Maybe it is because I was a Boy Scout whose motto of “Be Prepared” has stuck with me that I have plans and have made preparations for hurricanes, the number 1 threat we face in Florida. We don’t get snowstorms, earthquakes (well, not often), or mountain slides, but as a Florida native, I know hurricanes are a part of the deal. Hurricane David delayed my start of college. Hurricane Dora is one of my earliest memories. Wilma stole my roof. Andrew surprised me and resulted in lots of improvisation. But, we’re here to write about it and this post is about how surprised we remain when others are not prepared. I’d cut some slack to those who are new to Florida. But, recent experiences reinforce that even long time Florida residents are often unprepared. It is more than having some bottled water and spare batteries. But, we encountered a friend in Irma who didn’t have even these basic supplies. It is much, much better, to be ready before the panic of a storm begins. The lines at the gas stations were reminiscent of the 1970s gas rationing. It is crazy to hear and see the stories of those who don’t have the basic supplies or a plan. So, that’s the message. Get ready, and don’t get complacent when it is 12 or 20 years between storms. Recent hurricanes provide new things to consider in terms of technology. Whether it is the tech issue of keeping phones and other devices charged or the use of certain apps – current storm experiences are the most tech enabled ever! There are numerous sources for hurricane planning tips, but I will conclude with a suggestion that one thing not to forget is, when all is over, consider what worked, and what more could be done to be better prepared for the next time. We debrief after all of our mock jury projects. Debriefing a storm experience can enhance plans and preparations for the next time – which is a when question, not if. Don’t be “sorry Charlie.”
David is as prepared for a hurricane as anyone I know. The only way he could be more prepared is if he had an airboat loaded onto a trailer and ready to pull behind a big truck if needed. (David, I sure would love to have an airboat, but for fun outings, not hurricanes!) The preparations David and I made for Hurricane Irma were so extensive that they encompassed 4 days, including the preparations we made at our office prior to closing it down for the duration of the hurricane. We made the decision at some point, after seeing the path of the hurricane was predicted not to make landfall near where we live, to stay home. This being said, David insisted we pack his car with evacuation supplies in the event our house was destroyed and we had to leave in a moment’s notice. (The first things I packed in the evacuation kit were cat supplies, including an ample supply of catnip!) Despite all of our planning and preparing, there were several things we forgot and several others we could do better, when, and not if, the next hurricane bears down on south Florida. We have military style debriefing sessions after every research project we conduct on behalf of our clients and, in a similar fashion, we are planning to have a debriefing session at home to review what we could have done better to prepare for Hurricane Irma. As with many things in life, there are many people who wait until the last minute, hoping the hurricane will go away, then wailing about the consequences of their stupidity. I am thankful David and I are not among them!