Page 10 - Abacoa Community News - July '20
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Page 10, Abacoa
       Commissioner’s Update

       Emergency Management –                            hazardous materials, nuclear power plant, dike failure;   provide public information, work shelters, and inspect
       Keeping Our Community Safe                        and,  human caused  –  domestic  security,  workplace/  and  respond  to  damages  in  recovery  efforts,  and  our
                                                                                                           employees  have  truly  stepped  up  to  the  plate,  while
                                                         school violence and mass migration.
       And Resilient                                        The  2019 Atlantic  Hurricane  Season  was  above   handling responsibilities to protect their own families.
                                                         average and 2020 is forecast to be similar, with a projected      This year, the challenge has doubled with addressing
       By Commissioner                                   16 named storms, eight hurricanes and four hurricanes   hurricane season accompanied by a pandemic, and shelter
       Hal Valeche                                       greater than a category 3.                        staffing and facilities may need to increase further due
          Most of us likely equate                          With oceans warming, the intensity of hurricanes is   to  COVID-19.  Emergency  Management  has  analyzed
       emergency  management                             increasing. Last year, Hurricane Dorian, a category 5 and   this scenario to develop complementary strategies. This
       with our annual hurricane                         the fourth named storm of the 2019 season, made landfall   includes evaluating the decision process for evacuation;
       season,  and  that  has                           on Sept. 1 in Elbow Cay, Bahamas with maximum sustained   developing contingency plans for congregate and non-
       definitely  been  a  major                        winds of 185 mph. Dorian impacted the outer islands of the   congregate shelter options; providing additional screening
       focus of this county division                     Northern Bahamas and devastated Grand Bahama Island   and sanitizing efforts at all shelters; enhancing spacing
       within  the  Department  of                       and its surrounding islands. After two days, it turned north,   and more frequent cleaning of shelters; evaluating staffing
       Public  Safety.  This  year,                      sparing Palm Beach County of its hurricane force winds,   levels  and  available  resources;  and  enhancing  shelter
       we  have  gained  a  painful                      with only the outer bands brushing South Florida.  capacity for the special needs population and pet shelters.
       lesson  in  another  natural                         In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, 900 evacuees      The  Board  of  County  Commissioners  plays  an
       hazard, the pandemic.                             arrived in Palm Beach County via the Paradise Cruise Line,   important role to reinforce the EOC actions and priorities.
          While the event of a hurricane from advisories, warnings,   needing housing and services. Those who did not have   We  assist  with  federal  declarations  and  work  with
       landfall and recovery may require the activation of our   local family or friends were taken to a triage shelter at the   lawmakers to activate FEMA programs, and advocate for
       Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for a period of a few   PBC Therapeutic Center in John Prince Park. From there,   federal assistance and reimbursement. We also disseminate
       weeks, the COVID-19 emergency has spanned months, with   evacuees transitioned to temporary shelters. We assisted   public  information  to  keep  our  residents  advised  and
       ongoing long-term prevention, testing and recovery efforts   155 evacuees.                          prepared to take protective actions.
       that will take us into an unknown future with this new virus.     Many Palm Beach County residents and businesses      As  we  do  each  year,  we  cannot  stress  enough  the
          Palm Beach County’s Executive Policy Group (EPG)   have relationships, properties and business partners in the   importance of planning for disasters and we encourage
       leads the EOC Activation Organization through the County   Bahamas, and there was a strong push to help our neighbors   all businesses and residents to make this a priority. It may
       Administrator, Verdenia Baker, who also serves as incident   in the Bahamas recover. Many citizens, businesses, churches,   surprise you to know that 60 percent of households lack
       commander. The EPG includes the county mayor, county   municipalities and nonprofit organizations mobilized in   disaster readiness. Everyone has a duty to be prepared. You
       administration senior staff, public safety director, county   response. County departments and agencies participated by   need to know if you live in an evacuation area, and if so,
       attorney,  emergency  management  director,  sheriff,  fire   conducting a relief donation drive contributing 14 truckloads   where you will evacuate to within the county. If you are not
       rescue administrator, and the Florida Department of Health   and 500 pallets of supplies to the effort.  in an evacuation area, you are encouraged to shutter and
       Palm Beach County director. They also serve as liaisons      Emergency Management has continued to plan and   shelter in place. Make a kit, and keep it stocked. Consider
       to the county commissioners, the courts, constitutional   improve  its  emergency  response  systems,  improving   what arrangements you need to make for your pets or loved
       officers, the school board, our state and federal legislative   outreach for the special needs shelter application process,   ones with special needs. You can find a wealth of helpful
       delegation, and to the municipalities.            expanding  emergency  information  outlets  in  multiple   information at
          Emergency  Management  plans  include  responses   languages, increasing shelter staffing and expanding on      As always, if there is any way I can assist you, please
       to  three  main  categories  of  hazards:  natural – severe   our recovery plans.                   contact me at (561) 355-2201 or by email at hvaleche@
       weather,  floods,  agricultural  pests  and  diseases,  fires,      Nearly  5,300  county  personnel  are  enlisted  upon  Remember,  wash  your  hands,  physically
       communicable diseases; technological – transportation,   activation  to  man  the  emergency  operations  center,   distance, and be safe and prepared.
       Northern Notes

       Draining Swimming Pools
                                                         living  in  and  around                             4) Drain the pool slowly over a large pervious area,
       By Katie Roundtree,                               them.  Chlorine,  bromine,                        such  as  your  lawn,  before  letting  the  water  drain  into
       Finance Director, Northern                        algaecides, biocides, water                       a storm drain. The water will filter slowly and evenly
       Palm Beach County                                 conditioners,  stabilizers                        through  the  soil.  Control  the  rate  of  discharge  across
       Improvement District                              and  other  chemicals  in                         your property to avoid erosion and nuisance conditions
          If  you  live  in  South                       pool water are toxic to fish                      for neighboring properties. Nuisance conditions such as
       Florida, odds are you have                        and other aquatic life.                           the creation of odors, mosquito breeding conditions, or
       a swimming pool. One of                              Here are some things to                        flooding can occur when water is ponded for a prolonged
       the reasons we live here                          remember  about  draining                         period.
       is the great climate where                        pools:                                               5) If your pool contains algae or other organic matter
       you  can  enjoy  swimming                            1) Only drain your pool when absolutely necessary.   (a black film), collect the algae and dispose of it in your
       year-round. If you have a                         Avoid  draining/backwashing  your  pool  during  periods   normal trash. Decaying organic matter lowers the oxygen
       pool, it is also critical that                    of drought and during significant rainfall events. Do not   content in the water and should not go into the storm drain
       you maintain the structure                        drain your pool when watering restrictions are in place.  or any wetland area.
       and treat the water to keep you and your family healthy     2) Leave the water in the pool for at least one week     Please keep in mind that there is a direct link between
       and safe. From time to time, it may be necessary to drain   without  adding  chlorine  or  other  chemicals  before   what we do around our home and the water quality of our
       your pool for repairs. Whether the reason is cleaning,   draining.  If  you  can’t  wait  that  long,  use  a  chlorine   canals, ponds, lakes and wetlands.
       water changes, or just lowering water levels, pool draining   neutralizing chemical found at most pool supply stores.     NPDES tip: Dirt, oil, and debris that collect in parking
       is a common activity.                             Please  consult  your  pool  supply  company  for  further   lots and paved areas can be washed into the storm sewer
          Disposal of pool water into a storm drain is harmful to   information.                           system and eventually enter local waterbodies. Sweep up
       the environment. Pool water enters the storm drain system     3) Test the water before discharging to ensure that the   litter and debris from sidewalks, driveways and parking
       untreated  and  may  contain  chemicals  that  can  harm   chlorine levels are safe. Also ensure that the pH levels   lots, especially around storm drains.
       canals, ponds, lakes and wetlands, as well as the wildlife   are normal (6.5 to 7.8).

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