Central Florida Hurricane Expo Hosted At Visitor Information Center
by James Coulter
Even amidst the COVID-19 crisis, local residents were able to learn about preparing for the upcoming hurricane season during the Central Florida Hurricane Expo 2020 on Saturday.
Hosted at the Central Florida’s Visitor Information Center in Davenport, the expo provided visitors with information about hurricane preparedness.
Several vendors from the Polk County Emergency Management (PCEM) and other local services and businesses offered hurricane shelter maps, hurricane preparation brochures and booklets, and other free items and samples for various products. The first 300 families to arrive that day were eligible to receive a free case of water (limited to one case per family).
The turnout for the event proved especially busy earlier in the morning, and safety precautions and measures were taken to ensure that visitors remained safe through social distancing and personal hygiene.
“It has certainly met our expectations,” said Jerri Kaplan, PCEM Planner. “It exceeded our expectations of [the] people we reached today.”
Kaplan served as a vendor for PCEM, offering maps and brochures about local hurricane shelters, especially for people with special needs and pets. They also offered information about documenting and insuring property from storm damage, and about services such as Alert Polk, the county’s free public safety notification system.
“Hurricanes are our major priority for PCEM,” she said. “We are preparing the county for disasters and events that can happen, and so with it being a hurricane expo, we thought it was important to be here to share information with the community.”
Hurricane season in Florida starts in August and runs through October. This year’s forecast predicts an “above average” hurricane season that currently sits “above the 30-year average”, according to data provided through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as reported by NBC Miami.
“They are expecting a more active hurricane season this year than what we had the last couple of years,” Kaplan said.
Other vendors that day promoted local products and services. One such product included Real Time Pain Relief, an Oklahoma-based distributor of skin conditioners, hand sanitizers, and other personal hygiene products.
Many of these products, especially hand sanitizers, are being provided for businesses, schools, churches, and small businesses opening back up, as these products are essential to help protect against COVID-19, explained Reggie, a Pain Relief representative.
“We are offing to help America get back to work with hand sanitizer,” he said. “[We are] getting the word out that we are here and helping America open up for business and to open up safely.”