Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail. Yep, this post is about Hurricane Irma, well not so much about Irma as it is about how people conducted themselves before and after the hurricane passed through. There is no excuse for bad manners. There is also no excuse for failing to plan.
Before I begin I would like to send out a great big Thank You to the following groups of people.
First I would like to thank the “Bubba Brigade”. These people exercised great initiative as they always do after these types of disasters. These are the people, men and women from the communities who go out immediately after the storm to begin clearing the roads of trees so as to allow passage in and out of areas. These men and women use their own time, energy, chain saws and trucks to help their neighbors and communities. At times they place themselves in great peril.
Second I would like to thank 2 local radio stations, 97.3 WSKY and 98.5 WKTK for staying on the air providing information and updates along with a bit of humor to help people laugh.
Third I would like to thank the employees of the power companies who worked so hard to restore power to homes and businesses.
Fourth I would like to thank the employees of the tree companies who helped clear the way for the power companies.
Fifth I would like all of the first responders who were out trying to help the citizens.
All of these people left their families behind to do what they do and did.
Now let us get to the point of this post. Disappointment before Irma. I start this out with a question. When is the time to prepare for a hurricane? There are three possible answers, choose one. Before the arrival of the hurricane. When a hurricane forms that is possibly threatening to your area. Prior to hurricane season. My answer is at the beginning of hurricane season. I actually begin my preparations well before hurricane season, failure is not an option. Three things are a given when a tropical storm or hurricane arrives. 1 The lights are going to go out. 2 There is going to be destruction on some level. 3 There will be flooding in some areas. I am writing this as a Floridian, tropical storms, thunder storms(some of which are severe), and hurricanes are a part of life in Florida. Tropical storms and hurricanes do not come every year but sooner or later they will come and sometimes one behind another, 2004 ring a bell? So why not be prepared?
There is a fourth thing that always accompanies tropical storms as well as hurricanes. I did not mention it above because this deserves great attention, it was not an oversight. There will be shortages, again this is a given. There will be shortages of fuel, food, water and almost everything else even if it is only isolated to a geographic location. This possibility should also be figured into your planning.
If it is a given that the lights are going to go out, why do you not have a generator? The time to buy one is before hurricane season. The day after the storm passes through is not the time to find a generator. You will be hunting a generator along with umpteen thousands of others who have lost power. If you do find one it will most likely be the wrong one, either to little or too much generator.
If it is a given that there will be damage on some scale and especially if you have large trees near your house you needed a tarp or two long ago. When you have a hole in your roof a tarp will come in handy, along with a way to secure it. The same applies to tarps as it did with generators.
If it is a given that flooding will occur, and you live in a flood prone area you should be prepared to evacuate. You should do this on your own and not wait for some government official to tell you to evacuate. If you live on or near a beach you know what a storm surge can do. Plan early plan ahead.
If it is a given that there will be shortages, why do you not have an ample supply of the things that will be in short supply. Not to the point of hoarding, but to the point of getting you by. Fuel, or the lack of became an issue before and after Irma. Why on earth did you not fill your tank when it was half full? A vehicle with even a half full tank will get you a lot farther than one that is empty if you should have to evacuate. Nothing was in short supply before hurricane season yet you had little if anything when Irma was bearing down on you. It pained me deeply to hear about women almost getting into a fist fight over a case of water. Panic does cause a new set of problems. Some local stores opened even without electricity, cash only. What you only had plastic?
Now let us go post Irma. This period was even worse than the time Irma was bearing down on us. Fuel was still in short supply as was food and everything else. Fuel trucks sat on the highways stuck in traffic unable to reach their destinations. Trucks bringing provisions for the stores sat in traffic as well. Crews trying to restore power were also stuck in traffic. The highways were a total gridlock. It was said for a few days after Irma if you could get to 20 mph on I-75 you were considered speeding. Evacuees were attempting to get home, there was not much use to getting back to the Keys, but they were on the roads. The exercise of a little patience would have gone a long way towards speeding some things up.
And there is this. I have heard people trying to sell their generators. Are you kidding me with two full months left in Hurricane season? Not to mention next year and all the years after. Hurricanes can and do occur outside of the traditional hurricane season, June 1st – November 30th.
Many people blamed Gov. Scott for the shortages, especially the shortage of fuel. I don’t think Gov. Scott owns a refinery much less a gas station, or a fleet of fuel trucks. Many others were waiting on government assistance. I sometimes wonder what the hades happened to the people, especially the people from Florida. This state was tamed and settled by some hardy people, surely they had some descendants. Where did they go, or what happened to them? Then I got to thinking about some of the people in this area. Some of them moved here from the big cities and brought their bad manners and bad habits with them. Still others moved here from other states, and like the former city dwellers they brought their bad habits and bad manners with them. It is plain to see, these people failed to assimilate.
The good news is that some who still live in Florida are the descendants of the original Floridians and Georgians, the Cracker Culture, though we are sorely outnumbered. Descendants of the Scots and the Irish and we still act like it. Self-Reliant. Self-Sufficient. We don’t stand around with our hand out, we instead roll up our sleeves and get busy doing what needs doing when it needs doing. We take care of our own and offer a hand to others, a hand-up not a hand-out.
God Bless Florida
God Bless Dixie