President’s Corner – May 2023 – Hurricane Preparedness
It’s time for the fun game of “Which Wacky Weather Will We Get Today?”! Well, this is May in Florida so, who knows! If those crazy days a couple of weeks ago of hail and tornados taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared for the 2023 Hurricane Season. These were the worst storms that I have seen personally in Brevard County since moving here in 2015. I lost the top screens on my enclosure as well as other damage to my roof and home. I guess I will be dealing with that for a bit.
For those who are new to Florida and those of us who have been here all of our lives, there is no reason not to prepare. The information and resources are out there. Believe me when I say, it is worth the time to do so. In my experience, most Floridians don’t do much as far as preparation until the storm is looming, lines at stores are long, and tempers are flaring. I just don’t understand it. Why not prepare BEFORE there is a storm? Here is a great web resource to help you get you plan together: https://www.floridadisaster.org/planprepare/
In addition, the State of Florida lets you save money while you are preparing with TWO tax free holidays this year for disaster preparedness. From the Florida Senate Press Release issued on May 4th, “The legislation creates two 14-day “disaster preparedness” sales tax holidays from May 27, 2023 – June 9, 2023, and August 26, 2023, — September 8, 2023, for disaster preparedness supplies. Some examples of tax-free items include: flashlights and lanterns costing $40 or less; reusable ice costing $20 or less; radios costing $50 or less; tarps and ground anchors or tie down kits costing $100 or less; coolers and portable power banks costing $60 or less; batteries and fuel tanks costing $50 or less; smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors costing $70 or less; and generators costing $3,000 or less. The holiday also includes a number of items related to the safe evacuation of household pets. Common household consumable items that may be helpful with disaster cleanup are also included. For example, laundry detergent, toilet paper and paper towels, soap, sunscreen, and various household cleaning products, with a sales price of $30 or less.”
Admittedly, I wasn’t a good preparer in the past when I was much younger. Hey, I am a native Floridian and we never prepared for storms! We threw hurricane parties and watched it all unfold before us. But, it wasn’t until the 2004 series of hurricanes that I started to take my preparation seriously. I didn’t prepare properly and was left without power for several days, which means I didn’t have running water, the ability to cook or to even shower. I didn’t get cash before the storm hit and many stores were without power too so they could only perform cash transactions. But, I have traded in my “hurricane punch recipe” for a “hurricane preparedness kit” every year since then. I did my research on what you should keep in your kit, bought a big plastic tote to keep everything organized and together and then I bought/gathered everything on my list. Every June 1st, I bring the tote out in from the garage and add in the food items. That is my annual routine.
Now, it doesn’t matter whether or not you “believe” what the weather experts tell us about the severity of the season or if you “believe” we will be impacted by a particular storm. Storms will come and we need to have a plan. History tells us that it may not be this year or it may not be next year but it will happen. Are you ready for that day? Here are just a couple of simple things you can do to prepare:
- Sign up for Alerts: https://www.brevardfl.gov/EmergencyManagement/BePrepared/Step4StayInformed. Personally, I signed up for the text messages alert. It comes right to my phone when it is issues and I am informed. And, it is not just storm related. I get alerts with the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated for a launch, prescribed burns, gas main leaks, etc.
- Make a Plan:
Your plan is different from my plan. I have pets to plan for and I have to do my shutters all by myself so I need a little more time to get it done. Do you have family you can drive to for shelter? What is your threshold for evacuating? Do you leave at any named storm or wait for something stronger? Do you have pets? What will you do if you have to evacuate? Not every shelter or hotel takes pets. Do you have a family member with special needs? Have you registered with the Brevard County Special Needs Program? This is a limited space program that ensures people with special needs have transportation and shelter in an emergency.
In conclusion, please take a little extra time and effort over the next month to put your family plan together and gather the items you need for your family’s emergency kit. Use the tax free holidays and save some money!
So, until next time, please remember … “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott
Eva M. Rey, President
Central Viera Community Association, Inc.