For those folks who see on the news that South Florida is in the path of a hurricane and begin to worry about us, we thank you for your concern. Judging by the number of phone calls, faxes, and emails we receive during hurricane watches and warnings, there are a lot of you out there who are very concerned about our safety. We are most definitely grateful for that. However, to be perfectly honest, it can be very difficult to answer questions about our situation while in the middle of hurricane preparations. To counter that, we have this page that we use to update our owners and guests (and sometimes faraway friends & family members) as to our status. When hurricane conditions threaten, we will update this page as often as possible. Keep in mind that when we lose power and/or phone service, it becomes impossible to post updates. So if you hear that we’re being threatened, please come check this page… but if you notice we’re not updating it, it means you’ll need to bear with us while we work to get things back in order. It also means we’ll need your prayers for extra help with that! ;o)
- National Hurricane Center (latest and most up-to-date advisories, great maps, etc.)
- Weather Channel Hurricane Center (great maps, good for checking wind speed, location, etc.)
- Broward County Emergency Management Agency (evacuation notifications for our area would most
likely be found easily from this page)
Hurricane Prep @ Canada House
We’ve often been asked what’s involved in preparing the Canada House for a hurricane and/or evacuation. Actually, for the most part, whether we get evacuated or can stay on property, there’s not too much difference in what we do to prepare. This isn’t a complete list of what goes on, but it will give you some idea of what’s involved (this is in no particular order):
- Periodically communicate with exchange companies regarding status, especially if evacuation is ordered for our area.
- Go to every unit and take the patio furniture inside, also checking to make sure all doors and windows are securely closed. Close blinds and curtains to help keep water out in case windows get broken during the storm.
- Pick up all loose branches, coconuts, etc., from around property.
- Remove all outside furniture, trash barrels, luggage & grocery carts, wall ash trays, filtered water dispensers, and any other item that isn’t permanently attached from pool and yard areas and place in empty rooms.
- Take down all signs and other items that may be attached to walls, which could come loose and cause damage to people or property.
- Lay newspaper machines face-down on ground to reduce possibility of damage (to them or from them)
- Lower water level in pools & spas (because the storm will dump lots of rain into them, and they could overflow and cause flooding).
- Turn off all pool equipment (if sand gets in the pool during the storm, we need to clean it out before it gets into the filter and/or motor).
- If needed, call for extra trash pickup to empty Dumpsters, then secure them to keep them from rolling around in the wind.
- Contact all in-house guests – either to inform them of evacuation or to advise them on how to weather the storm (if there’s no evacuation and they choose to stay). If evacuation is not mandated, also hand out flashlights in case the electricity goes out.
- Check all doors and gates to ensure that they are closed securely and locked.
- Update hurricane page on website & change recording on main phone line.
- Backup computers (4) and server (1)
- Close & lock hurricane shutters
- Wash as much laundry as possible and clean all rooms as guests check out (decreases the amount of time it takes to re-open after the storm)
- Order extra housekeeping supplies (so we’ll have supplies after the storm even if the roads are closed or gas is in short supply)
- Fill gas tanks for use in chainsaw & blower after storm is over.
- Reconfirm contact information for all employees so we can call them to come back to work after the storm is over
Keep in mind that after the storm is over, we have to put back everything that was put away. We also have to check all rooms for leaks, broken windows, or other damage. There are always leaves, branches, and other debris to clean up — and of course we have to have extra trash pick-ups because of that… The Maintenance Team also has to check all the equipment (boiler, chiller, pool equipment, elevators, etc., etc.) to make sure it’s all working the way it should be…
Wow. All this talking about hurricane prep makes a girl tired! Let’s hope it’s a long time before we have to do this again!