There is not much media focus on National Hurricane Preparedness Week which is currently underway. That is understandable given all the damage and loss of life associated with the tornadoes in mid sections of the country. But there are hurricane preparedness activities going on in some of the vulnerable areas. I participated in one such activity yesterday in Key West.
- 2011 Hurricane Preparedness Workshop speakers in Key West
Most of the participants at yesterday’s Hurricane Preparedness Workshop for the Florida Keys Tourism Industry posed for a group picture at the Harvey Government Center in Key West. From left, front row, are Bill Becker, U.S. 1 Radio; Max Mayfield, WPLG-TV; Cammy Clark, The Miami Herald; and Bryan Norcross, The Weather Channel. In the back row are Bill Read, National Hurricane Center Director; Jon Rizzo, Key West National Weather Service; Jodi Weinhoffer, Lodging Association of the Florida Keys and Key West; and Rich Phillips, CNN. Photo by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau.
Bill Read made a presentation on “Surge, wind and rain; why some people still don’t get it.” The panel of media representatives discussed how media organizations outside of Monroe County cover tropical cyclone events in the Keys. Additional speakers included Irene Toner, Monroe County Emergency Management Director, Diana Arteaga of the Florida Department of Financial Services, Cindy DeRocher of Fair Insurance Rates for Monroe, and Andy Newman, Tourist Development Council media relations director. The conference was organized by the Lodging Association with support from the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.
In my opinion, Monroe County tourism officials have been very proactive with visitors during hurricanes. They understand that if the visitors are taken good care of during hurricane threats – even if it means evacuating them to the mainland – they will be more willing to return to the Keys another time.