As the threat of Hurricane Irma was bearing down on South Florida, Pinecrest Mayor Joseph Corradino had a simple message – be prepared. The mayor, coincidentally, had discussed hurricane preparedness just a few weeks before with meteorologist Bryan Norcross. Norcross, who “talked us through it,” was in Pinecrest discussing Hurricane Andrew on the 25th anniversary of that event. Norcross impressed upon the mayor that being prepared was the difference, in many cases, between life and death. And so, the mayor passed this along in the days leading up to Irma. “I was so relieved to see people taking this seriously, there was no procrastination, shutters were up, residents evacuated,” the mayor told me.
Pinecrest, along with most of South Florida, was spared the brunt of Irma’s Category 4 winds. However, the hurricane force winds whipped up on Sunday, September 10, with incredible fury. While most of us were hunkered down or had evacuated, the officials and staff at Pinecrest were on the job. There were constant updates before, during and after the storm. Mayor Corradino, often joined by councilmembers Anna Hochkammer, Cheri Ball and James McDonald, issued daily updates via social media and especially on Facebook LIVE. Chief Samuel Ceballos and the Pinecrest Police continued patrolling throughout most of the event; even dispatching vehicles at the height of the storm to put out a generator fire and respond to other emergency calls. Village Manager Yocelyn Galiano and her staff worked at Village Hall around the clock to make sure resources were deployed as necessary. Public Works Director Mark Spanioli and his hard working crew mobilized immediately after the storm, on Sunday night, to clear South Dixie Highway – the only municipality to have their portion of it cleared so quickly. Pinecrest Police, working 12-hour shifts, were visible everywhere – manning the intersections on S. Dixie Hwy., patrolling neighborhoods, checking on homes, and conducting watch orders for residents that had not yet returned home. Pinecrest Public Works crews had 85 percent of the roadways cleared three days after the hurricane hit .
The investments FPL had made to build a more resilient power grid have made a huge difference in how fast they get the lights back on for us. While the first day of restoration after Hurricane Wilma only four percent of customers were restored, one day post Irma FPL had 40 percent of those affected by the storm up and running. This achievement is a result of strengthening electric poles, smart technologies placed throughout the system and the company’s commitment to delivering for customers.
It was great to see that Pinecrest’s government was prepared and has set the bar for other municipalities.
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