Seminole County holds hurricane exercise, preparing for the start of hurricane season

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Hurricane season starts on Thursday and Seminole County officials are busy preparing for the next storm.

Many residents who live on Lake Harney and the surrounding areas were stranded after the severe flooding caused by Hurricane Ian.

Now, county officials are working on preparations with the hope that never happens again.

On Wednesday, Seminole County Emergency Management held its annual Hurricane Exercise.


Hundreds of employees, all from different agencies, were on hand for the annual exercise. These exercises are used to simulate how employees would respond to situations in a tropical event.

“We believe it’s incredibly important to not just preach planning and preparedness but to do it,” said Emergency Management chief administrator Alan Harris. “That’s why we have 5 exercises this year.”

During Wednesday’s exercise, safety leaders shared how they plan to keep their men and women safe, while also keeping the community safe.

The Seminole County sheriff said they are prepared to utilize high-wind and military-grade vehicles during and after storms, as well as anti-crime units.

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“When you leave your prized possessions, your home, your valuables, we are increasing the presence of law enforcement activity within those areas,” said Sheriff Dennis Lemma.

Those evacuation areas could also benefit from two new trucks added to the Seminole County Fire Department’s fleet.

“They’re military-style vehicles. Much higher water capabilities and the capacity is more than double,” said SCFR Chief Matt Kinley.

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The American Rescue Plan Act funds paid for the trucks, with a price tag of a little more than $500,000.

Whether the next storm brings a lot of rain or a lot of wind the county wants to be prepared no matter what.

“Every single hurricane is different. Little wobbles matter, that’s another thing we learned. A little bit of an adjustment in the forecast can make the difference between a direct hit or a slight miss,” Harris added.

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