By Diana Colson
MAY MINUTES: Approved as written.
- Sheriff’s Office: Sgt. Chris Laster and Lt. D. Kaspar reported that there had been a small spike in vehicular burglaries over Memorial Day. Most were crimes of opportunity with windows “cracked” and wallets and loose change stolen. There were also a couple of disturbances involving alcohol and the use of marijuana.
During the past month, there were 370 calls on Siesta Key, the majority due to burglar alarms going off. In many cases, the alarm company succeeded in locating the owners before the Sheriff’s Office had to respond. Lt. Kaspar urged residents to keep their key-holder information accurate, and to be certain that contacts were tight on doors and windows.
There was one significant event: the drowning of a visitor from out-of-state. The tragic incident occurred at the Palm Bay Club. All emergency systems responded: lifeguards, fire department, Sheriff’s office, etc. A doctor was on the scene.
For July 4th, Siesta Key is planning its biggest fireworks in 25 years. The show will be held at the Public Beach, and will last for approximately 30 minutes. Audubon Society will be sending out volunteers to guard bird nests on the beach.
An audience member pointed out that many boaters were not observing the No-Wake law. He asked that a Reminder Sign for boats be placed at the mouth of the Grand Canal. Other audience members requested speed monitoring in the Village.
Of additional concern was the issue of excessive sound levels. Lt. Kaspar spelled out the procedures: Sheriff’s Office responds when called and gives a polite warning. If called back, their second warning would be more severe. A third warning would result in a citation. These call-backs do not have to all happen on the same night. This sequence of warnings is valid for a period of 30 days.
- Code Enforcement: Susan Stahley was unable to attend. However, Michael Shay spoke highly of her approach to her new position. He said she was very proactive and would bring new energy to the Key. In the past Code Enforcement has been put into action by a complaint. Susan Stahley, however, is actively searching for Code Violations.
- UPDATES ON SARASOTA COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES, HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS:
- Edward J. McCrane, Jr., FPEM, Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief gave the presentation. He emphasized that Emergency Response may be delayed during a hurricane. Citizens must prepare to be completely self sufficient for at least 72 hours following a storm, preferably for up to a week. We live in a pretty good area when it comes to storms, but we must plan for worst case scenario. In the 1920’s and 40’s Sarasota was hit by several hurricanes. In 1960 along came Donna. In 1966, we were hit by Alma, and her outer band wreaked havoc on Sarasota. The 70’s and 80’s were quiet. In 1992, however, we had Hurricane Andrew, which was nurtured by El Nino—a situation similar to today.
The 2000’s spawned a series of hurricanes with names like Rita, Katrina, Dennis, Ivan, Jeanne, and Charley. In 2012, we were hit by Tropical Storm Debbie. The storm tide was extremely high and simply would not recede. 132 local homes were damaged. Boats were pushed up on shore in Sarasota Bay. Docks on Anna Maria were wiped out, and boats also damaged on Manasota Key. Just recently— on May 10 of 2015—along came Ana, caused by the warmer waters of El Nino. This storm came early, telling us to pay attention.
When warned of an impending storm, Ed McCrane urges we board up those windows and doors and get out of town. Don’t wait to evacuate! Storm surges arrive ahead of the storm and ahead of the winds, so if you wait for the hurricane to actually reach landfall, it may be too late.
Tornados are a big factor in hurricanes, and hundreds may form in the outer bands. Indeed, 250 tornados were generated in 2005. All Emergency Response must be accomplished before the arrival of Tropical Storm Force winds. Be in a safe place before the storm arrives. Get a NOAA Weather Radio which will alert you even when you are sleeping. It is important that Emergency Response has property appraisals because the county must first claim the amount of dollars lost in order to qualify for FEMA resources.
Edward McCrane urged that citizens take three actions: 1.) Get a kit put together. 2.) Make a plan. 3.) Stay informed. . You will need vaccination paperwork for your pets, food for them, and water for them. You will need your important documents safely stored in a waterproof container. Know the Evacuation Zone in which you live. (You can find this at www.SCGOV.net.)
Code Red is a data base of phone numbers that Emergency Service has been given to send out automatic calls. This data base has captured all the land lines in that area. However, if using a cell phone, you need to register it if you wish to receive Code Red notifications. That registration can be done at www.SCGOV.net.
Keep a full tank of gas. There are 19 generator powered gas stations in the county. Run from the water, and hide from the wind. If you go into a shelter, expect it to be like a lifeboat, not The Loveboat. Minimize calls during crisis. Use text messaging instead. Turn your water off at the main before you leave your home. Turn off any natural gas. You are not required to turn off electricity if needed for the alarm system. However, if you do turn it off, empty the refrigerator first.
SARASOTA COUNTY DISASTER PLANNING GUIDES are available at your public libraries, etc. They are loaded with valuable information.
The issue of insufficient parking was brought up again. Commissioner Mayo agreed that the parking problem was extraordinary, but Siesta Key was not alone in this problem. Every beach on the West Coast of Florida is overwhelmed by cars. Michael Shay advised that when confronted with illegal parking, citizens need to keep making phone calls to the police at their non-emergency number. The police need to receive more than one or two calls to go into action.
There will be no meeting in July of 2015. The next SKA Monthly Meeting will be held on Thursday, August 6th, at 4:30 PM.