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Shutter debate no open-and-shut case in Cape Coral

Posted at 11:45 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 05:15:14-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — The City of Cape Coral could make hurricane shutters illegal unless there is a storm threat. The city wants to restrict when you can have them up.

Cape Coral Fire Chief Ryan Lamb said it can pose a fire hazard adding it takes longer for fire crews to get into a home to rescue people who are trapped inside if shutters are present. It makes it harder to ventilate smoke and gas out of the home and if firefighters need to escape they are limited on where they can escape from.

Chief Lamb showed a video of how long it can take for firefighters to get into a home if shutters are present. Fire Chief Lamb said it all boils down to safety to firefighters and the public.

“It wasn’t done as a form of malice. It was done as a form of trying to keep people safe and move the city forward in a good fashion," Lamb said.

City council directed staff to gather more information on similar storm shutter ordinances from other cities in the state. They plan to bring up this issue again in the coming months. We are less than three months away from hurricane season and city council members are considering new rules that could impact how you prepare your home for the storm.

The proposed ordinance would permit shutters to go up only five days before a storm, and they would have to come down two weeks after the storm has passed. The City of Cape Coral Fire Department said under current rules the shutters pose a major fire hazard.

But some residents say they are against the proposal.

"I personally use my hurricane shutters to protect my home from the weather as well as to protect my possessions from break-ins and thefts," said a Cape Coral resident.

"I can see both sides of the hurricane shutter ordinance. I would like to ask the council that they put a lot of thought and effort into a legitimate exception," said a Cape Coral resident.