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Hurricanes Happen

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Preparing

First, remember the story of the ant and the grasshopper. The ending of that one varies, including the New Orleans variation which blames the government for the grasshopper's predicament. However, the moral remains clear: you are the one responsible for your own planning. In a serious storm, there may be people to help – or the helpers may be rather tied up ensuring their own survival. It doesn't pay to assume that others will cover your lack of planning. It may also be helpful to remember the story of the Little Red Hen – nobody wanted to help her in the early stages of preparing her bread, but everyone wanted to help eat it...

There is absolutely no excuse for not preparing for hurricane season. It's not hard to do, and it's not expensive to do. On the other hand, it's really difficult and expensive to deal with a lack of preparation. Think about it. It's better to be prepared than to be scared.

We are fortunate to be living on Trinidad Way, where neighbors care about each other, watch over each other, and help each other out. This was evident before, during, and after Wilma in 2005. Teams were seen roaming the street to be sure that everyone who wanted help with their shutters was able to get help. Wilma, though, was very different from other storms – we had a lot of time to prepare, and we had a lot of warning from the Mexican devastation. If you can't get your shutters up yourself, arrange for a service to assist you. Relying on your neighbors may be a bad choice, if they choose to evacuate. As a last resort, call a street rep – they may know of someone who can provide last-minute assistance, but they may not. If you can help someone out, be sure a street rep knows.

In Florida, we rely heavily on electricity for safety and comfort. Following a hurricane, there isn't any. Sometimes for days, maybe for weeks after a major storm. If you think a generator is right for you, don't wait. Go buy one now. Learn how to use it. You'll be glad you did. If you're going to keep gas around in cans, or in the generator itself, be sure to add stabilizer – otherwise, your emergency gasoline will resemble useless Jello. If you hope to rely on a neighbor to let you plug in an extension cord, be a sport – go buy a 5-gallon can of gasoline, fill it, add some gas stabilizer, and keep it next to a long heavy-duty extension cord. There are several generators on Trinidad Way, and the owners might be able to help, but you'll see lots more smiles if you arrive with that can of stabilized gas to go with your own extension cord.

If you're planning to deal with a hurricane by leaving, you'll probably be in the majority – please put away your “stuff”. Some of us, though, will be sticking around unless it looks like a real monster coming. Even if you're the hardy type, pay attention to the emergency management folks – if they say to evacuate our area, there just might be a really good reason.

OK, now we're down to those of us who are likely to stick around. Your shutters are up, you've got your three-day supply of fresh non-perishable food, $500 cash or so, medications, and three gallons of water per person. (On this street, you probably have a backup supply of wine, too.) You even remembered to have a hand-operated can opener. An emergency NOAA weather radio is an excellent addition to your preparations. During Wilma, very few people knew that a tornado warning was issued for an observed tornado affecting our area around 2:30 AM – phones were out, making it impossible to warn neighbors, and it wasn't exactly prudent to go door-to-door right about then…

Things you might need to know

Street Reps

Be an ant, or a Little Red Hen – don't be a grasshopper.

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Kenneth W. Brown, 4057 Trinidad Way, Naples, FL 34119
FBO Trinidad Way Neighborhood, IslandWalk

This is edition #5-web, 21-Feb-2014. Contact Ken Brown if you have suggestions for revisions or additional information.