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C o u than n t y r e s p o n d e d t o Lake Fire c a l l s f Rescue 13,900 o r more l a s t y e a r c a l l e v e r y 3 7 m i n u t e s o f i t s 2 4 - h o u service r o p e r a t i o a n .

U n i v e r s a l R e s p o n s e

The Department of Public Safety received special recognition this year for achievements on behalf of its citizens. The awards highlighted a few of the many accomplishments of the Department╩╝s four divisions: Fire Rescue, Emergency Management,

Communications Systems and Animal Services.

In June 2005, the National Association of Counties awarded Lake County for its innovative program to co-locate residents with their pets at public hurricane shelters. Following Hurricane Charley, the first major hurricane to sweep across Lake County in years, Animal Services rapidly developed a plan to set up pet-friendly shelters for residents reluctant to evacuate their homes without their pets. Less than a month after the first storm, Hurricane Frances hit, and the plan was put to the test. Overwhelmingly positive public response led to an expansion of the program, with two more pet-friendly shelters readied in time for Hurricane Jeanne. During Hurricane Frances, 180 pets were sheltered, and an additional 50 were sheltered for Hurricane Jeanne.

The historic hurricane season brought into focus the need for new procedures and technologies to help ensure public safety. Emergency Management made immediate improvements to its preparation and response plans for the 2005 hurricane season. Included were plans to add shelter space for citizens, increase the number of pet-friendly shelters, and provide faster and easier public access to vital information on the County Web site and through local media. Another project initiated this year was an emergency notification system designed to contact residents via telephone before, during and after events that

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