“HURRICANE WARNING FOR WINDERMERE!”
If you heard this, what would your first thoughts be? What do I do now? Am I ready now? OR – I am ready!
What is a Hurricane?
Hurricanes are tropical cyclones – storms that rotate counterclockwise with wind speeds in excess of 74 mph. On average, six Atlantic hurricanes develop each year. When a hurricane moves toward populated areas, it often causes severe damage. As the hurricane moves forward, its right front quadrant is typically where the most devastation occurs.
Hurricane season begins in the early summer and last through late fall – June through November. It is important for you to know what to do in case of an emergency. Your personal action plan details who does what, where you go and what you take along. Practice drills, like the departments of the Town of Windermere does in conjunction with Orange County Emergency Management, will help prepare you in the event you need to implement your plan.
Hopefully, you are as ready as one can be for any incident. If not, the following is to assist you, and provide some guidance that may help you be prepared. Even though this is focused toward hurricanes, these brief guidelines work for any incident – afternoon storms, power outages, natural and man-made disasters. These disaster preparedness kits should be prepared well before hurricane season begins, kept throughout the year and checked annually.
AT HOME EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT (min):
- Two Flashlights.
- A battery-operated radio.
- Six extra sets of batteries.
- Gel freezer packs to keep food cold.
- A cooler.
- Matches and a lighter.
- A camping stove and/or grill.
- A tarp, towels, can opener, large plastic trash bags.
- Drinking water in plastic containers – a minimum one gallon of water per person per day for 14 days.
- Non-perishable food in cans or sealed containers enough for 14 days. Don’t forget the pets!
- A cell phone, if possible.
EVACUATION KIT (min):
- A map and a compass.
- Sleeping bags and/or blankets for each member of the family.
- A can of tire sealer.
- Air or foam mattresses.
- Identification for everyone.
- Important documents.
- Extra clothes, shoes, etc.
- Soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, paper towels, etc.
- Books, games, playing cards, etc.
- Food and water from at home supplies.
All family members with Special Needs should register with the Orange County Special Needs Registry
BEFORE THE STORM:
- Fill your bathtub(s) and sinks with water. To keep from leaking, cover the drain with a clean sheet of plastic before filling
- Fill clean plastic or glass containers with water. Store the bottled water in a cool, dark area.
- Remove any loose lawn furniture or other items in your yard that could take flight in the winds.
- Make sure your vehicle is full of gas and withdraw money.
AT THE MARINA/DOCK:
- Check all cleats, ropes, chocks and winches for strength. Double the rigging lines fore and aft.
- Ensure lines are high enough on pilings to allow for extreme ebb and flow of rising waters.
- Tie old tires around the boat to protect it from being pushed into other docked boats, piers, pilings, etc.
- Loose items should be removed or secured inside the boat.
WHEN THE ORDER IS GIVEN TO EVACUATE – EVACUATE!
DON’T PANIC. An orderly, but immediate evacuation will help ensure that you arrive safely at your destination.
- Take your At-Home and Evacuation Kits.
- Turn off water, gas and electricity.
- Lock all windows and doors.
- Call friends and relatives to inform them of your destination. When you arrive, call again to let them know you are safe.
- If you have pets, make sure your destination is pet friendly.
WEATHERING THE STORM AT HOME:
If you do not live within the “evacuation area,” and you decide to stay, do not leave your home. Use this checklist as you prepare to stay home during the storm.
- Secure all windows and doors.
- Keep updated on the storm’s status by listening to advisory reports on the radio or TV.
- Remove all loose items from your yard.
- Keep flashlights handy.
- Have your Emergency Supply Kits near.
- For protection in extremely high winds, stay away from windows or any glass-covered openings during the storm. Go to the lowest floor of your home. Find a room that is structurally reinforced – a bathroom or closet – and wait until the storm passes.
- Do not use your computer or electrical devices during the storm.
- Do not leave your house until it has been confirmed that it is safe to do so.
AFTER THE STORM – WINDERMERE RESIDENCES:
Once the ALL CLEAR has been given by Emergency Management:
- If you or someone in your household is injured and/or a life threating emergency exist – CALL 911.
- If you want to notify the Town of a possible safety concern, i.e., tree down/washed out road, vandalism, or other safety sensitive concern – Call the Non-Emergency number 407-905-6333.
- Before the public all clear is given, and the sustained winds are below 45 mph, the Town staff has begun assessing the damage, clearing roads for emergency medical personal and conducting safety checks of the residence.
- Take account of your immediate safety and the interior of your home. If you are safe to stay indoors, do so. Going outside may place you or your loved ones in danger. If possible, call a friend or family member outside of your area to let them know you are ok. Keep listening to radio and news reports of the situation.
- Once you feel it’s safe to go outdoors, take account of your personal property – home, vehicles, etc. – take photos of any damage to your property. Use caution, the dangers still exist even though the storm has passed.
- Only hire licensed contractors/certified arborist for any repair work that may be needed. To verify a licensed contractor, go to the Department of Business & Professional Regulations myfloridalicense.com/dbpr, or to verify a certified arborist, go to www.isa-arbor.com.
- Do Not venture beyond your property until crews have completed any and all work in the roads, etc.
First Responders (Public Works, EMS, Law Enforcement) – were activated before the approach of the storm. Please allow them the time and space to aid in the immediate life threatening responses, then time to clean and clear the roadways. DO NOT go in or around down trees, power lines, or unless a personal emergency exist, please stay off the roads.
We hope this was helpful information for our residence and the friends of Windermere. Let’s hope we have a calm season, although if conditions exist that we are as prepared as possible. Stay Safe and Stay Informed. – Scott Brown, Public Works Director.
Tropial Storm Isaias - SANDBAGS
4801 W Colonial Drive, near Pine Hills
1751 Rhode Island Woods Circle, in south Orange County