Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew


First and foremost, our hearts go out to those who suffered Matthew’s wrath. Secondly, we feel blessed that we very narrowly escaped any danger, and our families and friends are all safe.

That being said, I would like to share with you all a story. The story is of our community and how we are being proactive in regards to safety and protection of our fellow residents.

Our community consists of 4 buildings, with over 1300 apartments. What we experienced before, during, and after the hurricane was deplorable. The residents felt totally abandoned by our management team, as well as by most of our board of directors. Our elevators were shut down, our air was cut off, our front lobbies were sealed off (nurses and aides could not enter the buildings), all of our maintenance staff were sent home, our security personnel were ordered to leave, and the worst part was that we were not given any time line of events or real warnings about what to expect.

As bad as that all sounds, our buildings were restored to full operation within 24 hours of the aforementioned and no real harm was done. Needless to say, residents (including us) were furious. Rather that just fume among ourselves, a handful of us have decided to do something to prevent this from happening in the future. We have formed our own emergency action team. We are not governed by our board of directors, we do not get paid, and we make our own rules and regulations.

This may sound harsh, but there is only one purpose of this team: to help fellow residents in times of emergencies. I personally walked door to door, asking residents if they needed help with their balcony furniture or anything else. What we really needed was communication. Our team is dedicated to being able to accurately inform residents of what is going on, in a timely and orderly fashion. We have several members of our team from each building who are ready to help other residents in any way we can (within legal and rational limits, of course).

We have plans to have all members CPR/AED certified as well, and we have asked the local fire department to come speak to us regarding safety issues in all circumstances, and certify us as a community action team (which they happily do free of charge).

Why am I sharing this story with you? The answer is quite simple: We are members of a society. We are all human beings. In times of need, if we can’t rely on the system, we need to be able to rely on each other. I urge all of you to consider the above scenario and form your own neighborhood action teams. If you knock on people’s doors, you will be pleasantly surprised at the sheer delight they have that someone cares and is willing to help.

While we were safe this time around, I feel really confident that if the need arises, my team will spring into action. What can you do locally to instill the same feeling of pride that I have? Who can you reach out to? What can you organize? How can you assist others who may not be able to assist themselves?

In Hopes of a Loving and Helpful Society,

Shereen Rios BAS, CPT for Focus and Form Fitness

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