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In Cape Coral, flooding is generally the result of storm surge from hurricanes, heavy rainfall, and the natural flow of water south through the Florida peninsula (often referred to as “sheet flow”), which may cause flooding along rivers, creeks, canals, and historically swamp/natural drainage areas.

Everyone lives in an area with some flood risk—it’s just a question of whether you live in a high-risk, low-risk, or moderate-risk flood area. A flood zone indicates the flood risk for a particular area, and those flood zones are used to determine insurance requirements and costs. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. Check your policy; do not make assumptions. To find your flood zone and for information on insuring your home from flood loss, visit

Before the flood reaches your area:

  • Know if floodwaters might affect your home and property. Know your elevation above flood stage.

  • Develop a flood emergency action plan.

  • Be prepared to evacuate immediately, if advised to do so, and bring important documents with you.

  • Monitor road conditions and move to a safe area before access is cut off.

During the flood:

  • Avoid areas subject to flooding. People underestimate the force and power of water. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.

  • Turn Around! Don't Drown!

    • It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away most cars and just 2 feet of rushing water can carry away SUVs and trucks.

    • Over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.

    • If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately.

    • Do not drive around barricades, they are there for your protection.

  • Never attempt to cross flowing water or allow children or pets to play around flood water.​

    • A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult.​

    • Flood waters contain hazards, both large and small, including downed power lines, floating vehicles, debris, toxic waste, and bacteria. These hazards can result in injuries, cause infections, or carry diseases.​

After the flood:

  • Do not visit disaster areas. Your presence may hamper emergency operations.

  • Throw out food that has come into contact with the flood water and boil drinking water before using it.

  • Stay out of buildings that remain in flood waters.

  • Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas.

  • Report broken utilities to the correct authorities.


A resilient community includes residents and businesses who are aware and prepared for hurricanes and other disasters so that impact is mitigated and recovery is more rapid. 

Severe Weather

Thunderstorms can produce several types of hazardous weather including floods, hail, lightning, damaging winds, and tornadoes.

Lightning - Florida is the lightning capital of the U.S. and leads the nation in fatalities and injuries caused by lightning. In fact, lightning is the #1 cause of weather-related deaths in the State. Therefore, it is necessary to take safety precautions during a storm.

When thunder roars, go indoors!​

  • No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area.

  • Lightning can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike. Immediately move inside a building or, if no safe structure is available, a vehicle.

  • An object's height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt will strike. You do not want to be the tallest object during a thunderstorm. It is safer to continue moving quickly towards shelter than it is to crouch or hide when caught outside by a storm. However, if no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:

    • ​Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks

    • Never lie flat on the ground

    • Never shelter under an isolated tree

    • Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter

    • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water

    • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)

    • If you are with a group of people, spread out. 

  • Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

  • Metal and water conduct electricity, so stay off corded phones, computers, and other hardwired electrical equipment and avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.


  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.

If someone is struck by lightning, 

1) Call 9-1-1.


2) Immediately begin first aid, including CPR if the victim is unresponsive. It is an unfortunate myth that lightning strike victims carry an electrical charge and that will be passed onto if you touch them. This is NOT true and, if required, CPR must be given right away as the immediate cause of death for those struck by lightning is cardiac arrest. Please remember, the Cape Corel Fire Department offers free Family and Friends CPR classes. 


3) If possible, move the victim to a safer place. Lighting can strike twice. 

Tornadoes - Tornadoes can form in Florida any time of the year, however, they are most common in the Spring and Summer. In the Summer season (June - September), tornadoes typically occur along strong sea breeze collisions and with tropical cyclones (hurricanes). In the Spring season (February - May), tornadoes are typically more powerful as they develop from severe supercells along a squall line ahead of a cold front.


Tornado sirens are not as common in Florida as they are in other parts of the country. Be sure to monitor the local media, download a weather alert app, or listen to your NOAA weather radio for tornado alerts.​

A tornado watch means that conditions are right for a tornado to develop. Secure outside loose objects or bring them inside. Go indoors. If you live in a mobile or manufactured home, seek other sturdy shelter. 

A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted. Go to the innermost hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor of your home or office. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car. Find shelter indoors, or, if in open country seek, cover in a ravine, ditch, or culvert and protect your head. Do not hide under your car and stay away from trees.


An epidemic is defined as a sudden, often unexpected escalation in the number of instances of a disease that affects many individuals at once and spreads rapidly. A pandemic is a type of epidemic. The difference between pandemic and epidemic is that while an epidemic may affect just one or a few areas, a pandemic affects an entire nation or even the world at large.

​Pandemics happen when new (novel) virus emerge which are able to infect people easily and spread from person to person in an efficient and sustained way. Because the virus is new to humans, very few people will have immunity against the pandemic virus, and a vaccine might not be widely available. The new virus will make a lot of people sick. How sick people get will depend on the characteristics of the virus, whether or not people have any immunity to that virus, and the health and age of the person being infected.

Influenza. An influenza pandemic is a global outbreak of a new influenza A virus that is very different from current and recently circulating human seasonal influenza A viruses. Different animals are hosts to influenza A viruses that do not normally infect people. Influenza A viruses are constantly changing, making it possible on very rare occasions for non-human influenza viruses to change in such a way that they can infect people. The federal government has created a stockpile of some vaccines against select influenza A viruses with pandemic potential that could be used in the event of a pandemic. If a similar virus were to begin a pandemic, some vaccine would already be available. For more information on pandemic influenza and the difference between pandemic and seasonal influenza, please visit the CDC website

Coronavirus. People around the world commonly get infected with human coronaviruses that cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus. For more information on COVID-19 please visit For information specific to Cape Coral, please visit

During a pandemic (really anytime), it is important to limit the spread of germs and prevent infection

  • Please be sure to follow public health guidance.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

  • Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.​​

Aquatic Health

Algae are plant-like organisms that sustain marine life. They contribute to the food chain and to the oxygen that keeps water bodies healthy. But sometimes, when conditions are right—warm water and increased nutrients—certain algae can quickly grow and overpopulate. 

Blue-green algae has the most affect on Cape Coral canals. ​Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, is a type of algae found naturally in freshwater and brackish environments. Algae blooms are temporary and usually happen in late summer or early fall, thriving on high temperatures and abundant sunlight. Cape Coral canals can be inundated with blue-green algae from water releases from Lake Okeechobee, where the blooms grow.

Blue-green algae cyanotoxins can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. People who are very sensitive to smells can have respiratory irritation. Sometimes, high exposures of toxin can affect the liver and nervous system. It is important to avoid contact with blue-green algae.

  • Don’t swim in or around blue-green algae.

  • When boating in the canal with blue-green algae, avoid contact with the water.

  • Children and pets are especially vulnerable, so it is important to keep them away from the water during a bloom.

  • If you come into contact with blue-green algae, wash off with soap and water. See your doctor if you think blue-green algae has made you sick.

  • Fish tested from water with blue-green algae show that cyanotoxins don’t accumulate much in the edible parts—muscle or fillet—of fish, but can in other organs. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water. Throw out guts. Cook fish well.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the five water management districts, Department of Health (DOH), the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services all work together to respond to algal blooms. More information on blue-green algae can be found on the DOH website. For a current list of areas affected by blue-green algae or report a new algae bloom please visit DEP’s Algal Bloom Monitoring & Response webpage.


​Cyberattacks are malicious attempts to access or damage a computer system. Cyberattacks threaten critical infrastructure, essential services, and sensitive information and can lead to loss of money, theft of personal information, affect safety, and damage reputation.

Florida is currently third in the nation for cybercrime incidents, victims, and losses reported to the FBI. It is important you protect yourself and your family against cyberattacks:

  • Keep software and operating systems up-to-date.

  • Use antivirus solutions, malware and firewalls to block threats.

  • Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication (two methods of verification).

  • Check your account statements and credit reports regularly.

  • Watch for suspicious activity that asks you to do something right away, offers something that sounds too good to be true or needs your personal information. Think before you click.

  • Use encrypted (secure) Internet communications.

  • Create backup files.

  • Limit the personal information you share online. Change privacy settings and do not use location features.

  • Protect your home and/or business WiFi network.

If you have been a victim of a cyberattack:

  • Immediately change passwords for all of your online accounts.

  • Contact banks, credit card companies and other financial accounts.

  • Depending on the severity of the attack, you may need to contact the police, FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center, Social Security Administration, the Office of the Inspector General, among others. For a complete list of actions to take and agencies to contact, visit

Drought/Extreme Heat

Drought is lack of precipitation, resulting in water shortages. Cape Coral experiences drier seasons annually, some of which result in drought conditions. While the City’s irrigation is supplied by treated wastewater from the City’s two wastewater facilities, it is supplemented by water pumped from the City’s five freshwater canal pumping stations. This water is also used for fire suppression in many parts of the City. To ensure there is enough water available at all times of the year, it is important that Cape Coral residents adhere to the City's year-round, two-day watering schedule.

90% of all wildfires start due to human activities. During extreme drought conditions, to prevent wildfires, a burn ban may be enacted prohibiting open burning and the use of other outdoor ignition sources. Please note: The use of grills is still permitted during a burn ban.

Extreme heat is defined as extended period of time where the temperature and relative humidity combine for a dangerous heat index. Heat-related illnesses happen when the body is not able to properly cool itself. These can be very dangerous but are preventable. The CDC offers these hot weather tips:

Stay Cool!

  • Dress for Summer. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

  • Stay Cool Indoors. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.


  • Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully. Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.​


  • Slow Down. Cut down on exercise during the heat. If you’re not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually.

  • Wear Sunscreen. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated.

  • NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS IN A PARKED CAR. Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can increase 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. So, on an 80 degree day, in 10 minutes it will be 100 degrees inside the car. A child's body heats up three to five times faster than an adult's does. A child's major organs begin to shut down when his temperature reaches 104 degrees and can die when their temperature reaches 107 degrees. Heat stroke can happen when the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees. Never leave a child or a pet in the car, even for a few minutes! If you see a child or pet left unattended in a parked car, you should call 9-1-1 and alert authorities. Florida Statute 768.139 does provide a person entering the vehicle to rescue a child or pet with immunity from civic liability for any damage IF:

    • The child or pet is in imminent danger of suffering harm.

    • The vehicle is locked and there is no other way for the child or pet to get out without help.

    • Law enforcement is notified or 9-1-1 is called before entering the vehicle or immediately after.

    • No more force than is necessary is used to enter the vehicle.

    • The person stays with the pet or animal until law enforcement or other first responders arrive.


Stay Hydrated!

  • ​​Drink Plenty of Fluids. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink


  • Stay Away From Sugary and Alcoholic Drinks. These actually cause you to lose more body fluid.

  • Avoid Very Cold Drinks. They can cause stomach cramps.

  • Replace Salt and Minerals. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.​

  • Keep Your Pets Hydrated. Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets and leave the water in a shady area.


Stay Informed!

  • Check for Updates. Check local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips and to learn about any cooling shelters in the area.

  • Monitor Those at High Risk. Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others:

    • Infants and young children

    • ​​People 65 years of age or older

    • People who are overweight

    • People who overexert during work or exercise

    • People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation


  • Know the Signs. Below are signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and what to do in each situation:

Active Assailant

An active assailant/shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area, such as a school, workplace, shopping mall, or house of worship.

Prepare Now. Stay vigilant when in crowds and report suspicious persons or packages. If you see something, say something.​ Make a plan with your family and make sure everyone knows what to do if confronted with an active shooter. Wherever you go, look for the two nearest exits, have an escape path in mind, and identify places you could hide if necessary.

Survive During. If you are in an active assailant situation, remember RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.

RUN and escape if possible. 

  • Getting away from the shooter is the top priority.

  • Leave your belongings behind and get away.

  • Help others escape, if possible, but evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.

  • Warn and prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be.

  • Call 9-1-1 when you are safe and describe the shooter, location and weapons


HIDE if escape is not possible.

  • Get out of the shooter’s view and stay very quiet.

  • Silence all electronic devices and make sure they won’t vibrate.

  • Lock and block doors, close blinds and turn off lights.

  • Don’t hide in groups. Spread out along walls or hide separately to make it more difficult for the shooter.

  • Try to communicate with police silently. Use text message or social media to tag your location or put a sign in a window.

  • Stay in place until law enforcement gives you the all clear.

  • Your hiding place should be out of the shooter's view and provide protection if shots are fired in your direction.


FIGHT as an absolute last resort.

  • Commit to your actions and act as aggressively as possible against the shooter.

  • Recruit others to ambush the shooter with makeshift weapons like chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors, books, etc.

  • Be prepared to cause severe or lethal injury to the shooter.

  • Throw items and improvise weapons to distract and disarm the shooter.


Be Safe After. Keep hands visible and empty. Know that law enforcement’s first task is to end the incident. They may have to pass injured persons along the way. Follow law enforcement’s instructions and evacuate in the direction they tell you to. Consider seeking professional help for you and your family to cope with the long-term effects of trauma.

More information on how to be prepared for and respond to an active assailant situation can be found at


Communities face special problems when homes are built in or adjacent to forests or wildlands. The City of Cape Coral has more than 300,000 acres of wooded and unincorporated areas and thousands of vacant lots. These areas and lots have the potential of producing brush fires that can threaten adjacent homes and structures. On average, the Cape Coral Fire Department responds to 250 wildland, brush, or grass fires each year.

Prevention. 90% of all wildfires start due to human activities. Since a majority of wildfires are man-made, it means that a majority of wildfires are preventable. Debris burning, arson, campfires, children playing with fire, fireworks, equipment use, and smoking are among the top causes of wildfires.

  • Campfires must be continuously attended with a source of extinguishment nearby.

  • Review fire safety with children. Ensure they understand that playing with fire is prohibited.

  • Dispose of cigarettes properly.

  • Abide by any burning restrictions for your area. Burn bans, current wildfire conditions, and the fire danger index can be found on the Florida Forest Service website. 


Protect Your Home. Create an area of at least 30-feet of defensible space around your home that is lean, clean, and green. This breaks up the continuity of vegetation that could lead wildfire to your home. This buffer zone also gives firefighters the space they need to defend your home from a wildfire. Start with the house itself then move into landscaping.

  • Lean – Create fuel breaks with driveways, walkways/paths, patios, and decks. Move any flammable material away from wall exteriors and remove anything stored underneath decks or porches. Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating. Prune shrubs, cut back tree branches, and keep lawns and native grasses mowed.

  • Clean – Clean roofs, gutters, and exterior vents of dead leaves, debris, and pine needles. Install 1/8 inch metal mesh screening and replace or repair any loose or missing shingles/roof tiles to reduce possibility of embers entering the home. Remove dead vegetation and dry grass.

  • Green – Plant and maintain healthy, green, and fire-resistant vegetation.  Water your landscaping as permitted.

Preparation. Preparing your home and your family for a wildfire is equally as important as taking the appropriate actions to protect your house.

  • Create a Wildfire Action Plan involving all members of your household well in advance of a fire.

  • Make sure your address is clearly visible from the road and that your driveway is clear to allow emergency vehicles access to your house.

  • Have fire extinguishers and tools such as a shovel, rake, bucket and hoe readily accessible.

  • Keep 50 to 100 feet of garden hose attached to an outside faucet.

Immediately report all fires or sightings of smoke to 9-1-1.

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