LAKEWOOD RANCH -- With another six-month hurricane season beginning June 1, discussions have begun between the Manatee County Public Safety Department and Lakewood Ranch Operations to locate a satellite emergency center at the new maintenance facility.
Manatee County Emergency Management officials say they are impressed by the size of the new $2 million operations center and its infrastructure at 15207 59th Ave. E., just east of Lorraine Road.
"In my opinion, it would be mutually beneficial to have the county emergency operations work in conjunction with Lakewood Ranch liaisons," said Ryan Heise, director of operations for Lakewood Ranch.
"If an emergency occurs, Lakewood Ranch operations would be entirely focused on recovery."
Heise noted they have not yet determined whether a satellite center could be in place at Lakewood Ranch before the start of the hurricane season.
A feasibility study must be conducted, then planning and preparations need to be made such as targeting power and cable sources for emergency generators and radio communications and deciding how the county special operation response team can assist.
Heise is serving on a regional team helping to coordinate disaster planning for Manatee County,
Don Hermey, Manatee County emergency management chief, said the center is a great central point to support Lakewood Ranch in a disaster.
"Although our partnership is preliminary, there is value in connecting for the best interest of the community," said Hermey, who spoke by phone during a break Wednesday from the international hurricane conference in Orlando.
Hermey reiterated the need to locate all power sources at the Lakewood Ranch facility to determine what size generators and cables are needed.
He noted the center has a great holding area to store bottled water to be distributed to residents, businesses and commercial tenants.
"It's going to be a one-for-all and all-for-one response, but we need to have a solid plan in place so we can support each other to everyone's advantage," he said.
Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.