Friday, January 19, 2001

George Mindling Column 1-19-2001

Bullet Proof


The beginning of the Christmas season used to mark the end of the hurricane season, but no more! This past Christmas season actually started in late August when some stores started taking out their garden departments to put in the seasonal stands and displays. Christmas decorations were being put up in some stores while everyone still had the Weather Channel number memorized.

No matter though, the hurricane season is finally over to the relief of a few, but probably unnoticed by most. Again, we sidestepped any hurricanes or major tropical storms. That could be a problem in itself. No one cares much about the next hurricane season. After all, nothing happened this year! We must be bulletproof. The county and state disaster and emergency agencies will again restock their supplies and train new people before the beginning of next year's hurricane season. Practice sessions will again sharpen the skills of the veterans to prepare for the worst. Getting the word out to the public becomes another matter,

Next year they will have a harder time preparing the community for the arrival of a major storm, just because we again didn't live up to the worst case scenario this year. The television stations and the newspapers will again do their best to present the available hurricane preparations and planning seminars everyone should attend.

It will be difficult to convince those who have never have never been hit by a devastating storm, especially those who have lived here long enough to be considered "Floridians," that this is serious business. The newcomers to Florida will attend the preparation seminars, but if we again are blessed with another peaceful season, they probably won't prepare as completely the next year after as they will the first year. They too, will then be considered "veterans," and will be able to proudly proclaim "the bark is worse than the bite."

The biggest disbelievers are the ones who have been here a long time without suffering a serious storm. That just makes it harder to I suffer when it does strike. The residents of Dade County thought, "No big deal," when Andrew barreled in.

I grew up in Miami; we had a scuffle with Donna in 1960 and Beth in 1965, and if those were hurricanes. then most everyone thought Andrew would be a piece of cake. Of course, the west coast of Florida saw a different storm in Donna than we did. but even here, those memories have long since faded away. Even now, Andrew is fast becoming a memory that doesn't seem real to those who lost everything. Now is the time to have hurricane shutters and hurricane bracing done to your home and business.

Many area companies are discounting prices in the off season. Check with the Chamber of Commerce at 639-2222 for reputable companies and organizations. The pricing is great and the availability of products is there. Don't wait until the next hurricane season. Dade County went 27 years without a major storm of any kind, from 1965 to 1992. We too, were bulletproof.

George Mindling © 2001

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