Sunday, August 15, 2004

Some Problems At Emergency Management?

LABELLE, FL. (Aug. 15, 2004) -- There were some feathers ruffled and the
potential for disaster at the Emergency Operations Center as Hurricane
Charley sped northwest of LaBelle Friday afternoon.
As power went off in downtown LaBelle, it was discovered someone in charge
of emergency preparedness had neglected to test back up power at the
Emergency Operations Center and at the "special needs" public storm shelter
on SR29. Both buildings were off line for 45 minutes and 60 minutes
respectively when power went out in downtown LaBelle Friday afternoon. A
volunteer at the Emergency operation center was amazed when the electric
went out and found that there was no back up power for the computers and
emergency radios at the center. He said he had to go outside to his truck
to hook up a radio to his vehicle's power to operate his radio for about an
In Glades county, the Emergency Management office reportedly did not want
to officially authorize volunteer ham radio communication specialists to
help with Glades county's emergency operations. Amateur radio (ham)
operators around the country are trained for and members of national
emergency communications organizations, and have FCC licenses allowing them
to provide emergency communications to officials during times of special
need. At the Glades emergency shelter in Muse, electric went out and
communication was lost all except for a lone amateur radio volunteer who
was able to use his radio to communicate with Hendry's emergency
communication amateur radio operator Walt Weiland in the Hendry emergency
operations center. Weiland was able to relay the electric outage problem
message to Glades emergency officials in Moore Haven through the Hendry
operations center.
Traditionally, the Emergency Management director job and staff in Hendry
and Glades have been very low paying positions. Personnel tend to not stay
long, moving on to better paying jobs quickly. Perhaps county commissioners
need to take a look at this important position and provide needed funds and
support for the job.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:58 PM

    I suppose this "someone in charge" will continue to be in charge. This is a good example of why you are really on your own in an emergency around here. Workers are so lax it's unbelievable.
    By the way, it rained cats and dogs this afternoon and everywhere it is pretty well flooded. Maybe the mayor will someday learn to put her many employees to work cleaning out the culverts so it can run off to where it should, rather than have them constantly prettying up the parking lot around the civic center (her front yard).