Editorial: Be prepared
Published: Friday, May 29, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 4:49 p.m.
It must have pained him to do so, but Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday signed a bill authorizing 10 percent annual increases in state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. premiums over the next several years.
Citizen rates have been frozen for political reasons; basically Crist and legislators have been living in denial of the fact that Citizens is woefully underfunded.
But it turns out that the politicians aren’t the only ones in denial when it comes to the looming hurricane season.
A new Mason-Dixon poll indicates that most residents throughout the Gulf and Atlantic coastal states plan to do little or nothing to prepare themselves for the prospect of hurricanes.
"As the 2009 hurricane season approaches, many residents still believe it won’t happen to them," says Jack Stevens, senior forecaster at the National Hurricane Center. "Unfortunately, these devastating storms could happen to anyone and the only way to keep yourself and your family safe is to be prepared."
Residents who want to prepare themselves, but aren’t exactly sure about how to do so, can get useful advice from a couple of Web sites. They include FloridaDisaster.org, and www.HurricaneSafety.org.
A family hurricane preparedness plan should include a familiarity with evacuation routes, ways to harden your home against a severe storm, and an inventory of essential storm supplies, including a three-to-seven day supply of non-perishable food, an ample water reserve, flashlights, batteries, portable radios and other necessities.
Florida has been extremely fortunate these past few years, but counting on continued dumb luck to survive this new hurricane season is foolish. Mother nature can be ruthless, so it’s better to be safe than sorry as this new season commences.