Local Leaders Prep for an Active Hurricane Season

The 2018 hurricane season is expected to be active and it is likely there will be at least two or three major storms in the area.

During a recent meeting, a presentation on the hurricane situation was made to the Hollywood Commission. This year there will be a smaller cone of uncertainty and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) will discuss forecast information beyond 48 hours. It will begin issuing 48-hour hurricane-force wind field forecasts. Some of the areas of focus for 2018 will include debris removal, vulnerable populations, emergency supplies and infrastructure, evacuation and shelter information, emergency planning and preparedness and public preparedness and outreach.

In the Hollywood area, there are more nursing homes and assisted living facilities or ALFs than anywhere else in Florida. So this means city and county emergency services personnel must be prepared to deal with large numbers of elderly and disabled people who may not be able to take care of themselves during a major storm.

Police will conduct pre- and post-storm welfare checks at ALFs and nursing homes. New state rules require ALFs and nursing homes to have an emergency plan and generator. AHCA secretary recently visited Hollywood to explain new rules to first responders, government officials, and ALF/nursing home representatives.  Fire inspectors and police will report noncompliance to AHCA.

CERT conducted a Vulnerable Population Registry call down in June and will provide welfare checks pre-storm and post-storm.

Public Works/Procurement have issued bids for new debris clearance contractors. This includes general debris clearance and private/gated communities and mechanisms to ensure contractors respond immediately after a hurricane.

Emergency Management/Public Works will offer a debris clearance program for private/gated communities. Interested communities must submit right-of entry/indemnification/cost coverage agreement to City per FEMA. This agreement only guarantees removal, not removal time.

Procurement Services and Emergency Management recently visited Port Everglades to discuss hurricane season with the City’s emergency fuel provider. Procurement is setting up emergency accounts with additional fuel vendors to save time if there is a need to place an emergency order Parking will add security staff to the Radius and Van Buren Street garages for pre-storm operations. Public Works will receive a new 2,000-gallon fuel trailer in late June. Building Division is finalizing post-storm inspection teams for critical facilities throughout Hollywood. No change in the way FPL will report post-storm power outages

Broward County currently has 13 primary general population evacuation shelters. Seven are operated by the American Red Cross. No primary shelters are located in Hollywood • Beachside Montessori and Orange Brook Elementary are secondary and tertiary shelters

McNicol Middle School is a special needs shelter. Broward County has acknowledged a shortage of shelter workers. It is working with the School Board to resolve this. Broward County does not have a designated mega-shelter.

U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson held a meeting among local leaders at the West Park City Hall to discuss what will be done in case of a major hurricane. “When Hurricane Irma hit this area, we had so many calls to FEMA about homes that had been affected. There was not enough preparation to handle number homes and ALFs that were without power after the storm. I want to make sure this never happens again,” said Wilson.

All the public officials present emphasized the need for complete preparation in case of a storm.

Dr. Barbara Sharief, mayor of the Broward Commission was at the meeting and spoke on the importance of taking hurricanes and tropical storms seriously. “We want to urge people in homes to make sure they have enough resources to get through a storm,” she said.

It is important that people with special needs be aware of the shelter options that are available for them. If necessary, they should register with the public hospital districts to ensure they will have access to buildings with power if the main power source is out for an extended period. Some people need to be in air-conditioned buildings or they need refrigeration for medicine. All the public officials present stressed the need to be prepared.

People should have supplies to last at least five days. They should also have an evacuation plan and be aware of shelter options in their area.

Picture of Author: Amanda Jones
Author: Amanda Jones

Amanda Jones specializes in social media marketing. She holds a Master's degree in Social Media Management from the University of Florida and a Social Media Professional Certificate from the University of Miami.


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