Hurricane Expo: Prep ‘school’ in session

Hurricane season officially starts today and already there is a storm pounding the Gulf. Tomorrow, the City of Port St. Lucie expects residents from all around to flock to the Civic Center for the annual Hurricane Preparedness Expo.

“We’d love to think our citizens are prepared before Hurricane Season,” said event organizer Christine Proulx, project coordinator for Public Works Emergency Management. However, many won’t be. And that’s OK. For the 12th year, the city is hosting its own expo to highlight trusted businesses and vendors along with government agencies, all in the hopes of getting residents ready before the Big One hits. “We saw the complacency,” Proulx said of the population before Hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017. “We’ve seen a difference since.”

The city is expecting between 1,300 and 1,500 people to attend the expo Saturday, June 2, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. “There’s just so much information,” Proulx said.

A lineup of presentations is scheduled, including three meteorologists, Congressman Brian Mast, St. Lucie County, Port St. Lucie and even WastePro – the city’s waste hauler, which is tasked with debris removal following storms.

Irma and Matthew were “vegetative events,” Proulx said, explaining that the hurricanes produced a lot of plant debris and tree branchds.

Proulx said residents need to be mindful that it could have been far worse, with serious damage to homes. “They need to know what to expect and how to move forward,” she said. When residents know what to do and are prepared, they can minimize their suffering and recover all the faster – and, when partnered with the prepared city, all can work together as a unit.

While the main thrust of the event is aimed at adults getting themselves, their families and their homes ready for potential hurricane threats, there will be plenty for children to do, as well.

Emergency vehicles including fire trucks and police cars will be parked out front for kids to explore. There will also be a hurricane winds simulator that both kids and adults can check out. And a green screen will be set up so children can pretend to be meteorologists and “report” on the weather displayed behind them.

“Every year we work on making it better,” Proulx said of the expo. “We push ourselves.”

For the first time, the National Weather Service will be providing free SKYWARN storm spotting training, certifying residents in identifying and reporting threatening weather.

Those interested in the training must pre-register and be able to attend the class from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Civic Center. Registration is online and can be found here – https://bit.ly/2rGMOos

The expo itself will feature nearly 70 vendors and organizations, including the Humane Society and Animal Control. The Humane Society will be conducting pet vaccinations on-site while Animal Control will provide tags for newly vaccinated pets.

St. Lucie County Emergency Management will be on hand to discuss its Alert St. Lucie program that allows residents to opt-in for various notifications. County officials will also discuss the Special Needs Shelter and the need for residents to pre-register if they believe they might have to make use of it during a storm. Pre-registration will be done during the event.

And, if all the information itself weren’t enough to entice residents to attend, Proulx hopes the chance to win one of two hurricane prep kits from Wal-Mart might further draw a crowd, or the 500 T-shirts that will be given to those attending the presentations (while supplies last).

Some vendors just might have swag of their own to hand out to expo-goers, too.

For more information about the Hurricane Preparedness Expo, visit www.CityofPSL.com/HurricaneExpo or call the City at 772-871-7340.

 

If you go…

  • Cost: Free admission and parking; Food available for purchase at the Civic Center Café.
  • Date: Saturday, June 2.
  • Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Expo; 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for SKYWARN training.
  • Date: Saturday, June 2.
  • Location: Port St. Lucie Civic Center, 9221 SE Civic Center Place, Port St. Lucie.

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