Re: Re-entry to the Keys following evacuation from a hurricane. A plan is only as good as the execution of that plan.
First responders is a great idea but what I observed from the first responders in my neighborhood, police and a federal agency, they rushed out to their own homes to put up tarps to damaged homes while other homeowners who evacuated waited in Homestead to get back. These first responders, policemen from Key West and a federal agent, worked on their homes for about a week before others were allowed to. This delay caused more damage.
Other store owners who had relied on getting back soon to turn on generators to save product lost everything.
We also know the problem the county had with a few deputies who could not be contacted who had been assigned to stay and help quick recovery. Some of these deputies rushed to tarp up their homes first. To the sheriff’s credit, he acknowledged this problem right away and probably has addressed the issue.
The plan has to be followed by individuals who know how to, adjust and execute with extreme character on all levels of government.
As for communications, thousands of people left without cleaning out refrigerators and freezers and turning off power. This lack of planning and execution by residents created a mess for others to clean up at great expense.
Also, many things flew around because they were not secured with rope or stored away. Seems like a simple thing but the attitude of thinking a storm won’t hit is wishful thinking. The plan should be to always assume the storm is going to be bad.
On debris, it should be clear in advance that cars, boats, RVs, personal watercraft, golf carts and ATVs are not debris.
Owners of large oceanfront properties should be instructed to not simply dump everything in front of other homes nearby. Don’t put the junk in front of other homes but find an area of public right of away without homes.
Also, most docks without permits floated away. The county’s lack of enforcement of codes created this problem. They simply refuse to enforce building codes unless someone complains, causing millions of dollars in damage to other properties. Until the county and the municipalities get serious about code enforcement, we all will suffer while the county expects the federal government to pay for the neglect of others.
Everything has to be secured. That’s a good plan, now let’s execute the plan with government employees who have the will to do that. Re-entry should be limited to those who can take care of themselves and those who are public servants should have a sense of responsibility or be fired by supervisors or voters.
Tim Chapman, Big Torch Key