On Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 10:00 am, Charlotte County Emergency Management, in partnership with Charlotte County Fire/EMS and the City of Punta Gorda Public Safety, will facilitate a full scale exercise to familiarize and coordinate key emergency response agencies with the responsibilities and procedures during a water-borne multi-casualty, large scale incident in Charlotte County waterways. Citizens in the area of US 41 and the Peace River Bridge will begin to see emergency vehicle activity , both on land and in the water, at approx. 7:00 am the morning of the exercise. The staging area for the exercise will be located at Laishley Park, 120 Laishley Court, Punta Gorda, FL 33950.

To eliminate public confusion or panic, CC Emergency Management is requesting media to assist in notification to residents of this exercise. Media desiring to attend the exercise are welcome and requested to check in with PIO Dee Hawkins-Garland at the media staging area located the next to the CC Mobile Command Vehicle at Laishley Park. After checking in at the media staging area, Media representatives and photojournalists will have the opportunity to board a vessel and will be escorted to the location of the exercise. At the location of the exercise media will be able to visualize multiple emergency marine vessels responding to a mock incident with moulage victims, smoke, and possibly emergency air rescue support.

Invitations to participate in the Homeland Security Grant funded exercise were extended to 9 area emergency response agencies for participation; agencies accepting the invitation to participate include both CC Fire/EMS and CC Sheriff’s Office Marine Operations, City of Punta Gorda, Florida Fish and Wildlife and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.