LEARNING FROM IRMA?
September 15, 2017
I guess we all
“survived” IRMA and – hopefully – we all,
including our government, learned from this frightening
Not only history
should teach us lessons – trying to avoid mistakes of the past –
so should disasters. Hurricanes are part of our life-style here
in Florida. It’s not a matter of “if” it hits us,
it’s a matter of “when.”
With other words:
We should be prepared.
Here are some
lessons we should have learned from dealing with IRMA:
The forecasts of
the path a hurricane takes are still not reliable. Don’t
evacuate before you really know where the hurricane will do
most damage. I know quite a few folks who evacuated to Tampa
after we were told that the hurricane would move up the East
Coast of Florida. Guess what: They got in the middle of the
worst devastating path of Irma. Lesson 1: Only evacuate to
areas that will definitely be out of the path of the
legislators created laws – after Wilma – forcing gas
stations to install expensive generators to make sure the
pumps would work after the hurricane hit. Guess what: The
pumps were working, but how good are pumps doing if there is
no gas to pump? The gas prices went up as soon as we knew
that Florida would be hit by Irma – until the stations ran
out of gas very quickly. No new gas was delivered to the
stations – days before the hurricane actually arrived. And
after IRMA? It took many days before more gas was delivered
to the gas stations. Families trying to evacuate as advised
were running out of gas on their trip up North – and were
stranded in the disaster area. I lived in California, where
earthquakes occur without a warning. Here in Florida we get
hurricanes with warnings days ahead – before the disaster
strikes. Why is our gas supply not prepared? The folks in
charge know full well that the need for gas multiplies as
soon as the hurricane warnings are made public. Is it a
matter of profits? Short supply, higher prices?
When will we
learn that mobile homes and match-box houses will not
survive the easiest of storms? These kinds of homes should
not be approved by Florida’s building codes. It’s just a
matter of time before they will be destroyed. Then they are
being rebuilt – with insurance money – and our insurance
premiums go up and up and up! Is that supposed to help our
economy and create jobs?
And last not
least: POWER OUTAGES! I was lucky here in Deland: Our
power was only out for about 20 hours, mostly during
day-time. But other areas are still today without power. How
ridiculous is that? Honestly, I have lived in many different
countries during my life-time. And about every country
experiences some sort of natural disaster – they are just
named differently. But Florida is the only place I know
where you are well advised to have a generator. As soon as
the weather folks in the news announce that a hurricane is
on its way you know that there will be some power outage.
It’s just a safe bet. The only question: How long will we be
out of power? Let’s face it: The over-land power-lines are
just an open invitation for winds and trees to hit. When the
wind starts you sit in your home and ask: When will
the power go out? Putting power-lines underground should be
a priority for a state that gets regularly hit by
hurricanes. But as we can see folks are not too happy if a
city decides to put the power lines underground. They sue
the city about the cost. See the latest example: Boca Raton!
Living in Florida comes with a price tag. It cost us lots of
money to be prepared for the natural disaster called “HURRICANE.”
Our homes should be built accordingly, able to withstand strong
hurricane winds. Our power-grid should be prepared to withstand
flying branches, falling trees and heavy rains by not having
antiquated overland power-lines. Friends visiting from Germany
always ask: What are these cables hanging from the telegraph
poles? That’s just unknown in most of Europe.
DID IRMA TEACH US
A LESSON? DEFINITELY! DID WE LEARN ANYTHING FROM IT? TIME WILL
||Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice,
's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group.
CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in
associations. He moved to
in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the
developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues
for his own purposes. End of retirement!
CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in
- finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a
member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.
The organization has two websites to inform interested
homeowners and condo owners:
News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.
Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.
We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all
service providers surely have a different interest! We are
trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are
useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking