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Don’t be scared, be prepared!

It was a beautiful, sun-filled day at The Terraces as WINK-TV meteorologist Matt Devitt presented his 2019 hurricane assessment and forecast to a full house of residents and guests. He discussed the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Michael, and offered recommendations on how to be prepared.

With his warm and enthusiastic approach, Matt engaged the audience with personal stories of his one-time experience as a storm chaser, and his on-camera hurricane reporting standing out in the midst of high winds and driving rain.

Matt stressed the importance of having a plan, understanding how to evacuate if necessary, and the science behind air pressure and altered coastlines.

He explained that most newer buildings in Southwest Florida, like The Terraces at Bonita Springs, are built strictly to code, and that it would have to be an extremely devastating storm to require an evacuation, but advised that we should all be prepared just in case.

Some of the highlights he suggested include:

  1. Create an Evacuation Plan
  • Plan your route
  • Follow evacuation orders
  • Plan for your pets

2. Assemble Supplies

  • Food/Water
  • Medicine
  • Gas
  • Cash
  • Batteries/Chargers

3. Insurance Checkup

  • Ensure that all documents are in order

4. Strengthen Your Home & Secure Vehicles

  • Cars should be in garages whenever possible

5. Help Your Neighbor

  • We are a community and should help others when we can

For 2019, Matt predicted that a mild El Nino would help suppress some of the strength of the storms, but he warned that we could have a relatively inactive season with one major hurricane – reminiscent of what happened with Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Finally, suggested an online visit to the WINK-TV Hurricane Center in advance to be prepared with a specific disaster plan to your needs.

The audience was totally engaged and asked many follow up questions, particularly focused on how to evacuate with only two major routes, I-75 and US-41; if there have been any improvements in mitigating long-term power outages; how to be safe when using a generator; and the requirements for a mandatory evacuation.

Matt’s responses included:

  • Contraflow can help with opening lanes on the major routes, but it makes it difficult for emergency vehicles to get through.

  • Although there has been improvement for power outages, we can still expect to be out for at least two weeks after a major hurricane event.

  • Be careful with generators – make sure they are only operated outside the home, but don’t put too far away or they may be stolen.

  • Note that you may choose to stay in your home during a mandatory evacuation, but if you are hurt or in danger, you are on your own.

Residents of The Terraces reflected upon their own stories of Hurricane Irma and what it was like during that time (click here to see more about their experience).

The event was both educational and entertaining, and left everyone feeling more secure and informed.

Matt Devitt’s presentation was part of an ongoing series of educational seminars and workshops offered at The Terraces at Bonita Springs throughout the year.

The Terraces at Bonita Springs is the only LifePlan Community for senior living in the Bonita Springs area. Highlighted by fine resort-style amenities and services, in an Addison Mizner-inspired Mediterranean Revival setting, living choices at The Terraces include independent living, assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. With a thoughtful emphasis on overall wellness, The Terraces offers a dedicated Vitality Program that addresses all aspects of wellness – in mind, body and spirit.

For more information about The Terraces at Bonita Springs, call 239.221.8907.