Monday, August 18, 2008


This fickle thing called Fay

I have lived in South Florida for thirty years. I have been through hurricanes. No two are alike. I have approached hurricanes on a personal level, until recently. In my position as Town Clerk for the Town of Fort Myers Beach, I become, the Public Information Officer..(PIO) within the Incident Command System (ICS). This system is required by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) in order for municipalities to get federal aid…aka…reimbursement.

Isn’t government such Alphabet Soup!!?! Acronyms acronyms!!

Friday afternoon, the boss sent an e-mail alerting key personnel to be available by cellphone throughout the weekend.

Saturday morning, the boss called and said I needed to be in the office at 10:30 Sunday morning.

Sunday morning, we were in standup mode.

We had a staff meeting today (Monday) at 8:00 AM. A Town Council meeting at 9:00 AM, to declare a state of local emergency. A “division commander” meeting at 10:00 AM ( I loved this! This is where the “men in uniform” come in… the fire chief, the police captain…haha! And the police guys “touch their guns” when they make statements! (and the fire chief has chewing tobacco in a can..yuck!”)

My role was pretty much to contact the county EOC (acronyms, again…that would be: Emergency Operations Center), establish a communication with the county PIO (that would be, public information officer) and scribe advisories, alert the media, etc. We (as a municipality) are committed to ‘speak with one voice” and so squelching the staff members who feel empowered when approached by the media was a constant housekeeping function,.

I put out advisories on our web site, (if you’d like to see my work: ) on our phone system: 239 765 0202, our hurricane hotline: 239 765 0919 extension 140, and we have a system called Code Red, that auto dials all FMB residents who have registered a phone number with us, to receive a recorded message regarding an emergency situation.

Dr. Steve Lyons is on the weather channel. I love him. He’s the best. Fay is a fickle thing, for sure. The 8:00 advisory has little wind, not too much storm surge… a heep of rain, maybe, but I think we’re outta the woods….

We dodged another one….

So far, so good!

P.S.:  Just for <<fun>>  ! read this:

and realize how crazy storm tracking really is....

welcome to my world....




No comments: