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SWFL Fire and EMS crews prepare for potential storm effects

Fire and EMS teams are getting ready should Hurricane Dorian put Southwest Florida in danger. We spoke to local districts in our region, where crews are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

Charlotte County Fire/EMS at Station 9 is ready to respond should any emergency come up. The station is making medical emergencies a big priority.

“If you plan on hunkering down, make sure you have enough medical supplies,” Lt. Michael McNeeley said.

McNeeley said he and his crews are stocking up on medical supplies in case anyone becomes sick during the storm.

“Post storm, it may be extremely difficult to get any of those medical supplies,” said Chief Ben Bengston with South Trail Fire & Rescue District in Lee County.

Bengston said his station has stocked up on food, water and rescue supplies.

But if the storm gets bad, Bengtson’s fire district — along with other crews across Southwest Florida —might have to wait out the wind and the rain until it’s safe. And these first responders have an important message if there is a loss of power.

“We stress this every hurricane season: Keep the generators outside.” Bengston said.

The fumes produced by a generator can cause death.

“We absolutely take it serious,” Bengston said. “We’re here to protect the citizens and our staff.”

If the storm gets any closer, fire departments say they will go through the steps to harden stations, putting up hurricane shutters and making sure they’re kept safe while they work to keep people safe.

Fire and EMS teams also told us they generally begin to limit the calls they respond to once tropical storm conditions are in the area, and often stay put once winds get above 45 mph to stay safe.

“We’re prepared to do our job,” Mcneeley said. “And we want to make sure we can do that.”

Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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