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FEMA To Test Cape Coral's Hurricane Readiness

Jessica Meszaros

The Federal Emergency Management Agency  is in Cape Coral this week. The city was one of 18 selected in the country for a natural disaster simulation.  Cape Coral will suffer a mock Category 5 hurricane.

FEMA is looking at the city's emergency preparedness, plans and procedures. It wants to use that information to create a hurricane-based scenario designed specifically for the city.

Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki says the last hurricane to hit Southwest Florida was more than ten years ago, and she wants her Emergency Management staff to be prepared.

"This is lifesaving training that will help us to really react quicker and respond to the needs of our residents," said Sawicki. 

Cape Coral has about 400 miles of canals and is surrounded by water on three sides. FEMA training specialist Paul Ganem says the city’s application was selected because it had a compelling case.

"There’s been some personnel changes, and they have a new facility and they want to test that facility," said Ganem about the city's new emergency operation center. 

He said FEMA will be back in August to begin the training and, ultimately, test Cape Coral’s emergency reaction skills. Ganem said where exactly the mock hurricane will hit will be a surprise. 

Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of Morning Edition at WUSF Public Media, and former reporter and host of All Things Considered for WGCU News.
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