Hurricane Hermine meeting unites community


Tallahassee residents were able to voice their concerns and give feedback in regards to Hurricane Hermine in a community meeting. The meeting was held by the City of Tallahassee Sept. 19 at Bethel AME Church located on West Orange Ave. Residents discussed pertinent information with city officials, regarding  post Hermine restorations and ways to strengthen the disaster resiliency within the community.

Director of Emergency Management Kevin Peters opened the floor briefly speaking to residents about the relief efforts that transpired before Hermine’s arrival.

“As we all know Hurricane Hermine tested our community, it tested every one of us, it forced us all to bring our plans into action, “said Peters.

Peters also stated, “Before the storm we took many actions, our public works deployed sandbags and barricades to locations where we thought we might see flooding. In our preparedness we gave out over 50,000 sandbags in anticipation of the event.”

The City of Tallahassee was able to update citizens throughout the storms entirety with frequent, timely and accurate information according to the Director of Communications, Alison Faris.

Despite social media’s advantage there were lessons learned in the process, according to Faris.

“People wanted information very, very specific to their need,” said Faris.

Social media was a lifeline for local resident Darryl Jones, who expressed its relevancy during the storm. “For those of us who were without power, we were still able to be informed by social media,” said Jones. He suggested expanding the scope of social media and other local media outlets like radio stations, to better service citizens in the event of future power outages.

Essie McGee, a local resident, went days without power after seeking reimbursement from her homeowners insurance, she was unfortunately denied. “My homeowners insurance wouldn't give me food reimbursement because my deductible didn't cover it,” said McGee.

According to officials, residents like Essie and many others  seeking  food reimbursement could be compensated from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

In addition to food reimbursement, citizens who are of financial need could receive assistance with their recent utility bill. Financially disadvantaged  homeowners with fallen trees on their property might  be able to receive emergency home repair services.

Residents were joyed to hear there were no casualties due to Hermine and thanked officials for their timely, effective services.

The next meeting for Hurricane Hermine will be September, 21, 2016.