizens of DeSoto County and to emphasize the importance of teamwork in disaster management. We at DeSoto County Emergency Management believe that each of you are a part of our team. We can’t do our job if you don’t do yours… Prepare, have a plan, and get a kit.

Two weeks ago emergency managers from all over the state, nation and a few foreign countries made their annual pilgrimage to West Palm Beach to participate in training, workshops, and meetings at the Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference (GHC), one of the largest gatherings of its kind in the world and renowned for its training programs and professional networking capabilities. Its timing, just before hurricane season, is by design. This gathering allows emergency managers to reset our minds and get into a hurricane season state of mind. Additionally, it allows them to renew old connections and create new ones with the professionals from all parts that may respond to help them in the event of a disaster. In emergency management, relationships are the key to successful operations.

Speaking of getting into the hurricane season state of mind, our annual Hurricane Seminar and Community Services Expo is quickly approaching. June 4 is the date to mark on your calendar and the doors at the Turner Center will open to the public at 5:30 p.m. Once again, Jim Farrell with WINK News will be there to greet you and offer his expertise on the upcoming hurricane season. Additionally, there will be over two dozen other vendors and agencies on hand with a variety of information to share, all free of charge. For questions or more information about all the emergency management programs available in DeSoto County, please call 863-993-4831, or email eoc@desotobocc.com.

Did you know you can get emergency alerts by email, text or directly to your phones by signing up for “DeSoto Alerts,” a free service provided by DeSoto County Emergency Management, on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DesotoEM/. Click on the blue SIGN UP button to register and “like” our page while you are there.

Remember, the 2019 hurricane season starts this Saturday. It’s not too late to start your preparations, because disasters of all types can occur at any time. If you haven’t already, it’s time to hit the store. Here is the final week’s shopping list for your kit. Remember, shopping lists are just a guide. Please adjust to your family’s needs.

Brian Newhouse is EM Coordinator for DeSoto County Emergency Management

Week 20Things to do:

Photocopy important documents and store safely.

Items to purchase:

Waterproof plastic container with lid for important papers.

Extra batteries for flashlights and radio.

Non-electrical phone

Deck of cards

Game books and pens/pencils

Extra hearing aid batteries (if needed)

Two-week supply food and water for pets (if needed)

Pet treats and toys (if needed)

1 gallon water (per person)

1 can meat

1 can ready-to-eat soup and/or pastas

1 can vegetables

1 box quick energy snacks

1 box dry cereal

Extra prescription medication

This list was adapted from a series by Candi Kelly, Manatee County Emergency Management

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