The Villages Voice - June 2015

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NOTES FROM THE CHIEF - ARE YOU READY FOR HURRICANE SEASON?

by Chris McKinstry Lady Lake PD

NOTES FROM THE CHIEF ARE YOU READY FOR HURRICANE SEASON? An approaching hurricane can often leave people in a last minute frenzy to prepare for the storm.  The Lady Lake Police Department works year round with our local, state and federal partners to ensure the effectiveness of our emergency response during a hurricane. Just as we at the Lady Lake Police Department plan for unexpected weather emergencies, so should you. As we enter hurricane season, I strongly encourage you to be proactive. First, create a disaster supply kit that will last your family three to seven days. Ask yourself what you would need if you couldn't get to a grocery store, pharmacy, bank or gas station for several days. Your kit should include a gallon per person per day of water, non-perishable food, a can opener, blankets and pillows, rain gear and sturdy shoes, first aid items, prescription drugs, toiletries, a flashlight and batteries, a battery-operated radio, a fully-charged cell phone as well as a non-cordless phone. Pack any special food, medicines or supplies you might need for an infant, senior citizen or a pet. Make sure you have credit cards and cash on hand and gas in your vehicle. Put all of your important documents such as insurance and medical records, bank account numbers and your social security card in a waterproof container or waterproof plastic bag. For additional information, you may go to our website at www.ladylake.org/departments/police-department and click on the Hurricane Guide. Talk to your family about which place in your home would be the safest during a storm and at what point you would move to a shelter. Plan what to do with your pets if you have to evacuate and designate an out-of-state relative or friend to be a point of contact for each family member after a storm. Make sure children know when and how to call 911.   But always remember that if a storm gets severe enough there may be limited or no emergency responders to assist until after the storm passes.  YOU MAY BE ON YOUR OWN. Protect windows and glass doors with hurricane shutters. If you use plywood, make sure the pieces are fastened adequately, so they don't become dangerous, airborne debris during a storm. If you are going to do any home protection, repair or improvements, the Lady Lake Police Department wants to remind you once again that before signing an agreement with any contractor, consumers should carefully review the agreement and verify a contractor's license and track record. Even though unlicensed contractors often lure consumers with cheaper prices, Lady Lake Police detectives warn that the work is often done without the appropriate permits, not up to code or the contractors take the money and never do the job. Florida law requires that contractors taking more than a 10% deposit for a project must make application for permit within 30 days and commence work within 90 days of the issuance of a permit. Florida law additionally requires that contractors generally must continue work on projects without lapses of more than 60 days. Consumers should familiarize themselves with Florida's construction lien laws (sections 713.001 - 713.37), or consult an attorney regarding your rights or responsibilities regarding construction contracts. While you can always count on the Lady Lake Police Department during times of emergency, there is plenty you can do to ensure your families and homes are ready for hurricane season. Don't wait for a storm to threaten. Be safe this hurricane season!