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Holmes Beach prepares, fire district ready for Isaac

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

Tyler Pearson, 12, holds a sandbag for friend Zack Fernandez, 11, while grandfather John Fernandez, center, and son Fernandez use teamwork to fill sandbags in the parking lot at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

Holmes Beach city and West Manatee Fire Rescue district officials prepared last week for the worst and hoped for the best in the forecast of Tropical Storm Isaac.

According to building inspector Bob Shaffer, the city was asking contractors, real estate agents and anyone having signs on the rights of way and other property to remove them because of the potential for objects turning into projectiles in high winds.

He said code enforcement officer David Forbes was sending out emails to those likely to have such signs.

The building department also was monitoring work sites to ensure all construction materials and equipment were adequately secured, he said.

Most people are compliant, he said, but if items remained on work sites Monday, Shaffer said the city would remove and place those items in its storage shed.

“Other than that, we sit and wait, and hope for the best,” Shaffer said.

Public works staff delivered several loads of sand to the city hall parking lot, where residents were filling fill bags.

Sandbags were available from the police department — 10 free bags were being offered to residents.

“We’re prepared. We’ve been prepared long before this weekend,” Star McNatt, cashier at the Home True Value Hardware Store, Holmes Beach, said Aug. 25.

“The power’s going to go out at one time or another,” she predicted.

McNatt said people were buying lots of batteries, flashlights, lanterns and candles and the store had run out of one type of battery-powered lamp.

West Manatee Fire Rescue Chief Andy Price attended the Manatee County Emergency Operations Center briefing Aug. 24 related to TS Isaac.

He hoped weather projections at the briefing would hold up and the storm path would veer west of Manatee County. Price said he expects heavy rain and high winds, but not a local landfall.

“We’ve already done our preparations,” he said.

In June, WMFR district commissioners unanimously approved a new West Manatee Fire Rescue District Hurricane Plan, updating a 10-year-old plan to reflect changes in state and county emergency preparedness plans to handle emergencies more efficiently and effectively.

The plan includes incident planning and detailed check lists, and updated resource lists for emergency supplies and agencies, such as the American Red Cross and all Manatee County fire departments and emergency management services.

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