Living in Central Florida, I am no stranger to hurricanes. Fortunately, we do not live on the coast, so for the most part we are spared the brunt of most of these storms.
In 2004, we were hit with Charley, Frances, and Ivan. We lost power during all three, the longest being about 18 hours. Some of my co-workers were not so lucky. They lost power for more than a week.
Hurricane Matthew skirted the coast of Florida this past week. We accelerated at work, and I am so proud of how the entire office pulled together to Get Things Done. Even my boss came in on her vacation to pitch in. We worked with the outer offices and completed our extra work in plenty of time for me to release the staff early on Thursday so they make their own preparations.
We were lucky at our house. Lots of wind and rain but no flooding and just a few small branches breaking off. We never lost electricity, but my folks lost internet and cable, and other friends lost power.
The death toll in the United States as of this writing is 17. In Haiti is is near 900. This is a storm that will go down in the history books.
Some are saying the media and government overhyped the danger, whether for ratings or to further a climate change agenda. Listening to Governor Scott and other Florida officials, I believe they made the right call. Mandatory evacuations keep residents safe, especially if first responders cannot get out. In such high winds and potential flooding, it is unsafe to send out EMTs and firefighters. As Governor Scott stated again and again, if choose not to evacuate and have an emergency, you’re on your own. They simply cannot send out anyone to help you.
I hope Hurricane Matthew is the last big storm we have for a while. What those of us who live in the paths of these storms have to understand is that the first and best line of defense is ourselves. Whether it means boarding up windows or evacuating to a shelter, prepare so you don’t have to rely on others to rescue you.