Fire Information

The Venice Fire Department is pro-active in fire prevention and public education. These programs are available, at no cost, to the public and business community. Topics include home fire safety visits, high-rise condominium safety, mobile home safety, hurricane and storm awareness, extinguisher lectures with live demonstrations, baby-sitting safety, safety for the elderly and a variety of other specially-developed programs to meet the specific needs of the citizens of Venice.

October is fire safety month for the department. During this time, special station tours are provided to hundreds of local children. These tours promote home and fire safety at a level which the children can understand. The Family Fire Safety House is an integral part of this public education outreach. The Family Fire Safety House is a specialized trailer to teach and promote fire safety throughout the home. It also participates in community events throughout the year.

Lifesaving Tip: In the fall, when you turn your clocks back, and in the spring, when you move your clocks up, put fresh batteries in your smoke detector.

Hurricane Information

Hurricanes are categorized by their wind velocities:

Category 1

74-95 mph winds; expect up to 7-foot tides; all mobile home parks, keys and other coastal areas at elevations of less than 7 feet above sea level must evacuate. Damage is likely to be primarily to landscaping and mobile homes.

Category 2

96-110 mph winds; there may be up to 12-foot tides; all above noted areas plus coastal areas at elevations of less than 12 feet above sea level must evacuate. Expect some trees blown down and damage to signs, mobile homes, some roofing, windows and doors of other buildings.

Category 3

111-130 mph winds; expect up to 14-foot tides; all above noted areas plus coastal areas at elevations of less than 14 feet must evacuate. Same damage as above, but with additional structural damage to small buildings. Mobile homes will probably be destroyed.

Category 4

131-155 mph winds; expect up to 20-foot tides; all above noted areas plus coastal areas at less than 20 feet must evacuate. There will be extensive damage to roofing materials, windows and doors, with complete failure of roofs on many small residences.

Category 5

156 and over mph winds; expect tides to be more than 20 feet; all above named areas plus coastal areas at less than 21 feet must evacuate. Extensive damage to windows and doors, complete failure of roofs on many residences and industrial buildings. Extensive shattering of glass in windows and doors. Some complete building failures. Small buildings overturned or blown away.

Tornado Information

How a Tornadoes Form?

Before thunderstorms develop, a change in wind direction and an increase in wind speed with increasing height creates an invisible, horizontal spinning effect in the lower atmosphere.

Weak Tornadoes

  • 69% of all tornadoes

  • Less than 5% of tornado deaths

  • Lifetime 1-10+ minutes

  • Winds less than 110 mph

Rising air within the thunderstorm updraft tilts the rotating air from horizontal to vertical.

Strong Tornadoes

  • 29% of all tornadoes

  • Nearly 30% of all tornado deaths

  • May last 20 minutes or longer

  • Winds 110-205 mph

An area of rotation, 2-6 miles wide, now extends through much of the storm. Most strong and violent tornadoes form within this area of strong rotation.

Violent Tornadoes

  • Only 2% of all tornadoes

  • 70% of all tornado deaths

  • Lifetime can exceed 1 hour

  • Winds greater than 205 mph

Safety Procedures

  • Develop a plan for you and your family for home, work, , school and when outdoors.

  • Have frequent drills.

  • Know the county/parish in which you live, and keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins.

  • Have a NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm tone and battery back-up to receive warnings.

  • Listen to radio and television for information.

  • If planning a trip outdoors, listen to the latest forecasts and take necessary action if threatening weather is possible.

Flood Information

When you receive a flood warning:

  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

  • Move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood water.

  • Continue monitoring NOAA Weather Radio, television or emergency broadcast station for information.

During the flood:

  • Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding.

  • If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.

  • Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.

  • Children should never play around high water, storm drains, viaducts or arroyos.

After the flood:

  • If fresh food has come in contact with flood waters, throw it out.

  • Boil drinking water before using. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking. If in doubt, call your local public health authority.

  • Do not visit disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations.

  • Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.

  • Use flashlights, not lanterns, torches or matches, to examine buildings. Flammables may be inside.

  • Report broken utility lines and downed electrical lines to appropriate authorities.

The City of Venice contains five storm basins: Cow Pen Slough, Myakka River, Curry Creek, Hatchett Creek and the Island of Venice. Master Plan Basin Studies, conducted in 2002, identified areas in which city streets or structures may experience flooding during a storm event. As a result of this master plan update, City Engineer Nancy Woodley outlined a comprehensive, multi-focused stormwater management program to address drainage system deficiencies within the city.

Flooding in Venice is caused by two potential sources: a major storm event that deposits more water than the storm drainage system can currently manage, or drainage systems located on public or private property that become clogged with yard or waste debris.

The City of Venice is committed to assisting property owners in reducing the likelihood of flood loss through information dissemination and early planning. Please visit the links listed below to make important decisions regarding the protection of your property and personal belongings or visit the Venice Public Library, 300 S. Nokomis Ave., to search the computer catalog for flood damage prevention.

Lightning Information

The most important statement for everyone to understand, memorize and to act on is:

No place outside is safe from lightning during thunderstorms.

Level-1: Plan your activities around the weather to avoid the lightning strike hazard. If you are going to be outside, know the weather forecast beforehand. Know the local weather patterns.

Level-2: While outside, use the "30-30 Rule" to know when to seek a safer location.

  • When you see lightning, count the time until you hear thunder. If this time is 30 seconds or less, go to a safer place. If you can't see the lightning, just hearing the thunder is a good back up rule to use to take cover.

  • Wait 30 minutes or more after hearing the last thunder before leaving the safer location.

  • The "30-30 Rule" will not work well for "first-strike" lightning from locally developing thunderstorms. Watch for brewing convection and seek shelter before the first lightning is produced.

Level-3: Go to a safer location when required. Don't hesitate; go to a safer place immediately! The safest place commonly available is a large fully enclosed substantially constructed building, e.g. a typical house. Once inside, stay away from any electrical conducting path from the outside, e.g., corded telephones, electrical appliances, and plumbing. If you can't get to a substantial building, a vehicle with a solid metal roof and metal sides is a reasonable second choice. Avoid contact with conducting paths going outside. Convertibles and open-framed vehicles do not count as lightning shelters.

Level-4: If you can't get to a safer location, avoid the most dangerous locations and activities. Avoid higher elevations, wide-open areas, tall isolated objects, water-related activities, and open vehicles. Avoid unprotected open structures like picnic pavilions, rain shelters, and bus stops. Don't go under trees to stay dry during thunderstorms.

Level-5: Use this as a last resort: If you are outside and far away from a safer place, proceed to the safest location. If lightning is imminent, it will often give a few seconds of warning, such as hair standing up, tingling skin, light metal objects vibrating, seeing corona discharge, and hearing a crackling or "kee-kee" sound. If you are in a group, spread out so there are several body lengths between each person. Once spread out, use the lightning crouch - put your feet together, squat down, tuck your head, and cover your ears.

When the immediate threat of lightning has passed, continue heading to the safest place possible. Remember, this is a desperate last resort; you are much safer following the previous guidance and avoiding this high-risk situation.

Level-6: The first step in lightning first aid is to call 911. All deaths from lightning are from cardiac arrest or stopped breathing at the time of the strike. CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is the recommended first aid.

No lightning safety guidelines will guarantee 100 percent safety, but these steps will help you avoid the vast majority of lightning casualties.

Lightning is the underrated weather hazard. Fortunately, the vast majority of these casualties can be easily avoided.

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