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We are nearly a month into the 2018 hurricane season, and ORCA and Public Safety would like to reflect on lessons learned from Hurricane Irma. If you are living in your alternate home (outside of the Reef) during this time of year, please ensure that your property manager/caretaker handles a few things around your Ocean Reef home for you.
  1. When the evacuation order is given, please make certain the water is turned off. Falling trees can damage waterlines causing several issues such as flooding and loss of pressure to other areas of Ocean Reef.
  2. Gas should be turned off.
  3. Outdoor items including furniture, yard decorations, and all small, lightweight items should be secured inside. These items may become projectiles causing unnecessary damage and injury.  
  4. Do not take any unnecessary risks. If the order to evacuate is given, evacuate. During the storm, and immediately after, emergency services will not be available.
  5. Storm surge and hurricane categories are not relevant to each other. Many factors are to be considered, so do not become complacent. For example, a Category 1 Hurricane may have a larger storm surge than a Category 5 Hurricane.
  6. Water levels in pools should be lowered by one to two feet, shocked and after well circulated the pump turned off and power to the pump turned off at the box.
  7. Homes in lower areas should turn off the power to the house. If a storm surge enters the house and reaches electrical outlets more damage may be caused.
  8. Tree trimming should be done now, well before a storm threatens our area. This includes removal of coconuts and damaged or dead limbs. Do not trim trees near electrical equipment, leave that to the professionals.
  9. Shutter your home.
Evacuations: Evacuations orders must be followed — it's the law. Please follow all evacuation guidelines to avoid placing your family in danger. This also prevents emergency service providers from needing to respond during hazardous conditions should you need their help.

If you are asked to evacuate, listen carefully to instructions and information from local and national news, as well as the Public Safety Emergency Notification system that will automatically contact the telephone number and/or email you have on file with ORCA.

If leaving your boat in the water:
  1. Check the cleats and ropes for strength.
  2. Ensure lines are properly secured and high enough on the pilings to allow for the extreme ebb and flow of a storm surge.
  3. Protect the ropes where they may rub against the boat.
  4. Ensure batteries are fresh and charged for the bilge pump.
  5. Remove any electronics and secure or remove any loose items.
If you plan on having Marine Max pull your vessel out of the water, have it done early as yours will not be the only request they receive in a short period of time.
Florida sees its share of severe weather. Hurricanes, tornados, even the daily thunderstorms with the associated lightning can cause hazardous conditions you should prepare for. Remember, a tropical weather system is not a point on a map - it is an area of disturbed weather that can reach hundreds of miles in any direction causing damage even further away, especially the storm surge.
Visit these websites for more information:
https://floridadisaster.org/- Florida Emergency Management
https://www.fema.gov/ - Federal Emergency Management Agency
https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ - National Hurricane Center

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