Hurricane preparations always need updating

There always is reason to update your thinking about hurricane preparation. That was the message delivered by Roslyn Viterbo, of the Miami-Dade Department of Emergency Management, to members of the Miami-Dade Police Hammocks District Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) on Apr. 28. “Did you know why we’ll get a hurricane warning this year when a tropical storm is due?” she asked. “The Weather Bureau this year will issue a warning for up to 74-mile per hour winds.

“It’s because they’ve decided you won’t have an easy time putting up hurricane shutters in 50-mile-per-hour gale winds, just 36 hours before a Category I hurricane fringe is due.” Do you know you’re nearest pet shelter? It’s Tropical Park for Kendall residents, Viterbo explained. It’s one of three in Miami- Dade, limited to the first 400 owners who register; service animals such as seeing-eye dogs are accepted at all evacuation centers, including schools.

“You have to be registered in advance if you want to enter a county shelter that takes pets,” she added. “And that includes parrots, too!”

Details on pet caring in shelters are available by calling 3-1-1, she advised.

“While many supermarkets and service stations now have generators to operate without power, remember that ATMs may not function to allow you to get cash for payments,” Viterbo said. “Some branch banks do have generators, but do you know if that applies to yours? Better check it out.

“And are you sure you know what to do with your pool?” she continued. “Remember when It used to be to ‘drain it completely’ until rainsoaked grounds ‘popped’ out pool shells.” The current guideline is to drain standing pool water to a depth of six inches below the skimmer (chlorine) line. Don’t pitch lawn chairs in the pool, bring them inside.

“Locating a safe interior spot (like a bathroom without windows) is the ideal place because recent hurricanes have spawned tornadoes that can collapse roofing,” she noted. “That’s why you want to equip it with an emergency kit, too.”

She advises to check your flood plain status. “If you are in a flood zone, think equally about water levels as well as windstorm threats, inside your home,” Viterbo said. “Make a plan, but make sure it includes precautions for flooding, evacuation, pets and how to care for older people who can’t get around.”

A hurricane evacuation center list is released to the public annually on May 1, based on geographic location, capacity, structural integrity, accessibility for people with disabilities and amenities such as restrooms designed for adult use.

The primary group of 20 hurricane evacuation centers is sorted into four waves of five schools that are geographically disbursed around the county.

Primary hurricane evacuation centers meet all the aforementioned criteria and additionally have a capacity greater than 1,000; have a full-service kitchen which can store a two- to three-day supply of food; ample parking, and evacuees have access to all shelter areas in the facility during the lockdown period.

To review your hurricane plan, guidance is available by logging on to < > and linking to “Department” to find the Department of Emergency Management page. For more assistance, call 305-488-5400.

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