It’s easy to forget about the year that Central Florida was hit by three hurricanes within the span of a few weeks. It was a long time ago and we have a tendency to block such horrible things from our mind! Try as hard as we want to forget, it happened and most of us were little prepared. I remember trying to drive to my communities with very little gas left and trying to find a gas station with power to get my tank filled.
Have you taken a look lately at your hurricane plan? Do you even have a hurricane plan? If you create a plan for your community and yourself just once, all it will take is a simple review and update every year. Does your community have residents that are Red Cross certified? Do you know who will help coordinate if a crisis comes knocking?
SUGGESTIONS TO RESIDENTS OF CONDOMINIUM AND HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION
WATCH AND WARNING ALERTS
HURRICANE WATCH: Hurricane conditions are possible in specified areas of the WATCH area, usually 48 hours in advance.
HURRICANE WARNING: Hurricane conditions are expected in specified areas of the WATCH area, usually 36 hours in advance.
RESPONSIBILITY: The following is information that is to be conveyed to residents by BUILDING CAPTAIN (apartments) or NEIGHBORHOOD CAPTAINS (all other homes). This information should be done prior to HURRICANE WATCH.
WHEN WATCH IS ISSUED:
1. Notify all residents to make arrangements to bring inside any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations, hanging plants, BBQ grills, and anything that can be picked up by the wind
- 2. If you have a low spot in your parking area, notify residents to park in other areas, as flooding can occur,
- 3. If possible, check with residents as to who plans to vacate their home during the storm, and find out where they will be.
- 4. Remind residents that electric power can be lost, and to be prepared for an emergency that can last up to 5-7 days. DO NOT USE CANDLES. If power is lost, turn off all electric switches that are open to prevent a power surge to your appliances, when power is restored. Do not use your stove top as a shelf when power is off.
WHEN STORM IS IMMINENT:
Keep sewer drains in front of building/houses clean of all debris, to prevent flooding into the building lobby, garage or entrance to your home. CLEAN DRAIN AFTER
THE STORM IS OVER….YOUR SAFETY COMES FIRST!
Associations should provide rakes to Building Captains or designated residents to clean the debris from the drain.
RESIDENTS RESPONSIBILITY WHEN WATCH IS ISSUED:
- Be sure that you have food and emergency supplies in your home. DO NOT DEPEND ON A NEIGHBOR. Recommendations are: It is suggested that you have a least a 1 week surplus of non-perishable food.
- Canned products that can be eaten cold, bottled water (1 gal. per person per day…. minimum of a 7 day supply), flashlights battery operated lanterns, fans, portable radios and /or T.V. with extra batteries, toilet paper, paper plates/cups, first-aid supplies and a hand can opener. Freeze ziplock bags with ice cubes, store in a styrofoam or insulated chest to keep medication or food cold. Ice cubes will hold up to 24 hours in a well insulated chest.
- FILL YOUR CAR’S GAS TANK.
- It is recommended that you have a “Vial of Life” information folder in a conspicuous locatio (Fire Rescue looks for it on your refrigerator)
- Have a land line (hard wired) telephone available portable phones may not work when the electricity is off.
- Be sure to have ample medication on hand. It is recommended that you have at least a 1 week supply on hand. If you need medication that requires refrigeration (Insulin), plan to have a good insulated container that you can keep your medication in, with ice or an ice substitute (frozen chemical packs). Remember prescriptions, first aid supplies, and an extra pair of eye glasses are recommended to take with you if you have to leave your home. Have important documents available in a zip lock waterproof wrap, (credit card numbers, insurance papers, bank account numbers, an extra set of car keys, warranties, auto titles, wills, deeds, passports etc., and an inventory of household goods) for easy reference if needed.
- Be sure to have extra cash or travelers checks on hand, in case electricity is off, as computers will not work. Credit cards cannot be used to purchase merchandise, services, or food.
- At this time if your unit is on the 1st floor or a house, bring in outdoor furniture, decorations, plants, BBQ grills, or anything that can be picked up by the wind. The safety of property and yourself and others depend on this. All screened enclosures and entrances must be empty.
- Make preparations to put up your hurricane shutters.
- Fill a bath tub, and use the water to flush toilets, in case of pump failure.
- Make plans if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places—a friend’s house, hotel or a shelter. Pick a site that should be out of harm’s way.
- If you plan to leave your home, notify the BUILDING CAPTAIN or a NEIGHBORHOOD CAPTAIN that you will be leaving, and try to inform him/her where you will be.
- If you are staying in your home, select a safe area to wait out the storm. A closet or section of your home that has no windows is preferred. Have some supplies in this area, and be comfortable.
- If possible make plans to” buddy up” with a neighbor, in order to spend the hurricane together.
WHEN WARNING IS ISSUED
- Complete all preparation activities.
- If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, and away from windows
- Be aware that the “eye” (usually calm) of the hurricane is deceptive, and the storm is not The worst part of the storm will happen once the “eye” passes over, and the wind blows from the opposite direction. Listen to your radio/TV for additional information.