The Great American Senior Show

Hurricane Season Update Ian Threatens Florida Safety Tips

September 24, 2022 Sam Yates Season 2 Episode 80
The Great American Senior Show
Hurricane Season Update Ian Threatens Florida Safety Tips
Show Notes Transcript

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey believes preparation is key to saving lives during Hurricane Season.  That is why this Special Episode of Hurricane Season Tips is being rebroadcast to help save lives. Please share and please stay safe. 

Sheriff Ivey joins your grey-haired host of the Great American Senior Show to explain how the Sheriff's Department seamlessly swing into action to protect property and lives when a tropical storm or hurricane threatens Florida

The tips and information presented by Sheriff Ivey are critical to the survival of every citizen. The Sheriff also has information about when and where to evacuate and how Brevard County is protected against criminals and looters during and after a natural disaster of any type.

Please listen and share this life saving information from Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey. 

Sam Yates:

Hello, everyone and welcome to another exciting edition of The Great American Senior Show. And I am fortunate enough to be back in Brevard County and you're raising the big question mark saying why? Well, because Brevard County Florida is a great place to live. It has awesome people. And one of the people that I have got to know very well just happens to be the Sheriff of Brevard County, Wayne Ivey, welcome back to the program.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey:

Thank you for having me, man love doing it.

Sam Yates:

And you know, I really want to stress to our audience that as your gray haired host, we like to make sure that seniors in particular are prepared for every eventuality, and you help do that. And it's much much appreciated. Which brings us to the topic of hurricane season, hurricane season last six months in Florida. And when the the hurricane warnings and the Tropical Storm watches and warnings go up, your department doesn't just take a break. You're very very active. What happens?

Sheriff Wayne Ivey:

Yeah, so you know, I mean, there's there's two dynamics that are working there, there's the the lead up to where, excuse me, where we're trying to make sure our citizens have everything they need to weather the storm, if you will. You know, if we're evacuating the barrier islands, of course, we're working with our partners from the different police departments and the Highway Patrol to get everybody safely out of those those low lying areas. So the first dynamic is building up to it is making sure that everybody has the preparedness, you know, they they always say that, if you show me a problem, I'll show you we're part of the solution is education and awareness. So the more informed you are, the more aware you are, the more prepared you are, you're going to you're going to be able to deal with any type of critical incident including a hurricane. The benefit to you know, people always talk about, oh, man, you have hurricanes in Florida, we do but you have days and sometimes weeks, knowing that that hurricane is going to near your proximity. Other areas in the Midwest and everywhere, they have tornadoes and those spring up instantaneously, and you have no way of being prepared. So the good news for us is on hurricane, we know it's coming, we can get prepared. And we also know it's a season. So we can we can get our citizens prepared with everything they need to deal with that. One of the things that we often tell our people as our citizens is, don't just look at yourself, look around you because you've got to be prepared to take care of you. batten down the hatches have the right supplies. The right thing is to sustain being without power for days, so many people have generators today, which really helps. But you also have to look at your pets as well. Do you have all of your medications do you have your pets, medications, plenty of dog food, cat food, whatever it may be. So that's, that's tier one. Tier Two is taking care of our own team. Because many of them are going to be displaced from their homes, often their spouse and children are left there to deal with themselves. Now we allow our, our team to bring their families with them to our precincts which are all very secure and, and weather structured. So but we make sure they're prepared. You know, the last thing we want as our team to be out here trying to help save lives and having to worry about their own family. So we make sure we cover each other in the different geography of Brevard County, then the storm hits. And you know, there are certain points in the storm where we're out trying to secure the area, we're out trying to make sure that everybody's you know, batten down, and then the winds start to pick up. And people don't realize this, but there are certain levels of wind that we will no longer respond in, we put our our units at risk our members at risk fire departments the same way. And so what happens is if you're in an evacuation area, and you don't heed the warning to evacuate, and the winds reached 70 miles an hour, and something happens, we can't get to you. I think the general rule of thumb is, once those winds reached sustained winds of 35 miles an hour, the fire department's not coming out anymore, and it's very difficult for us to get out. So you know, obviously we're going to do everything we can no matter what the conditions are to try and save lives. But when when we asked you to evacuate, we're asking you to evacuate not only to help protect you, but also because we can't get to you at that point. So you know when when the hurricane hits that that's probably the the downtime for our team because they're there in the precincts or they're in the structures. And we're waiting on it to come at the I generally we come out as quickly as we can assess what kind of damage we have right in our own immediate backyard. And then we wait for the second phase of the storm and once it's over. Now our teams out were looking for downed power lines. We're looking for flooding. People don't realize it but often in hurricanes, the most devastation comes from flooding, not the winds, but from actual flooding. We're looking for You know, people that are trapped, we're trying to look at our bridges, you know, especially the bridges that lead to the barrier islands. People want to get back to their homes, they want to get back to, you know, check on everything. We can't let you back across that causeway until we have validated that there's no down powerlines that the conditions are safe. And so a lot of behind the scenes working going on with our partners at our local municipalities, both Fire Rescue and law enforcement. To make sure all of that is taken care of Public Works is a big part of this, our Brevard County EOC. The team over there now that we have in place does an amazing job, and we have a great partnership with them.

Sam Yates:

And I have to give a big shout out to those folks as well. Not in recent years. But in previous years, I played a role with the American Red Cross and I had the I called it an opportunity to interact with EOC is all over the state because we wanted to give updates and status reports of what was going on. And the folks in the EOC sometimes they are the unrecognized heroes because they're there 24/7 They are literally wide awake the whole time

Sheriff Wayne Ivey:

they are they're supplying medical supplies. They're supplying food, water. Everything housing, you know, with with their portable housings and stuff. Our salvation army here has a great outreach arm on own critical incidents, they've got a full food truck everything else. And you know, one thing I will say going back years and years of doing this for 42 years now and being in hurricanes across the state across the country, for matter of fact, when you when you get to those Red Cross or the Salvation Army, and they have fried chicken fingers, man, that might be the best meal you've eaten in your lifetime, or at least it feels like it is right there.

Sam Yates:

It is when you see that. And it's it's really a nice thought you see those herbs, the emergency response vehicles coming down the street and people coming out of their houses because yay, somebody is helping us out. But I want to go back to the barrier islands for a moment and because you said two things and and from my experience, barrier islands. A lot of folks don't want to evacuate for fear that once they board up and the hurricane comes the looters are going to come and try to stock up. How do you get them off the island?

Sheriff Wayne Ivey:

Yeah, so you know, again, education and awareness. One of the mistakes when when Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi, I worked for the fire department of law enforcement at that time. And I I was the incident commander for Harrison County, Mississippi, which is Biloxi past Christianne Gulf port, that entire region. And one of the things that we found were, so many of the citizens didn't want to leave their homes, they they were worried about looters and everything else. And, and so they didn't, and those were the ones that were put in peril, and many of them lost their lost their lives. The second part of that is, some of them had lived through hurricanes before and thought this was just going to be another normal hurricane. And then of course, it was the devastating, catastrophic hurricane it became. So again, education and awareness technology is so dynamic today that we're able to predict with pretty good precision where that storm is going to come. When you look at the different models out there, sooner or later, they all align and give you a couple of days to prepare. So, you know, we try and again, educate our citizens as much as possible. But with with respect to the looters, we we are out patrolling to the very last moment that we can because as conditions deteriorate, we were looking for those type of things. Brevard County is a very unique County. We are one of the few counties in the state of Florida, that in the 10 years or nine years that I've been Sheriff, we've never during a hurricane had a curfew. And the reason for that is we ask our citizens to partner with us all the time. And when we ask our son they do we've lowered our crime rate because of our citizens partnership. So when we ask them to stay in place, they do it they know that we're asking them that for a good reason. And so we don't need a curfew we got good law abiding citizens that trust us to tell them when to come out and when to you know hunker down to those that might go out and do looting to those that might go out and do things they shouldn't they don't care if there's a curfew or not they're still going out so it's really the only person you're putting a curfew on is the person that's gonna listen to you anyway and so we don't do a curfew we go out and we patrol we put bad people in jail if you're trying to steal somebody's stuff. We're gonna we're gonna put you in a very safe place for the hurricane the Brevard County Jail.

Sam Yates:

And for the homeowners who are in their homes no matter where they are, they still have a right to defend their property. Absolutely.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey:

That you know your your right to defend yourself. Goes goes with you everywhere you go. And so whether you're at your home and somebody's trying to harm you, they're or you're at a hotel, and somebody's trying to harm you the right to protect yourself goes everywhere. You know, we always tell everybody, there's nothing in your house, except you and your pets that we can't replace, we replace your TV, we can replace everything, take those things, you know, as hurricane season starts coming up, put together your Go pack, put your precious pictures in there, your you know, artifacts, the things that you really couldn't replace, put them in your Go pack have them readily accessible. Again, the great thing about a hurricane is we have days and sometimes weeks to to make our movements,

Sam Yates:

I'll pass out a little tip that someone from law enforcement told me quite a number of years ago. And it was regarding people that did not want to evacuate. He actually had a magic marker, and a piece of plastic card. And he said here, write your name on this and put it in your pocket. So we'll be able to identify the next of kin. Yeah. And he said, that worked.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey:

Yeah, there's like, you know, in Katrina, so many of them didn't anticipate the flooding. And they literally found people in their attics that had drowned and people that had tried to had gone up in their attic and actually tried to chop through the wood in the shingles to, to escape. It was It was unbelievable that I've lived in Florida my whole life and saw the devastation of Hurricane Andrew. Man, I can go back in memory all the way to Dora, which a lot of people don't even know what I'm talking about. But it was it was brutal hurricane. But when when you look at Hurricane Katrina, it, it was it kind of wiggled at the last moment, it created an unbelievable wave and flood. I mean, literally, gambling barges were washed up a half mile on the shore. And so it gives you an idea of what what that looks like. The two things that stand out in my mind for me that Katrina and the type of devastation that one of these storms can produce is we went to where Walmart once was. And the only thing left in the Walmart, you could see all the way from the front of the store to the back of the store down the sides. The sidewalls were still up, the front of the store was gone in the back of the store was gone. And there was not a single piece of merchandise, or anything left in the store. It was found almost two miles down the road where the storm surge carried it gives you an idea of the devastation. The second thing that just stands out in my mind, is you would you drive down the coast where the big hotels were. And the only thing you would see are the the pads, the concrete pads where the hotels once were. And usually the only thing left standing, which I've always thought I don't think I would fit in one but I've always thought it might be a nice secure place. The only thing left standing were the industrial washer and dryers because they were bolted to the foundation. I always thought man if I had to I could get one of those but I really don't know if I'd fit in and I'm not sure I can tell you I would not I would say out of luck. Yeah. And then you know the other thing too that's that's odd about a storm if you haven't been on the on the surface were ones that is how it picks and chooses what it destroys. Yeah. And I've literally seen homes that were completely gone down to the Foundation, and the house next to it without a shingle blowed off the roof. I remember being in a park out in Biloxi. And the park was completely devastated. Everything was gone. The swings the air, I mean the bath houses, everything was gone. The only thing that was still standing in that park and the irony of this was Humpty Dumpty who was sitting on a wall and that was the only thing that was left there. So you know when when you when you look at how it picks and chooses it's pretty amazing

Sam Yates:

shelters. We in the past have had to worry about COVID but really one of the things that people tell me they worry about our sexual offenders in shelters, but there is a solution for

Sheriff Wayne Ivey:

that there is we have we have shelters that are designated specifically for sexual offenders they're not for families, they're nothing of that nature. So those those are very well highlighted on the the EOC site. If you're a registered sex offender that's where you go to that that shelter so same thing with pets there you know the shelters take the pets and we have great partners here The Kennel Club and others that you know allow us to store our pets our our Animal Care Center pets that we have up for adoption so There's there's a whole big dynamic movement that happens when these when these storms occur. And, you know, for me and and some of our team, we're out in the middle of it. I mean, I, some of our team actually physically come into the room that you and I are sitting in right now. And this is where they bed down. I'm usually out in the storm until I just can't be anymore. And then I make my way to, to my house and, and then as soon as I can get back out, Judy and I are in the truck, and we're going out to survey and see what's going on

Sam Yates:

Junebug is added now, before I move off of hurricanes, for those who want to find out more, they can go to a variety of websites. Sure.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey:

Yeah. You know, obviously, you can always go to our website Brevard sheriff.com. But the Brevard County Emergency Operations Center is really the the great source for information about hurricanes, hurricane preparedness. And as again, as I said, the staff that they have in place today, I think is second to none. I love working with

Sam Yates:

post hurricane. And we have people with tarps on and we have people from all over the state coming in to help. But in some cases, they're not here to help. And you take care of that by making sure that the right people are here, not the bad people.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey:

Right. And so you know, there's so many different vendors, contractors that come in, there's licensing procedures they need to go to to be able to work in that. You know, the first movement usually see coming in as the folks that are here to help restore power. And they come from all sorts from everything from F p&l to private contractors to explain to everybody that's coming in. And they usually all have their licensing and everything else on their trucks. The second wave that comes in are the ones that are offering to fix your roof, to you know, cut trees down and many of them are legitimate, truly here for the best intentions. Sadly, though, there are those that come here to rip people off. So our team immediately kicks into gear. Obviously, our Attorney General Ashley moody does a great job at helping fight, price gouging and helping fight fraud and all of those things. But our team is working at two. We're looking for fraudulent contractors, we're looking for those that are coming here to try and take advantage of people that are in harm's

Sam Yates:

way. One last question, and then I'm going to wrap up here. But if someone is evacuating, and they're passing through Brevard County, they run out of gas and they're on the interstate or even some of the local highways, what should they do?

Sheriff Wayne Ivey:

So you know, I mean, obviously always, you know, trying, if it's not an emergency, you know, try and call our local number and, and traffic is going to be thick, they're going to be people are moving everywhere. So you know, we'll, we'll get somebody out there to you. I always recommend, you know, having some type of automotive AAA, or whatever it is, that's going to be able to offer assistance to you. But keep in mind, those folks are busy too. And so the best way to avoid vehicle maintenance, is preventive maintenance. The best way to avoid an emergency is to prepare to not have an emergency. And so we, you know, we encourage everybody to do it. You know, the the other part of this too is a lot of people wait to the very last minute, yes. And then they're out there and they're stranded and you can't get to them, and they're stuck. And so don't wait to the last minute. Go into action right now to save your life, your family's life and your pets.

Sam Yates:

All good information and Sheriff, you have my promise that we are going to put this up on all of the podcast and if we have an incident where the hurricane is knocking on our door or tropical storm, whatever it is, we're going to make sure that we get this out over and over and over again because you're a resource and more importantly than just being a resource. You're saving lives and I think our citizens here in Brevard County and throughout the state need to know that you are here to protect

Sheriff Wayne Ivey:

them. Thank you, my friend and we appreciate the partnership with you and you getting this information out for us.

Sam Yates:

Thank you. My pleasure. And can you come back for another episode?

Sheriff Wayne Ivey:

Absolutely. Man, I'd love to you know anytime you want me man. We're working in

Sam Yates:

looking forward to it and until that episode, I'm Sam Yates, your gray haired host of the Great American Senior Show and that's the way our program ends.