A Mighty Wind A Word on Hurricane Preparedness

 For South Floridians, it isn’t news that hurricanes are a fact of life. Powerful storms have caused property  damage and, sadly, many deaths with frightening regularity—including the 1919 hurricane in Key West that killed more than 800 people;  Hurricane Andrew, which caused $25 million in damage in 1992, and the last,  Hurricane Wilma, in 2005. Although it’s been eight years since Wilma made landfall, it’s important that managers and residents stay in a constant state of alert and  prepare for what could easily happen again, even if this hurricane season it  doesn’t. For some communities, this means preparing as if something were to happen,  even if nothing is going to.  

 Stay Vigilant

 “People do get complacent,” says Fort Lauderdale Battalion Chief Jo-Ann Lorber. “But now after Hurricane Sandy, people are becoming more aware again.”  

 Hurricane Sandy didn’t touch down in the South Florida region but it made its mark on the United  States by hitting the northeast region and causing almost $75 billion in  damage. “Getting people educated is a slow process, but our fire prevention group teaches  what they need to know,” says Lorber.  

 Prior to hurricane season, which begins on June 1, Lorber is educating members  of the community about hurricane preparedness by attending homeowner  association meetings and conducting preparedness talks. “If you have floods, you try to recover from that and mitigate, or learn, from  the past and how to prepare yourself for the future, including putting up  barriers and getting sandbags if you live in a low-lying area,” she says.  

 Every year, in advance of the hurricane season, Bill Worrall, vice president of  The Continental Group in Hollywood, also conducts hurricane preparation  seminars with property managers throughout Florida. “We talk about best practices of all the components which each community should  have in its hurricane preparedness plan,” he says.  

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