Let’s talk about what’s happening in Monroe County

August 30 – While the end of the summer can be a little bit of a slow time in Monroe County, there are still happenings to be discussed.

Kristen Livengood, Public Information Officer for Monroe County, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM to talk about the goings on in the county.

The Big Pine Channel Park opening was a great event.

Livengood said, “It was a really fun, fun day. It was so nice that all five of the commissioners were such great sports and did that photo op for me where they all jumped into the water.”

Hurricane season so far has been unusually quiet in the Keys this year.

Livengood, “That’s still okay, too. It’s definitely okay to not having to put anything to work that we practiced.”

It does serve as a reminder for residents to pick up their re-entry sticker for their vehicles should there be an evacuation. It makes it a lot easier to get back into the Keys after the storm is over.

The stickers can be found at the tax collector’s office.

Livengood said, “Dust off the hurricane plans. Call their friends on the mainland or know what hotel they want to go to.”

Also keep in mind where the shelters are in the Keys should they need them.

Livengood said, “Having something set right now is much better than trying to frantically figure it out if something does threaten us in the near future.”

The Emergency Operation Center at the moment is conducted out of the Government Center in Marathon.

Through grant money a new Emergency Operation Center will be constructed at the west end of the airport in Marathon. The ground breaking should happen in early 2023.

Livengood said, “It’s going to be CAT 5 rated, a beautiful facility that will be safe for all of our emergency operations, firefighters, everyone to stay at that is a safe spot for us to be able to work on getting the county open immediately after a storm. Get people back here as quickly as possible.”

The National Information Officers Association Conference is being held right now in Clearwater.

Livengood said, “It’s been a really eye-opening experience. They bring in people from all over the country. People who have dealt with mass shootings, with hostage situations. We had someone from Hurricane Ida, who went through the eye of that storm come and speak yesterday.”

The group covered topics of possible issues that could be faced by municipalities.

Livengood said, “It’s just great to have those tools in your tool bag if you need them. Not to mention the networking because you run into people and then hopefully in a storm, especially a terrible storm like Irma or anything like that, you’ve already got this triage of people that can come in that you already know that can help you.”

It’s important during a storm to be able to get information out to people who have evacuated so they know what’s going on.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, click here:  https://monroecountyem.com/