Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What works for you: Good, Better, Best

During 2004 we experienced numerous tropical storms and 5 full blown hurricanes. In 2005 it was worse, with 7 hurricanes affecting Florida. Needless to say, with that type of activity, hurricane preparation is a way of life that impacts your actions six months out of every year.

Hurricane shutters were one of the first things we added to our house after moving in at the tail end of the 1990’s. These are basically engineered metal panels that cover every opening of the house. By keeping flying debris from breaking windows, it is hoped that you can ride out the storm relatively unscathed, with your home intact.

We had decided that once a TS watch went up, so did the shutters and all the outside items would be placed indoors to prevent them from becoming airborne missiles that could damage someone’s property, including our own.  After the storm passed, down came the shutters and all the “stuff” went back out so we could resume our normal South Florida lifestyle. This had worked well in our old house, which was much smaller, so we said "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

That was all fine and dandy until 2004. We shuttered five times that year. This equates to ten moves of outdoor furniture, plants, grills, yard art and all the little knick-knacks scattered around the property. That year broke the camel’s, and my, back. Although our hurricane preparedness plan was sound, it was becoming impractical and had to be adjusted to better suit our needs.

We made the decision to try something different the next season. The new plan was, when the first TS watch is issued, pack it all up and it stays packed up until the end of the season in November. The same went for the shutters on the sides of the house. In 2005, the number of storms increased to 24, a jump of nine from the previous year. That was the same year that Katrina hit Florida and then moved on to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

The plan worked perfectly! It seemed like every week something Tropical was happening, since all the “heavy lifting” was done so we could just sit back and relax. That part of the plan remains unchanged, while others portions have continued to be tweaked. It will always be a work in progress, since we learn something new every year.  

Remember; planning is good, implementing the plan is better, and modifying the plan to better suit your needs is the best.

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