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Is your association prepared for hurricane season?

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With literally thousands of community associations along the U.S. coastline subject to the deadly force of hurricanes, people who live with the threat year after year are all too accustomed to storm season as summer approaches. Even though you think you’ll know what to do in the event of a hurricane, do you really have a detailed plan?

“Our employees go through an intensive hurricane training course each year and are armed with a hurricane guide detailing exactly what to do in the event of a hurricane,” says Associa Senior Vice President Chris Harrison. “We want to get the message out to residents to take precautions seriously, even if they think they are ready.”

When a storm is closing in, you MUST be prepared and ready to put your plan into action:

HURRICANE PREPARATION - GATHER PERSONAL SUPPLIES:

• Water – at least 1 gal. per person for three to seven days

• Non-perishable packaged or canned food, juices, snack foods

• Non-electric can opener

• Paper plates/plastics utensils

• Garbage bags

• First-aid kit

• Flashlight(s)/batteries

• Rain gear

• Medicines/prescriptions

• Cash – ATM and/or banks may not be open for a few days/weeks

• Gas – fill your car with fuel in case of an evacuation

• Fully charged emergency cell phone

• Waterproof container of important documents

HURRICANE EVACUATION:

• Contact family/friends as to the situation

• Leave in daylight if possible

• Secure/lock home or apartment; remove everything from balconies

• Place towels on all window and door sills in case of water

• Do not tape windows, this will not strengthen them

• Turn off all water faucets

• Turn off all electrical breakers (except refrigerator)

• Have a primary and secondary evacuation route (traffic may be heavy)

Whether you are located in a high-rise building or living in a suburban neighborhood, if you are instructed to evacuate or hear the sounding of an alarm you should yield immediate action.

The web pages (floridaswater.com/storm) include links to flood statements and warnings, river stage and flooding data, and local government emergency contacts. Also included are links to the National Weather Service, Florida Division of Emergency Management and the U.S. Geological Survey's interactive map of current conditions in the state.

Florida's many waterways and extensive coastline make the state especially vulnerable to floods. When hurricanes and other storms bring high volumes of rain in short periods of time, flooding can result. Partnerships between the public and government entities are necessary to minimize flooding impacts, protect personal property and assist flood victims during and after storms.

Local water districts work closely with local governments year-round to develop improved flood management plans and to help communities establish and implement strategies to deal with floods once they occur. Local governments are the primary entities responsible for emergency responses during storms, such as implementing state-of-emergency declarations, evacuations and rescue efforts during flood-related disasters.

In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, the water districts assist local governments by issuing emergency orders that allow for the pumping of water to alleviate flooding when public health and safety are at risk. They also issues emergency orders to authorize repair, replacement or restoration of public and private property.

Be prepared, be aware, and be careful. Although it is forecast to be an average to below average season, it only takes one storm for it to become a catastrophe.

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