As all Floridians know, our hurricane season doesn’t really get under way until August and we’re currently watching a very large system—Tropical Storm Isaac–slowly develop.
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess whether and to what extent our communities will be impacted by this system.
ROC managers (and board members that remain in Florida during the "off season") should be familiar with the drill but nonetheless, here are a few reminders:
- Pay attention to broadcast media and in particular the updates issued by the National Hurricane Center. During these situations, rumors run rampant–particularly on the internet–but the NHC’s website is an invaluable asset when the tropics begin to churn.
- As I have preached in past years, unless the clubhouse in your community is a Red Cross certified shelter, your residents should not be congregating in that clubhouse when threatened by a hurricane. Do not allow your residents to use the clubhouse to as a shelter or have a "hurricane party" when tropical systems threaten.
- A mandatory evacuation order means just that–and if you are in a community in which a mandatory evacuation order has been issued, your refusal to evacuate is a violation of Florida law. Residents that choose to remain in their communities after being ordered to evacuate do so at their own peril–and they should realize that if they require assistance during or after the storm, emergency personnel may not be able to assist them.
- Now is the time for residents with pets to locate "pet friendly" shelters. Don’t wait until the evacuation order is issued.
- Make sure that any item on your property that could become a "missile" during a storm is brought inside.
- Please let a relative or friend know where you are "riding out the storm" and let that friend or relative know how to contact the authorities if he or she is unable to locate you once the storm passes.
- Be extremely careful when returning to your home after the storm. Many injuries and deaths occur as a result of post-storm accidents.
One of the recent issues of the Florida Community Association Journal has some very good articles on preparing for and dealing with hurricanes and you can find other useful information at a number of other sites, such as the one for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Hopefully, Isaac will be more "bark" than "bite" and the rest of our hurricane season will be safe and uneventful. Better to be prepared for the storm that doesn’t come our way than to be unprepared for the one that does!