Frank's Focus - October

I just experienced my first hurricane. As an upstate New York resident I remember watching hurricane coverage on television, but growing up I lived through seasonal thunderstorms, subzero winter temperatures, lake effect snowstorms and blizzards. I wasn’t sure of what to expect other than what locals told me based on their experiences.

In preparation for the storm the Chamber sent out emergency management information and information from members who asked us to relay storm related products and services. The Chamber wanted to assure that our members and the community were updated on the forecasted severity of the storm and were taking precautions to protect themselves, their families, employees and business. Personally, I brought our patio furniture, lanai furniture and lawn ornaments inside, placed our vehicles in our garage after using a preparedness list. We also bought extra food and water, batteries, movies and other items.

As of this writing we are receiving reports about individuals and businesses that remain without power and are still cleaning up storm related damage. Throughout the time of storm preparations and cleanup I have heard stories about people working to assist others and I am very appreciative.

We are also thankful for and appreciative of emergency management professionals who worked before, after and throughout the storm, local fire and police agencies, the National Guard, local media and meteorologists, utility companies and so many others who worked to keep individuals and property safe.

The professionals and others tell us we were fortunate that the storm tracked off the coast because it minimized the impact. In the end, we had limbs and branches in our yard, intermittently lost power for a few seconds and ended up watching several new movies as rain and wind prevailed outside. I have a sister who lives on James Island in Charleston, SC, where her house and property are surrounded by water and downed trees.

So, while we were fortunate, others were not. I suspect this will not be our only encounter with a hurricane. I walk away from this storm knowing that as a resident of Central Florida we are prone to these types of storms. I also know that the track of the powerful storms determine the end results.

For me, moving forward, planning and preparedness are important. The Chamber recommends that each business owner and resident give thought to preparedness for the next storm. That preparedness could be the difference in the next storm.