The aftermath of a big storm in Florida seems like it should be hard to forget; blue roofs, piles of yard debris waiting to be picked up, lack of light, air conditioning or clean water. But those memories fade as things calm down and we get back to normal. For many Floridians, this calm after the storm can last for several years.
The last major hurricane to hit our area was Wilma in October 2005. Over time, people tend to forget unpleasant experiences. Some residents are new to the area and may never have experienced a severe storm or hurricane before. For these reasons many residents can be lulled into complacency and may procrastinate from their emergency planning.
But you never know when the calm before the storm will end. South Florida is known for not only tropical storms and hurricanes but also torrential downpours from unexpected thunderstorms that can happen any time of the year. For example, in January 2014, over 15 inches of rain fell in a localized area in just a couple of hours causing major flooding, damage to property and tragically the loss of life.
It is vital that residents should make reasonable preparations for self-sufficiency all year long. That includes re-checking and refilling essential supplies, such as an emergency food stockpile, storage containers for water, flashlights and other emergency items. Residents also should have an evacuation plan in place, with contingencies for pets and mobility-challenged family members. And, they should make sure that insurance policies are up to date and that relevant documents are complete and easy to find.
With luck, our area will make it to the end of the 2023 hurricane season unscathed. However, it is only a matter of time when luck will run out and the value of year-round preparation will become staggeringly obvious. A good resource for information about planning for various types of emergencies can be found at www.ready.gov.