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Lessons learned on Fort Myers Beach: Hurricane Irma

May 18, 2018
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

It was Fort Myers Beach Fire Chief Matt Love's first time facing a hurricane.

But, the experience was similar to the wildfire campaigns he faced in Colorado in terms of the sense of tension, he said.

"This, you're just waiting," he said. "It's not rapid."

He learned after this storm that next time, it's a good idea to divide up the department's assets among multiple locations in case one place should get hit by a hurricane. He also wants to make sure to leave a reserve fire truck on the beach. If both bridges were to be compromised, it would take a while to be able to get a truck back to the island.

One of the most important things that went right for the fire department was giving its employees the time early on to prep their homes and prepare their families for evacuation.

"People are thinking about their house and family, but our guys have to do both," Love said. "We gave them a window. Allowing that time, they could come to work and focus."



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