City of Plantation Podcast

Episode 22 - Storm Preparation Update

July 31, 2020 City of Plantation Episode 22
City of Plantation Podcast
Episode 22 - Storm Preparation Update
Show Notes Transcript

Thank you for listening to the City of Plantation podcast. In this episode, we'll review storm preparation procedures, as well as provide updated information about the impact of COVID-19 on preparing and working through a storm. Chief Gordon joins us on this episode, while Cary is on vacation, we welcome back him back to the show. This Podcast is aimed at keeping the residents of Plantation informed of events and important information happening throughout our city. Please subscribe to this podcast, as we will be producing new episodes weekly.

Hosts: Joel Gordon and Ezra Lubow
Producer: Ezra Lubow
Music: Oakwood Station - Epidemic Sounds
Art: The City of Plantation

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the city of plantations podcast. I am Carrie Blanchard, battalion chief of public affairs for the plantation fire department. Thank you for tuning in our podcast is designed to keep you up to date on all the latest happenings and activities in about and around the city of plantation on our episodes. We talk directly with the leaders decision makers and the movers and shakers who make plantation the great city that it is

Speaker 2:

On this episode of the city of plantations podcast. We are pleased to welcome back to the show. Deputy chief Gordon, who is filling in for Carrie while she's on vacation. We wanted to kind of circle back to an earlier episode where we discussed storm preparation as most of South Florida prepares to see what happens with the current storm that's off our coast. So welcome back, chief Gordon. Thanks. Uh , chief LeBeau . I appreciate it very much. And , uh , it's kind of an honor to be back here , uh , in place of caring . All those are tough shoes to fill. Alright , so yeah, as, as we said, we , uh, we wanted to just freshen up this episode. Uh , obviously we have the storm that's brewing off the coast and it's, it's been a little unique cause it's , um, you know, it's, it's a trap , it was a tropical storm. It's obviously now in the last couple of hours increase to a category one hurricane , um , and it's kind of stuck off The Bahamas a little bit. And at this point, whether or not it's going to impact South Florida is really an issue of how it wobbles and at what time it does. So if you look at the earlier cones from earlier in the day that you know that what they call the cone of probability , uh , it shows that we were just about outside of it, but at the 11 o'clock, it shifted back a little bit. And now it shows more of the East coast of Florida back in the cone. We talk about this every hurricane season, but at the end of the day, it's not necessarily about being able to determine with exact science, whether the storms going to affect us, but rather promoting the message that everybody should be prepared in the event that it does. And that's really why chief Gordon and I are here today is to talk about that. So we wanted to bring that message forward. I know we did an entire episode on storm preparation, but since this storms kind of bearing down on us and we don't know what the status is, we wanted to review a couple of things. So I'll start us off. One of the first things is that being prepared and going through your preparation list, going through your pantry, going through your front yard, your backyard, going through and checking your shutters, whether they be accordion, whether they be panels or wood, or whether they be hurricane windows, just doing a three 60 year house and making sure that everything's secured and all your openings are secured and , or able to be secured in a fairly rapid fashion. This is a very good exercise just to make sure that we're prepared. Cause hurricane season is going to run through October. I believe in, and Joel, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe we're anticipating a somewhat active season.

Speaker 3:

Well, we actually, it's been a we'll call it, I guess, a little bit of a hyperactive season so far, and it's kind of reminiscent if you remember 2004 , uh , when we had those four storms go through the state , um, and we went all the way back into actually into January. We were still having storms even though the season supposedly ends in November. Uh, this is very reminiscent of that. So even though, as you said, this one is probably not going to impact us heavily. It is essential that we be prepared and be ready, you know , for what's coming, not necessarily now, but up in the coming days and weeks, right?

Speaker 2:

So the first component to that is, you know, review your storm plan. And this doesn't have to be a formal plan. People vary across the spectrum. I know that I do spreadsheets and like to document things and have pictures, but you know, whatever type of plan you're going to create, there's some things you need to think about. And the first thing is, are you going to shelter in place or are you going to travel somewhere or they're family members that you want to be with , uh , that are in a local area or maybe outside of the local area. So make that decision early. Am I going to stay or am I going to go and then keep in mind that if you're going to go, you want to be able to do that before the weather comes before you're struggling with roadways that are poor weather conditions, poor visibility, and a lot of drivers doing the same exact thing. Nowhere you're going to go have that plan. Some people are going to travel to family. Some people are going to rent houses outside of the state or hotels. Some people are gonna stay in hotels. So know that in your plan we talked about when is early, as you can, you don't want to be fighting traffic. You don't want to be fighting weather. So the sooner the better, and who knows about your travel plans, what members of your family, what friends, just in the event, there's something that occurs during your travel. Uh, who's able to, to know where you're going and kind of track your movements. What else, what else do we need to talk about?

Speaker 3:

Well, I think also in line with the evacuation plans, you know, some people aren't really sure do I stay, or do I go, as you mentioned, a real good rule of thumb, just a couple of things that are recommended. Um, one, if you live in a manufactured home and you're in the impact area, you should really consider evacuating. If you live in a low lying area, that's prone to flooding, you should consider evacuating, or if your home is under renovation or under construction. So those are three things that might help you answer that question of, should I stay or should I go? I think the other thing we need to look at is a hurricane kit. You know, what do you have in a kit that , that will get you through the storm? And I think the easiest way to do that, and we have a whole list on our [email protected] of the many, many things that probably should be considered in a kit. But the first thing most important thing is when you put your kit together, keep in mind. You really have to plan for up to 72 hours of being independent. That's three days of being, you know, without assistance, you got to remember that emergency services during a storm are going to be locked down. They're not going to be able to respond. And then when that lockdown is lifted, we're going to be prioritizing where we respond and who we respond to based upon how serious the situations are. So the regular services that you're accustomed to may not be available for, we say for up to three days. So if you think about things like canned foods , um , things that are easy to store, easy to prepare and may tolerate getting blown around a little bit. Um, those are some items you should have in your kit. If you're going to have canned foods, the one mistake we've seen so many times is make sure you have a manual can opener, right? Everybody reaches for the can opener on the counter, which is plugged into the wall. And when you don't have power, it's not going to open.

Speaker 2:

And that's a good point because your food planning, everybody gets, you know , snacks, everybody gets chips and things that make you thirsty and make you drink more water. Right ? So think about in your food preparation to have 72 hours of a variety of foods that will last and also think about how you're going to prepare those foods. If you're going out to Publix and you're buying big fat steaks and a bunch of meat, and you don't have a way to refrigerate or keep that meat correct, or a way to cook it like a grill, gastro a charcoal grill, then it's going to serve no purpose. Exactly . So yeah, those are definitely some things to consider in the manual can opener. W we get that one all the time. And chief Gordon had mentioned Dolan mentioned that , um, medications and things of that nature, and in our experience, we get a lot of calls every time there's a storm and there's power loss from a couple different types of individuals as far as medical needs. So what happens is people don't plan appropriately for oxygen, oxygen delivery services are not available typically before, during and after the storm. And so people run out of oxygen. It's important to understand that we would love to help, but we are not legally allowed to give individuals oxygen bottles for home use. We're not allowed to do that. Now there's a medical emergency that necessitates oxygen, obviously that's a completely different story, right ?

Speaker 3:

And we'll take care of them in those cases. Sure. But to leave an oxygen bottle, we just can't do it.

Speaker 2:

You can't do it. And even if you drop one off and you want us to give you another, we're just, we're just not able to do that. And then the other thing is, think about some medications that require power. And that the one that comes to my mind right away is nebulizer treatments that require power or ventilators,

Speaker 3:

Right? Are those home control devices? Okay .

Speaker 2:

She paps , right? A lot of people use , if you don't have a generator, may be considering like an external battery pack or a power source to that nature that can last you, maybe 12 hours of power, depending on your medical device. It's not about idea to keep it in your house.

Speaker 3:

And one of the things that people don't realize, cause we see this a lot too , uh, when they are dependent upon medical devices and the power goes out, the first reaction is to run to the hospitals. And that's just not a viable option. Hospitals are not designed to do that. You end up backing up the emergency departments. They have no place to put you. And it becomes frustrating for everybody

Speaker 2:

Right in the hospitals for the most part are sheltering in place and deploying their weather plan or, you know, severe weather plan, whatever it may be. So that's an absolutely great point,

Speaker 3:

But I think what people need to understand is there are medical shelters available throughout Broward County, correct? These are shelters that have people that I don't want to say. They're medically trained professionals. They may not be, but at least it's a place where you can take your devices, bring your equipment and have somebody there to help you manage it.

Speaker 2:

Where would I go to find information on those shelters?

Speaker 3:

Broward.org is the place to go. That's the website that can list those. And the thing it's important to keep in mind. And this is true with pet shelters. Also, if you're going to bring your pets, you have to preregister. So you have to call ahead of time and say, Hey, I'm coming. You can't just show up at the front door.

Speaker 2:

And this falls into the review, my storm plan. Look at my store plan. If I plan on utilizing a shelter and I plan on utilizing the shelter, that's got specific capabilities. I need to think about that earlier, rather than later.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely. Absolutely. So what else is in our kit here? Well, it's just some other things to think about in the kit. You know, insurance paperwork is a big one. Not, not any, not many people on here probably remember Andrew, but one of the biggest things with Andrew was people didn't have their paperwork stored properly. And it got blown all over South Florida and trying to document, you know, you call your insurance company and Oh, what's your policy number of , I don't know, it's on my forms, which are floating in the Gulf somewhere. Um, so copies of your paperwork is critical and now with electronics, you can scan that stuff, put it on a jump drive and it's good to go forever.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Or even in the cloud. Right? I mean, if you load it to Google drive or, and I'm not plugging any particular service, but there are a lot of cloud services, storage services where you can put those things. So that's a good dog.

Speaker 3:

Exactly. Um , changes of clothes, dry clothing is going to important. Um, you may be wet. You may be caught in the rain or you going to be sweating a lot. It's hot and you're going to be doing heavy work , uh, dry towels. And now you can, and I'm not quite sure where to find them, but I know you can find these compact compressed towels that are about the size of a quarter when they're packed up and you'll open them up. And they burst out to the size of a beach towel for goodness sakes. Um, so those kinds of things are critical. Uh , think about the kids. We tend to forget about the kids. They need to be entertained. They need to be kept busy. And of course, I'm sure with this COVID stuff, we will become experts in how to keep our kids entertained at home. Um, but think about those things being packed in the kit as well. And baby supplies, if you have little ones at home diapers and formula and food and medication for the kids as well, those are absolutely critical. And those are things sometimes we forget.

Speaker 2:

Right. And I think we're in , we're in a hurry to cover some of the things that we consider big and, you know, yeah, you're absolutely right. The other thing to think about too is everybody seems to be in the mad dash to collect food. And we forget about water, most human beings in a survival situation. And I'm not suggesting that that's, what's going to occur now, but most human beings in a survival situation can go without food much longer than they can go without water. So it's imperative to have that water. And if you're going to rely on tap water, the important thing to consider there is if there is any type of flooding, oftentimes that could potentially taint the water supplies in various cities, we've seen that occur. Or , and then there is no water. So it's always a good idea to have a couple of racks of bottled water, or if you have water service order, some extra bottles or whatever, it may be on hand. And there are some tricks, right? The bathtub you want to cover the bathtub check that one's pretty cool.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. That one's actually kind of neat. And the rule of thumb before I get into that is , uh , usually they say a gallon of water per person per day is a good rule of thumb. And again, keeping in mind that 72 hour window, but what you can do is , um , you can plug your bathtub and , and fill it with water and put a couple of drops of bleach into the water and that'll keep it clean. Um, obviously if you have a problem where, you know, you have stuff that falls into the tub, that's going to kind of defeat that. And that is a possibility. Um, but you can, you can actually cover the tub once it's full. And like I said, just a few little drops of bleach, not on not a half a gallon of bleach, a couple little drops is all you need and that water is potable. You can drink it, you can bake with it, you can do whatever you need to do. So that's a neat trick. And you know what I did see , um, in some of these , um, uh, like these wilderness stores that these camping stores, they actually have these collapsible jugs that go into your tub and you can actually fill that with water and it, you know, it's just a jug of water.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Yeah. And the other thing too, if you, if you feel pretty confident that you've got a very good water supply for drinking and for cooking and for all those things, the other thing that I've seen people do in the tubs is they'll fill the tubs with ice and then they'll put things that they want to refrigerate that won't fit in the cooler and then simply covering now with a moving blanket or a real heavy blanket. No , it's not gonna last a long time, but you at the very least get a couple of days out of it. So yeah, that's a pretty good, it's another strategy you , uh , to utilize

Speaker 3:

And also keep in mind that , um, you can actually freeze bottles of water in your freezer. And if you keep the refrigerator and the freezer closed it'll last for a few days.

Speaker 2:

Well , yeah, I will. And that's it . That's a great, my wife freezes Gatorade bottles all the time for the kids. So then they get a little slushy and cold air . Very good. So again, chief Gordon mentioned, you can find a complete list of our recommendations for hurricane kit supplies on the city's website, which is www.plantation.org. We want to talk about test fitting shutters, right? And obviously for a accordion shutters, we don't necessarily need to test fit those, but we do need to do is we need to actuate them, correct . Make sure that debris and rust and things of that nature haven't collected in the tracks and that you can open and close it easily .

Speaker 3:

They're lubricated in the locks actually

Speaker 2:

Little WD 40 on there. Absolutely. So a lot of people don't utilize accordion shutter . Some people use panel shutters . So it's always a good idea to make sure that you dig through everything in your garage and have your panels labeled. And you're good to go.

Speaker 3:

You have all the bolts and everything and all the wing nuts. And,

Speaker 2:

And I want to emphasize on that, get assistance . Don't try to put up difficult shutters on your own because the problem with that is we see a lot of injuries. Yeah . We see a lot of injuries. So try and get some assistance in order to facilitate that so that you reduce the potential for injury

Speaker 3:

Wearing gloves and eye protection are critical when you're handling those shutters, doesn't hurt, they're heavy and those are sharp edges.

Speaker 2:

It doesn't hurt. What else? What else do we want to test? Right?

Speaker 3:

The other one , if you have a generator, obviously you want to test, run your generator, you know, just put a little bit of gas in it, fire it up, make sure it runs clean. Make sure you have fresh oil in it. And remember when you place your generator not to place it in your open windows or doors, it's gotta be outside. Uh, we've said this so many times when we hear this, this is such a tragedy. Um, people run their generators. They don't realize it . That a generator off gas is something called carbon monoxide and carbon monoxide is toxic. It's poisonous. The problem with it is, is you can't smell it. You can't see it. And you don't know it's there until it's too late,

Speaker 2:

Literally call it the silent killer, like literally.

Speaker 3:

Um , so keeping that generator away from any place that that could leach into the house or into your home is critical.

Speaker 2:

Cool. And that's a great point because, you know, we can't emphasize enough generators don't belong in your home. Gas grills do not belong in your home. Charcoal grills do not belong in your home, make sure that you're not bringing those inside regardless of what the situation is because of the obvious hazards with gas is high heat and flames and things like that. Evacuation plans. Let's talk about that. I know we hit on it a little bit about whether we should stay or go, but let's talk about evacuation plans if they get implemented.

Speaker 3:

So I think the biggest thing to understand, first of all, is to watch for an evacuation order. Um , and there's really two kinds of evacuation orders you're going to run into. One is a recommendation. And one is an actual order that says, get out , um, recommendations or suggestions. It's like, it's a really good idea. And we discussed earlier about the reasons you might consider evacuating. Um, but what we also mentioned about where are you going to go? The , obviously the ideal situations, if you can be with friends or relatives outside the area , uh , that's your best case scenario. Hotels are a good option. The , the one thing that we don't think about all the time or the one thing we don't really discuss much is shelters. Um, and , and we'll get to shelters in the covert environment in a minute. But I think the most important thing people understand is a shelter is not a comfortable or an ideal situation. We always like to say, it's a lifeboat , not a cruise ship .

Speaker 2:

It's not a Marriott, right? It's probably not even a holiday Inn express.

Speaker 3:

Exactly. It's going to , it's going to be a , uh , a mat on a floor, probably if you're lucky, a folding cot, if you have a folding Cod , I suggest you bring it, you're going to have to bring your own comfort supplies. They will provide you with food. Um, again, it's not going to be the Marriott, but you know, it'll be sustainable stuff to keep you in the short term.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And it's , it's really meant to deal with the necessity of the emergency. So it's functional.

Speaker 3:

Right? And I think the other thing to keep in mind is in the, you know, with the , the, the environment of COVID , uh, the red cross who runs our shelters in Broward County has come out with guidelines on how to maintain sheltering in the face of the COVID crisis. And what you need to understand is, and some of you may think this is better, but there's going to be a lot of social distance between people in these shelters where there wasn't before your , your neighbor was somebody you never knew. Right . Um, which I guess is good. However, what that means also is they're not going to be able to allow as many people in the shelter as they did before. So you may have to travel greater distances to find a shelter

Speaker 2:

GoTo . Right? And the other thing too, is really don't want people to be surprised if they show up to the shelter and they are mandated to wear masks, right? This was not be an optional situation whatsoever. Obviously in a County, we have a mass mandate as it stands. So it really shouldn't be a surprise to anybody, but no one should have an expectation to go into a shelter and not wearing a mask to protect everybody else from them and keep everybody

Speaker 3:

Right. And if you have masks, bring your own mask , bring your own hand, sanitizer, it , bring your own sanitizing equipment because there may not be enough. And you know, it just may not be to what you're expecting.

Speaker 2:

Right? Absolutely. We hit on that , uh , medical shelters, pet shelters, again , uh , www.broward.org is your resource to find those particular shelters. We talked about notifying your friends and family out of town, as far as plans and keeping everybody in the loop. Uh , the more people that know what your plans are, the better it is. Any event that something catastrophic occurs that we can make contact with you or your family can make contact with you and keeps everybody updated. And where they're at social distancing, chief , chief Gordon mentioned it 100%. We need to maintain social distancing. And , um , we talked about it in the shelters, but if you're going to have family over at your house, if you're going to have a very small children who have not been tested, or even teenagers who have not been tested around your elderly relatives, consider a means to isolate those two parties, as best as possible, and potentially wear masks in your house. Not comfortable, no one wants to do it, but keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to protect your elderly and vulnerable individuals from being exposed to COVID while you're sheltering in your homes. Yeah .

Speaker 3:

This is probably not the best season to consider a hurricane party for her ,

Speaker 2:

Her , right, right. Absolutely. What else we wanted to talk about information before, during, and after what, what are some of the best ways to get information?

Speaker 3:

So it's , it's critical to stay informed during, during an event like this. Uh , and there are many, many avenues out there, and it's important that you choose one or two or even three that you feel are reliable enough for you, that you can actually access the city of plantation itself, puts out information. Uh , we put it out twice a day. We put it out at eight o'clock in the morning and four o'clock in the afternoon to sort of comply with the updates that come from the national hurricane center. Uh, those will go out over, there'll be posted on our website. First of all, plantation.org. Uh, they will go out over our social media accounts. Each department has its own Twitter feed. Uh, we have Facebook pages. We have Instagram , uh , if it's breaking news and it's critical, we'll use ever bridge, which is that reverse nine 11 system, it will call you directly. Um , the other thing we have is our citizens hotline. And even though it may seem a little old fashioned to pick up the phone and dial information, if we lose power, we lose connectivity. The landline phones are going to be your best source of information. So (954) 585-2363. That's our citizen hotline again, (954) 585-2363 . We'll carry the same information that is carried everywhere else.

Speaker 2:

Excellent, excellent. So people, you know, there are multiple means for everybody, our residents, and even individuals who are listening to this show outside of our city , uh , there are multiple resources in order to stay informed and that as imperative, and one other note, we didn't really mention it and , uh, and it might just be me, but I always make sure that I have a functional whether radio that can be operated with a crank, because if you lose power all the way across the board, remember your , we may lose cellular service or you won't be able to utilize your phones. There'll be no wifi. There'll be no power. Correct. And an actual old school AMFM radio that can be cranked to charge is a very good tool to have. And they're very inexpensive. Absolutely. An am radio, believe it or not is the most reliable signal it'll broadcast in almost anything. We did have the am radio station here , um , that doesn't operate anymore, or are excellent podcast processes kind of taken over for that technology. So technology has moved on, but if you do have, you know, stored away with your bell bottom pants and your , uh , your Paisley shirts might be an old am radio, you know, that still works. Yep . Absolutely. Anything else we didn't cover that, that we want to close up with? I think we've got most of it. I think we hit the highlights. Um , again, this was just a review because we do have the storm coming off the coast. Um , and it's just a refresher. It's just the idea to keep yourselves alert, keep informed and just stay up to date on what's happening as far as this all goes. Absolutely. Well, thank you, chief Gordon for coming in. Thank you for having me back this fun. And , uh , we'll get you back your Carolee back next week and everybody can calm down and go. That's bent much better. We'll get you back in. But , um, yeah. So as always, our closing message folks is stay safe, wash your hands, wear your mask, social distance and stay informed and take care of each other. Absolutely take care of everybody.

Speaker 1:

You've been listening to the city of plantation podcast, restrict to bring your accurate and timely information. Please continue to tune into our podcast episodes and also catch up with us on social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and next door. If you have questions, send them to ask [email protected] and we will answer your questions directly. Thank you for taking the time to listen to our podcast and stay safe, everyone.