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Palm Beach injury attorneys urge residents to prepare for hurricane season

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.

“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.

Freeman & Mallard is a personal injury and wrongful death law firm experienced in handling all types of premise liability claims in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and the Port St. Lucie/Fort Pierce areas. Call today for a free consultation. 1-800-529-2368.

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