The Lessons Learned From Hurricane Charley

Thousands of people lost their homes and businesses to Hurricane Charley.

Thousands more still have a long road to recovery. The devastation in Florida spans miles. Emergency management officials in the area say we should all take what happened to them as an important lesson.

It's been decades since the West Coast of Florida has felt the wrath of a powerful hurricane. Now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley, emergency officials say the path of destruction left behind should serve as a wake up call that hurricanes in Florida are a real danger.

Wayne Sallade, director at Charlotte County Emergency Management, said, “The folks in the Big Bend and across the Panhandle need to learn, this can happen to you."

Inland as Osceola and Orange felt Charley's fury too.

Capital Area Red Cross volunteers dispatched to Kissimmee, Florida where thousands of residents lost power and one lesson they hope folks up here take from Charley is the importance of being prepared.

Randy Barkley of the Capital Area Red Cross, said, “A lot of people down here weren't ready because the storm was going in another direction and it came and hit them at this location."

Tallahassee city utilities crews say helping their central Florida neighbors is preparing them for whatever could come our way.

Wayne Cotner, Tallahassee City Utilities Electric Department Supervisor, said, “The biggest thing is assessing it and getting out and seeing how many poles you have down, that sort of thing."

The devastation left in the wake of Charley is something emergency management officials say will be felt for years to come, but they add that just as Floridians before them have done, they will recover and they will rebuild.

Charlotte County's emergency management director said that the best way we in north Florida and south Georgia can help is by making a monetary donation through the Red Cross. To donate call 1-800-HELP-NOW.