Hurricane Irma slammed into the Florida Keys this past week and then made a second landfall at Marco Island near Naples. The storm then moved north affecting nearly every part of the state leaving a trail of devastation along the way. Our hearts go out to all who have been affected by the hurricane.
Days after the storm many of us are still without power. Some of those who left before Irma hit still haven’t been able to return home. Rivers have swollen with flood waters and debris and downed power lines still block some roads. Crews are working feverishly to restore utilities, communication, and transportation infrastructure and service. Areas throughout our state were affected by this very large, deadly and horrific storm.
At home, we are tackling both cleanup and disrupted schedules. Those of us who are back to work deal with this at the workplace as well – while ensuring family life returns to some normalcy.
But there is something we have witnessed, even amidst the turmoil. There is a lot of gratitude around us. We are grateful that we survived Hurricane Irma and grateful for the return of blue skies and beautiful, albeit sweltering at times, Florida sunshine.
Over the past week, there were three things that have become my personal “lessons learned” or Hurricane Irma takeaways. And even though my experience may be different from yours, I hope you will glean ideas and insights to help you plan for the next time. So, here’s my list:
#1 – They Weren’t Kidding – Be As Prepared As You Can
During the impending arrival of Hurricane Irma, the most helpful social media posts were the checklists for hurricane preparation. Detailed preparedness information was posted and reposted, and when resources became scarce creative ideas flowed. New information about the position, strength and path of the storm was available through multiple media channels, and as the situation changed everyone was able to offer new helpful tactics as they adjusted plans and repositioned their daily lists of “things to do.”
One thing I learned is the importance of having contingency plans. Hurricanes are so unpredictable. We didn’t know the exact direction the hurricane was going and to what extent we needed to prepare. We figured out quickly to plan for the worse case scenario.
Plywood and hurricane shutters went up when we had the resources. We determined where the nearest shelter was or the route we were taking to a safe haven with family or friends. We gathered important documents, moved things to higher ground, removed furniture from outdoors and packed our bags. We checked evacuation routes and stayed posted to helpful hurricane alerts.