OUR POSITION: Was your house in order pre-hurricane?
While the Bahamas were devastated with fierce winds and torrents of rain over the long Labor Day weekend, Southwest Florida enjoyed one of the loveliest weekends of the summer.
Our great fortune.
The early threat that Hurricane Dorian might shift course to the west brought some local cancellations — notably the annual Pioneer Days festival and parade in Englewood — and full mobilization of county government emergency management. The dry run-through seemed to go smoothly.
School was back as usual Wednesday. The day before, firefighters from DeSoto County and elsewhere in our area traveled to the east coast and stood by in case their expertise was needed. Our hats off to all who participated. Another tip to the agency and fire departments who coordinated the backup. Prepare for the worst; hope for the best. Kudos.
The national focus naturally turned toward the coastline communities in the Southeast still in the path of the far-weaker storm. But the extraordinary devastation in the Bahamas will likely command most attention.
Hurricane Dorian hit the islands of the Bahamas with winds up to an unfathomable 185 mph. And then it sat in place and continued to pummel the island and terrorize inhabitants. The experience is, again, unfathomable. The loss of life is tragic. The property destruction, as of this writing, has not yet been calculated, but no doubt will be staggering. The need is obvious. Please be generous with donations.
Meanwhile, we here should consider this a refresher in hurricane prep. It’s fair to assume, from the looks of supermarket aisles last week, that most people now have a cache of jugged water on hand. Hang on to it.
The same with other provisions scooped up in a rush late last week. As you probably observed first-hand, the threat sent a lot of us to the market and gas stations. Take note. This is what happens. When threats get real, we act. The reality is, many of us finally did the things we might have done much earlier.
Human nature. But there’s value in the exercise, so let’s test results:
Was your home secure? Did you clear your property of potential projectiles last weekend, as projections dictated? Tree limbs trimmed?
Flashlights and batteries? A backup tank of propane for the grill? A generator?
Good with meds? Did your pharmacy text you and tell you normal restrictions on monthly prescriptions were suspended in the emergency? (Ours did.)
Did you put important papers in one place? In an airtight container?
Did you withdraw extra cash from the bank, in case ATMs went down? You can always redeposit.
Was there discussion in the family of possible evacuation up north or to a shelter? Did you speak with a friend or a family member with a newer home farther inland about the possibility of an overnight or two?
And did you take a look at the emergency management pages on your county’s website? DesotaBOCC.com, Charlottecountyfl.gov, or Scgov.net. If you care for a person with special needs, did you register online beforehand? Print out a to-do checklist and follow it?
Another thing: Climate change is causing harsher weather events and stronger hurricanes are threatening our peaceful existence on the Gulf Coast. Government policies and personal behaviors need to change to meet a growing challenge. Demand it.
And one more thing: Please, don’t forget the Bahamas. The people of those islands need whatever you can give.