What does a 55+ community with more than 1,200 residents do in case of an emergency? Create their own Emergency Response Team.
The Mid Florida Lakes resident group, which started nearly a decade ago, didn’t reach its full potential until 2016 when retired Fire Chief and longtime resident W. Lee Jones volunteered as Chief of the Mid Florida Lakes Emergency Response Team. The volunteer team is made up of about 40 residents of the Leesburg, Florida community, whose gear and equipment is paid for by donations and fundraising events within the community.
Over the years the team has coordinated with the American Red Cross and Lake County Fire Department to install more than 800 smoke alarms and provide fire extinguishers to community residents at no cost. The majority of the members are certified by the American Heart Association in CPR/AED First Aid and the team has responded to over 200 calls! The Emergency Response Team is known for being out before, during and after any major storms to ensure the safety of the neighborhood and assist their neighbors. Team members even remained on site as Hurricane Irma rolled across the state to ensure help was nearby if their neighbors were in need.
The Mid Florida Lakes Emergency Response Team likens themselves as the “help before help arrives,” but their main goal is to educate the residents of Mid Florida Lakes on what to do in case of an emergency. This all-volunteer team educates community residents for situations ranging from hurricanes and tropical storm evacuations to first aid and CPR. The Mid Florida Lakes ERT works closely with Lake County Fire Rescue, Lake EMS, Lake County Emergency Management, and the management team at Mid Florida Lakes.