I wasn’t born and raised in Florida. I’ve only been here about nine years and only weathered a few named storms. Despite my complete lack of experience, I still manage to be prepared when the season comes, so I’m not one of those a-holes racing out to the stores at the last minute to stock up on canned food and water.
I’m one of those last-minute a-holes stocking up on beer and gummy bears.
But despite my inexperience, I need to call out more than a few of you Floridians based off what I’ve seen of you on the news. So let me cover this list-like, because people are stupid and will only listen when you make a list. Also, call me crazy, but I have a bad feeling about this season and feel this information may be useful for the 2018 season.
#1. If you abandon your pets or leave them outside you will go to prison
A new Florida law has established if you leave your pets outside and helpless during a hurricane, you will receive a felony charge. My Floridian opinion is you deserve it.
I don’t even understand the people that do this, but it needs to be said. It’s not cool to just leave your dog or cat alone on your property, to wander all by itself in the terrifying storm as you travel on down to Jacksonville to hang out with family.
Your pet is your family. The moment you decided to get a cat or dog, you became responsible for them and you have no right to leave them behind. There is a special place in hell for people who abandon their pets during a storm and you deserve to be there. As their natural instincts tell them to flee, your selfishness keeps them trapped and they sit there, lonely, scared and wonder where their fur mommy or daddy went until the storm kills them.
You must be a special kind of sociopath to do that to an innocent dog or cat. There are plenty of pet-friendly shelters in Florida, plenty of things you could do for those little dudes aside from letting them face the wrath of Mother Nature by themselves. Even the Hemingway House in Key West is somehow capable of keeping 36 cats alive hurricane after hurricane. You have no excuse for not being able to handle one dog or cat.
If you abandon them because you’re fucking lazy, you deserve spot one in Dante’s Inferno, getting eaten and shit out by the devil over and over again, just like Judas and Brutus. Because you’re a fucking traitor. You told that pet you’d protect them, then you turned your back on them.
#2. When they say mandatory evacuations and you decide to stay – you’re on your own
Your right to emergency medical assistance in your area ends the moment the newscaster says “Governor Whoeverthefuck has issued an emergency, mandatory evacuation” and names your area. That’s all there is to it. After that, if you decide to stay, you are on your own.
Deal with it. Do not call 911 as the floodwaters rise, demanding they send out a bunch of paramedics to drown with you because they won’t. Mandatory evacuation status is not given willy nilly. It’s given when it’s fully established, based on FEMA standards, that remaining in the area will cause an immediate threat to life. As such, once a mandatory evacuation is given, 911 services shut down. If you live in Florida, you know that you’ve seen this commercial.
This was during Ivan. I checked out the verifiability of the commercial. Those voices you heard, those desperate calls for help? They didn’t make it.
They play this commercial often during hurricane season and they do it for a reason. It’s to make you understand it’s not brave to stay when they tell you to evacuate. It’s foolish. You cannot ride the storm. You are not the old man and the sea, staring down an unforgiving ocean. You are a silly little civilian who forgot that nature’s wrath pertains to you too. This commercial is not dramatized. They make it very, very clear that once a mandatory evacuation is issued, they cannot help you.
They share this message – as a warning– on as many public access channels as they can. The best that FLA 911 services can do for you if you call them after you’ve been told to evacuate is tell you to write your social security number on your torso so the National Guard can identify your body.
Florida emergency services workers are not superheroes. They’re just people and there comes a point where they cannot help you because they will not risk further lives to help a hopeless cause. Those ambulance drivers, firefighters and paramedics are just as human as you. They have families that love them just like you and they are not going to risk their lives because you did something incredibly stupid.
When someone says mandatory evacuation either do it or drink yourself to death (leaving Las Vegas style) but do not expect the world to come back and pick you up. It’s not that they don’t want to. It’s that they can’t without risking their own lives too.
#3. Get your supplies ahead of time.
I created my first Amazon wishlist the other day. It’s not so much a wishlist as it is a package of items I purchase for hurricanes. MREs, flashlights, batteries, a hand crank radio – now is the time to buy them, not later. If you want the full list, IM me. But do it now, not one day before the storm. You need to live your life like every day is the day before a hurricane. Then, come what may, you’ll always be prepared.
Anyway, welcome to hurricane season. I also don’t usually do this, because I hate dealing with comments, but the issue is important enough to spread. I welcome you to share your own hurricane preparedness ideas (or complaints) in the comments. With any luck, we’ll all ride the storms together.
If you are disabled or feel that you are incapable of evacuating or protecting yourself in the event of a hurricane and currently live in Florida, please check out the following available resources.