Irma Plus One: Manatee County EOC ready to help victims of Hurricane Florence

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MANATEE- While Hurricane Florence batters down on the Carolina coast, the Manatee County Emergency Operations Center is preparing to send crews to assist.

45 years in Public Safety in Manatee County Steve Litschauer has seen his fair share of Hurricanes.

“I’ve personally responded as far back as Hurricane Andrew in 1992 to almost every out of county response in Florida from Hurricane Charlie, Opal, Wilma and even Hurricane Katrina,” said Litschauer.

Although Hurricane Florence is not threatening Florida, Manatee County is actively watching and participating in a state wide briefing.  Twice a day they have a meeting with the National Hurricane centers and other partners, preparing for when they will have to deploy to the Carolina Coast.

“Basically it’s a list the state is putting together so when those resources are needed then everything is ready to go, said Litschauer. “Rather than looking for who can go what can go cause its more than an initial response it’s will have to go on for weeks and possibly
months.”

Litschauer says he  knows the toll Hurricane Florence  can take on first responders and emergency personnel.

“Days or weeks out I kiss my wife goodbye and tell her I’ll see you when. I don’t know. So whether you are in emergency management or fire or law enforcement you leave days and days before the storm, you don’t know when you are going to return you don’t know the safety of your family. But then you are obligated to do your job and concentrate on what you can do for the citizens you are serving,” said Litschauer.

The county is reviewing plans and testing equipment, and Litchchauer says if another Hurricane threatens Florida, they are ready.

“Manatee county is prepared whether one of the storms comes this way or if we get a call to assist someone else.”

 

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