Thoughts and Prayers...

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Thoughts and Prayers….While Sumter County escaped the wrath of Hurricane Irma, our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives have been forever changed.

As Hurricane Irma’s path almost changed daily until landfall, preparation was ongoing by Emergency Operation Centers, First Responders, and other Public Safety Officers.  History has taught us to prepare for the worst and pray for the best.  In Sumter County, after three consecutive natural disasters, (an ice storm, 1,000 year flood, and Hurricane Matthew) we now have what I call “Team Experience”.  As I observed the path of Hurricane Irma at the Emergency Operation Center, I saw the same familiar faces of previous events, led by the same Emergency Management Director, Erik Hayes.  While relatively new in his current position, Erik has already been through three major disaster events.  These events have positioned Erik with a keen view of what things we can control and what things we would have to adjust as the storm approached.

I take this opportunity to thank the following who played a significant role and did a wonderful job preparing Sumter for Hurricane Irma:  (1) all of our leadership staff for the County, City, and Red Cross; (2) the City and County Communications Staff members who really organized a systematic, functional message through every media available.  Social media and web messages kept the public informed throughout the hurricane.  Followers from Sumter and around the country were able to learn accurate up-to-date information about their families and loved ones who may have been in danger.  Technological advances in weather information also played a big part in this event; (3) Detective John Melton with the Sumter Police Department for his prior experience as a military weather meteorologist.  He was able to use his knowledge and training to interpret natural weather information, graphs, and software to help explain patterns as they developed in our area; and (4) to all the other public service employees and volunteers who contributed in so many different ways as well as maintenance crews, road crews, and administrative staffs.

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