April 2021

We're get ready for the 2021 hurricane season. They'll be an organization-wide activation exercise, and we're putting the final touches on our first virtual Hurricane Prep seminar for 2021.

From the top

Thank you! April 18 marks the beginning of National Volunteer Appreciation Week. The entire LWR CERT Board of Directors join me in thanking of members for their dedication and service to the Lakewood Ranch community through their volunteer efforts with LWR CERT. Over the past year, more than 100 LWR CERT members have volunteered hundreds of hours of service to our community -- during a pandemic. They are an amazing group of volunteers; if you see one of our members around, be sure to thank them for their service.

A Hurricane in April?
It looks like the storm season may start early this year -- but only for LWR CERT members! Our Operations Committee is planning a simulated hurricane in April that will help us exercise our activation processes. More information below.

Board Update
One of our Board members, John Rocco, has moved into a new home, just north of SR-70. Our Bylaws require that all Board members must live in Phase I of LWR, so John has resigned his seat on our Board. John is committed to CERT and plans to stay an active member. We thank him for his service on our Board, and we look forward to seeing him at future CERT events.
Jim Emanuelson
President, LWR CERT
March 29 Member Meeting: How hurricane proof is your home? Tips to help mitigate damage from a major storm
We've heard lots of great feedback from the 70+ members who attended the March 29 Member meeting which featured two speakers from Manatee County Building & Development Services. Thanks to Liaison Deb Devin for helping us connect to these two local subject experts.

According to Sam Acosta, Manatee County Construction Review Inspections Manager, it wasn't until March 2002 that the Florida Building Code superseded local building codes. Homes built in our area before 2004 were not required to meet wind-borne debris speeds above 120. By 2010, homes in Manatee County were required to be built for wind speeds from 140 - 150. Sam suggests protecting openings from wind and water intrusion is one of the most important hurricane preparations a homeowner can take.
Tom Wooten, Manatee County Code Enforcement Field Supervisor, presented Expedited Preliminary Damage Assessment after a storm. A home is considered to have minor damage if it is damaged and may be uninhabitable, but the damage is not structural in nature. Major damage exists when a home has sustained structural or significant damage, is uninhabitable and requires extensive repairs. Manatee County officials recently upgraded to iPads with GIS mapping to record storm damage instead of filling out paper forms.

Discussion about steps to take before and after a hurricane included:
  • Document everything
  • Take full inventory of your property before and after a storm
  • After a storm, take photos and videos documenting the damage
  • Start with the exterior, checking each side and the roof
  • Move inside and take photos of each room
  • After a storm, take steps to prevent further damage
  • Use tarps and plywood -- rolls of plastic sheeting are convenient and easy to store before a storm
  • File an insurance claim immediately after a storm, as soon as you have documented the damage
  • Use licensed contractors to repair damage -- unlicensed contractors who perform work after a storm may be charged with a felony. The unlicensed contractor hotline is 941.749.3084.

Both speakers generously agreed to share their contact information with our readers.
Sam Acosta may be reached at 941.748.4501 x3932 or samuel.acosta@mymanatee.org
Tom Wooten may be reached at 941.748.2071 or tom.wooten@mymanatee.org
Member Exclusive: For the first time ever, the Member Meeting was recorded and uploaded to the LWR CERT YouTube channel. The video is not visible through searches or to the public. Members can only access a recording of the meeting on our YouTube channel by clicking here or on the image of the video.
Operations Committee plans 2021 Activation Exercise
The Operations Committee, under the leadership of Manager Dave Cashbaugh, is in the final planning stages of this year's Activation Exercise.

They predict an early storm will hit LWR Phase 1 sometime mid-April. When the storm is within striking distance, LWR CERT will communicate with all members, just as it would during an actual storm event.

Members should respond to the email and text notifications as if a real storm were approaching. Due to continuing pandemic considerations, the 2021 Activation Exercise will be remote only, with no physical assembling of teams.
Members who participate in the Activation Exercise will earn credit toward 2021 Active Responder Tier 2 status. Active Responder Tier 1 car stickers and Tier 2 backpack enhancer awards will be provided to Team Captains during Team Kit pick up on May 22 for distribution to their qualified team members.
May 6 Member Meeting provides review of Activation Exercise and explores Animals in Disaster
The next Member Meeting is set for Thursday, May 6 at 7 PM.

In addition to a review of the April Activation Exercise and lessons learned, the meeting will also feature a guest speaker, Dr. Terry Clekis, Medical Director and Co-Owner of Braden River Animal Hospital. Dr. Clekis will discuss "Animals in a Disaster." He is currently working with the Manatee County Emergency Management Operations Center and Steve Litschauer on dealing with animals during a disaster.
March 23 Team Captain Workshop detailed TC roles
Team Captains logged in to their March 23 virtual workshop ready to hear details of their role during the year and the upcoming hurricane season. In addition to refreshing their skills, they also discussed ways they could better communicate and meet with their team members.

Did you know that "Team Captain" is not an official FEMA designation
and that Team Captains and Team Kits are unique to LWR CERT?

Attendees were guided through the updated LWR CERT website, with emphasis on information in the member section that is available to help teams perform at their best.
Upcoming Public Event:
Hurricane Prep: Keep Your Home and Family Safe
The first of this year's public Hurricane Preparedness educational sessions is set for Wednesday, May 26 beginning at 7 PM and will be virtual. Registration is required to receive log-in information.

Register at lwrcert.org/events

This is a free virtual event open to the public. Sharing the registration website information with family, friends and neighbors is encouraged.

This year's Hurricane Prep session has been updated to include information about 2020 hurricanes and the pandemic's continuing impact on preparations. Thank you to Pat Knowles for agreeing to return as the featured speaker.

The public Hurricane Prep session is a 2021 Active Responder qualifying event.
Emergency Radio Communications Network Quarterly Test
On March 13, the Radio Communications Committee (RCC) led a test of the LWR CERT Emergency Radio Communication Network. This was the first time all LWR CERT hub radio operators and Group Leaders were invited to participate in a broad radio test. The good news: 19 of our 21 teams were able to make radio contact and pass a message to our Incident Commander.
The RCC practices quarterly to prepare to help with vital radio communications in an emergency. The importance of the LWR CERT Emergency Radio Communications Network was emphasized at our January Member Meeting when NWS's Daniel Noah noted that following Hurricane Irma, most of Port Charlotte had no phone communication (landline or cell) for 3 days!

The Radio Communications Committee is currently seeking new members. You do not need to have a ham radio license to join the RCC. Radio communications can be very important after a storm. LWR CERT provides radio equipment to RCC members.
Member News and Things to Know
Happy April birthday to members Sam Mallis, Rick Ortiz, Greg Stratakes, Bob Thompson and Tony Vertuca.

Thanks to Pat Knowles and Brenda Nusbaum for attending meetings with Sarasota County Emergency Management officials to discuss hybrid Basic Training options. Pat has agreed to serve as a trainer during an upcoming Sarasota County hybrid Basic Training session and will bring his experience back to LWR CERT.

Thanks to Deb Diven and Jim Emanuelson for working with Trailer Estates CERT to start definition of standard Situation Reporting for CERT-based radio communications in Manatee County during an activation.

Get well wishes to both Karen Lemley and Larry Lemley. These two long-time members are working through health issues and would appreciate your thoughts and support.

Congratulations to Jim Emanuelson, who has completed several FEMA courses including 800 (National Response Framework) and IS 100 (Introduction to the Incident Command Structure).

Team Captains - Save the Date. Team Kit Pick Up has been set for Saturday, May 22 from 9 - 10:30 AM at the new storage facility.
Volunteer Opportunities
In light of the Board's recent expansion of the LWR CERT Mission Statement to include providing safety support for our community, we are sharing individual volunteer opportunities our members may wish to consider.

Local Feeding Events - Feeding Tampa Bay
  • Manatee County Mega Pantry: Every Tuesday 3 - 6 PM (feed 900+ families) Location: Desoto Mall, Hungry Howie's side, 303 301 Blvd W, Bradenton 34205 
Have a volunteer opportunity you'd like to share in an upcoming newsletter? Email details and links to: Communications@LWRCERT.org
Upcoming LWR CERT Meetings and Training
Meetings take place virtually unless otherwise noted and are open to all members

Communications/15th Anniversary Planning Committee - Video Call - Tuesday, April 6 at 4 PM
Operations Committee - Video Call - Thursday, April 8 at 6 PM
Board Meeting - Video Call - Monday, April 12 at 7 PM
National Volunteer Week - April 18 - 24
Radio Communications Committee - Video Call - Wednesday, April 21 at 7 PM
Member Meeting - Virtual - Thursday, May 6 at 7 PM
Team Kit Pick Up - Saturday, May 22 9-10:30 AM
LWR CERT Executive Committee

President - Jim Emanuelson
Vice President - Jan Kuhn
Treasurer - Pat Knowles
Liaison - Deb Diven

LWR CERT 941.404.8606
Newsletter Editor - Karen Emanuelson, Communications Manager

Thanks to Diane Anderson for proofreading our newsletters.

Send comments, suggestions, and photos for future issues to communications@lwrcert.org
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