Letters to the Editor

Hurricane season is here: Time for a plan

One of the responsibilities of living in the paradise of Florida is annually preparing for hurricane season.

After a 10-year run with few hurricane impacts in Florida, I encourage you to visit the Florida Division of Emergency Management (www.flgetaplan.com) to develop an emergency plan for your family and/or business while it is still early in the season.

The oil and natural gas industry has many moving parts to ensure Floridians have access to 27 million gallons of gasoline and diesel they need daily and enough natural gas to generate over 70 percent of the electricity consumed by Floridians. Obviously, a sufficiently large storm can disrupt the process, so emergency planning is critical for the industry and for us individually as consumers.

Leading up to hurricane season, oil and natural gas companies conduct drills that simulate emergency conditions and activate personnel, equipment and procedures that will be used in a real emergency to ensure contingency plans are well-founded.

Following a storm, ports may have to be cleared and approved by the Coast Guard for operation; terminals, pipelines and stations have to be inspected for safety; safe routes have to be determined for trucks and commercial power from electric utilities is needed.

The Division of Emergency Management requires potentially limited fuel supplies to be distributed in a prioritized fashion to ensure the safety and well-being of all Floridians: first to emergency responders, then to hospitals and to evacuation routes and finally to neighborhoods.

As part of your plan, consider when to evacuate and determine the nearest evacuation center to your location.

If we all work cooperatively, our response and recovery from a devastating hurricane will proceed more quickly and effectively.

David R. Mica, executive director, Florida Petroleum Council, Tallahassee