CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Since Cape Coral's Emergency Operations Center has gone up, the city's population has jumped dramatically. Because of that and because it also houses the fire department's headquarters, the building is going through an expansion, and makeover.
Fire Chief Timothy Hayes took us back through the EOC's addition which includes more office space, a smaller conference room and additional showers. Crews are also renovating the kitchen area and the backup 911 phone room.
"I think we're going to be very satisfied with this. It will give us the facility that we need to be able to get the job done," explained Chief Hayes.
While heading the fire department, Chief Hayes also takes on the title of Emergency Management Director and he knows if a hurricane threatens, the Cape has a lot of challenges.
"This is one of the hardest places in the United States to evacuate because of our unique characteristics here. Four-hundred-ten miles of canal, 122 square miles of city that we need to be able to get 160,000 residents-- we need to be able to get around and move around the Cape if we needed to during an evacuation," the Chief told us.
And besides making sure everyone has a plan in place before a major storm, Chief Hayes has this important message to pass along.
"We want to get the word out to everybody: please don't be complacent. Because you made it through one storm does not mean you're going to make it through another one. Every one is different," he said.