As I sat down to work on this week’s blog post, I did so next to my phone awaiting the next update email and in front of the television where scene after scene of wind, rainfall, and flooding played out. So, of course, it was obvious I would blog about Hurricane Florence or more specifically the City of Roanoke’s preparations for it.
Preparation – Not Avoidance
It is important to recognize that no amount of preparation will avoid the inevitable – the wind will come, the rain will fall in torrents and the floodwaters will rise. What preparation can do is limit our exposure to dangers associated with the wind, rain, and flooding.
I am proud of what our folks here have done. More than a week ago, work began – at that time it was not even clear where the Hurricane would make landfall. Staff began meeting and implementing what they had planned for and practiced. Work to remove hazards from our parks was underway, barricades were secured and placed around the City in preparation for deployment, equipment needed for swift water rescues was readied, storm inlets and pipes were checked and cleaned where necessary, shelter supplies were delivered, and information was communicated out to residents to aid them in their own preparations.
Perhaps most impressive was who was represented at that first press conference last week. The Mayor encouraged everyone to prepare themselves while hoping for the best outcome. Alongside the Mayor were representatives from area utility and communications providers – each working on their own preparations in coordination with the City. Similar coordination was going on between the Administrators and emergency coordinators at each of the area jurisdictions. The region was coming together to take care of one another.
We may not be able to avoid what the storm brings, but you can be assured that your city workers, their managers, elected officials, and our regional partners have done all they can to help ensure your safety and the ability to quickly recover from whatever may come our way.
It’s not over yet and undoubtedly for some, clean-up will take some time, but join me in thanking all that have worked so hard preparing to keep all of us as safe as practical!
- Bob Cowell