Articles Posted in Hurricane Awareness & Prepareness

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As Florida residents know, hurricanes season is upon us, requiring special preparation and awareness to prevent injuries. Whether you are a veteran hurricane survivor or you are new to the South Florida area, it is important to understand the risks associated with hurricane weather patterns. Hurricane Andrea’s flash storm appearance is a legitimate reminder to be prepared and alert this season.

Your safety and survival will depend on being aware and flexible in the event a serious storm is forecast. Our Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys are passing on information from the Florida Highway Patrol to keep motorists safe this season.

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In other cases, afternoon thunderstorms and other severe weather present additional risks.

Whether you sense a change in weather patterns, get a phone call from a friend or hear a warning on the news, it is never too early to take action and be prepared. At every stage, you should monitor the progress of a storm and follow instructions provided by emergency management officials. You should be especially aware of traffic, road conditions, road construction, lane closures, flooding, and other details that could put you in a dangerous position.

If possible, you should stay put. Do not leave your home or try to travel in the event of a storm. Even if you are not at home, you should be prepared to stay where you are, even for long periods of time. In many cases, injuries and deaths occur during the aftermath of a storm, when a motorist does not realize the dangers of flooding or other hazards on the road. Sightseers and other curious observers of the storm can also create obstacles for emergency personnel who are trying to respond to those in need.

When behind the wheel, you should slow down. It may be difficult to see the roadway in front of you which could cause you to rear-end another driver, hydroplane, or miss when you are running into flash flooding. When behind the wheel, you should also be cautious of high winds. Inclement weather conditions including rain, winds, and hail can affect all vehicles. Wind gusts can make driving especially difficult for some drivers, especially when turning or changing lanes. Motorcyclists, bus drivers and truck drivers should pay extra attention to how weather conditions can affect driving and safety.

Always pay extra attention during a storm. You may be in familiar territory, but not realize that an intersection device is down or a road has been closed. In some cases, a law enforcement officer may be directing traffic. You should follow his or her directions. If a sign is down and there is no officer present, treat the intersection as you would a four-way stop.

Never drive into moving water. Flash floods are extremely dangerous and cause a number of deaths and drowning every year. If you cannot see the roadway beneath the water, remember that a roadway could have been washed away and the water may be deeper than it seems.

Lastly, the Florida Department of Highway Vehicle Safety and Motor Vehicles encourages all drivers to update emergency contact information. Drivers who have a current license can enter up to two contacts in the Emergency Contact Information database.
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It’s June and do you know what that means? If you’re a Florida resident, we’re sure you do. It’s officially Hurricane season!

This is that season from June 1st through November 30th when we sit in front of the television and keep an eye on every little storm that’s brewing out there. Unfortunately, there are times when these storms make it to shore and cause catastrophic damage, devastation and injury. To help you and your family to prepare for hurricane injury in West Palm Beach and elsewhere, Broward County released information regarding safety tips and preparations.

It’s important to get your plan in order now. Waiting until the last minute can leave you without a plan, without supplies and in danger for some serious injuries and damages in the event of a hurricane.
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“All residents have a responsibility to be prepared in case of an emergency, with sufficient food, water and other supplies to sustain themselves and their families for three to five days,” said Chuck Lanza, with the Broward County Emergency Management Division.

Our West Palm Beach injury lawyers understand that Broward County hasn’t experienced a direct hit from a hurricane since we saw Hurricane Wilma back in 2005.

However, it’s always important to be ready and prepared for these events. This could be the year. Are you ready? During the summer season, residents shouldn’t only be focused on hitting the beach and soaking up the sun, but they should also be worried about how to prepare their home for a storm and how to keep family members safe in these kinds of emergency situations.

Here are some tips to get you started:

-Make sure that your family has a hurricane emergency plan. Broward County offers you a sample one to get your started.

-Set up shelter options. Are you going to stay home or will you be setting out to a shelter in the event of a severe hurricane. If you’re planning one going to a general population shelter, remember that preregistration is not available.

-If you have an elderly person in your family, consider registering their personal information with the Vulnerable Population Registry. This will help you to locate them if something happens and they get separated from you during a hurricane.

-If your family has pets, remember that they’re not accepted at all shelters. Be sure to find one that suits your needs beforehand.

-Stock up! You want to make sure that you and your family have enough supplies to last through a hurricane and its aftermath. Make sure you’ve got enough water and nonperishable food items to supply your family. Here’s a sample hurricane supply list to help you round up the necessities. Remember that you typically want enough supplies to last you and your family for eight weeks.

-Secure your home for the worst. Make sure the trees are trimmed and there’s no loose lawn furniture outside.
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June ushers in the official start of the 2010 hurricane season in Florida and our Palm Beach injury lawyers urge residents to take a weekend to ensure they are properly prepared.

The Palm Beach Post reports that a recent survey found Floridians under-prepared and under-motivated. Little wonder, since recent seasons have been quiet in the wake of 2005, which was the deadliest and most active hurricane season since modern record keeping began in 1928.
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“Too few people in the most dangerous areas realize they’re at risk, and too many people in relatively safe locations think they’re at greater risk than they are,” said Florida State University geography professor Jay Baker.

Baker’s study was commissioned by the Florida Division of Emergency Management. It found that two-thirds of people at the greatest risk for evacuation don’t believe they would be at risk from wind or rising water.

Highlights of the study include:

-About half don’t have a definitive evacuation plan.

-Very few understood the lead time for watches and warnings, which are changing this year. Hurricane watches will be issued if conditions are possible on the coast within 48 hours. Warnings will be issued when conditions are expected within 36 hours.

-Most residents said they had emergency lighting, important papers, prescription medications, battery-powered radios, and adequate gasoline. But they were less likely to have adequate water and ice than during a 2006 survey.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management offers a Disaster Planning website that provides visitors with tools for designing a Family Plan, Business Plan, Plan to Strengthen your Home and a Plan for Kids.

The Sun-Sentinel also offers a hurricane readiness plan for South Florida residents:

-Plans for safe storage of boats and cars.

-Hurricane shutters and window protection.

-Plans for the family.

-Protecting pets and animals.

-Finding the safest place in your home.

-Evacuation plans.

-Seeking refuge at a shelter.

-Safe home planning.

-Securing doors, including garage doors.

-Safekeeping possessions, including important documents.

-Securing mobile homes.

-Protecting computers and electronics.

Many times, residents face the most danger in the aftermath of a hurricane. As you begin to clear the wreckage from your neighborhood, be sure to watch for downed power lines and report them to the electric company. Residents doing heavy lifting, using ladders, or utilizing power equipment like chain saws, should follow safety instructions. Helping a neighbor is the right thing to do. But be cognizant of the many environmental dangers in the wake of a hurricane. Those injured on a neighbor’s property should be aware of their rights to seek compensation. Neck and back injuries are particularly common and can lead to long-term medical complications and other risks that you cannot afford to ignore while dealing with the aftermath of a storm.
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