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Hurricane preparation


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Hurricane Season


We're about to enter the 'peak' of the hurricane season. Any day now,

you're going to turn on the TV and see a weather person

pointing to some radar blob out in the Atlantic Ocean and making two

basic meteorological points:


(1) There is no need to panic.

(2) We could all be killed.


Yes, hurricane season is an exciting time to be in Florida. If you're

new to the area, you're probably wondering what you need to do to

prepare for the possibility that we'll get hit by "the big one." Based

on our experiences, we recommend that you follow this simple

three-step hurricane preparedness plan:


STEP 1: Buy enough food and bottled water to last your family for at

least three days.

STEP 2: Put these supplies into your car.

STEP 3: Drive to Nebraska and remain there until Halloween.


Unfortunately, statistics show that most people will not follow this

sensible plan. Most people will foolishly stay here in Florida.


We'll start with one of the most important hurricane preparedness items:





If you own a home, you must have hurricane insurance. Fortunately, this

insurance is cheap and easy to get, as long as your home

meets two basic requirements:


(1) It is reasonably well-built, and

(2) It is located in Nebraska.


Unfortunately, if your home is located in Florida, or any other area

that might actually be hit by a hurricane, most insurance companies

would prefer not to sell you hurricane insurance, because then they

might be required to pay YOU money, and that is certainly not why they

got into the insurance business in the first place. So you'll have to

scrounge around for an insurance company, which will

charge you an annual premium roughly equal to the replacement value of

your house. At any moment, this company can drop you like used dental

floss. Since Hurricane George, I have had an estimated 27 different

home-insurance companies. This week, I'm covered by the Bob and Big

Stan Insurance Company, under a policy which states that, in addition to

my premium, Bob and Big Stan are entitled, on demand, to my kidneys.




Your house should have hurricane shutters on all the windows, all the

doors, and -- if it's a major hurricane -- all the toilets. There are

several types of shutters, with advantages and disadvantages:


Plywood shutters: The advantage is that, because you make them yourself,

they're cheap. The disadvantage is that, because you make

them yourself, they will fall off.


Sheet-metal shutters: The advantage is that these work well, once you

get them all up. The disadvantage is that once you get them all up,

your hands will be useless bleeding stumps, and it will be December.


Roll-down shutters: The advantages are that they're very easy to use,

and will definitely protect your house. The disadvantage is that you

will have to sell your house to pay for them.


Hurricane-proof windows: These are the newest wrinkle in hurricane

protection: They look like ordinary windows, but they can withstand

hurricane winds! You can be sure of this, because the salesman says so.

He lives in Nebraska.


Hurricane Proofing your property: As the hurricane approaches, check

your yard for movable objects like barbecue grills, planters, patio

furniture, visiting relatives, etc... You should, as a precaution,

throw these items into your swimming pool (if you don't have a swimming

pool, you should have one built immediately). Otherwise, the hurricane

winds will turn these objects into deadly missiles.




If you live in a low-lying area, you should have an evacuation route

planned out. (To determine whether you live in a low-lying area, look

at your driver's license; if it says "Florida," you live in a low-lying

area). The purpose of having an evacuation route is to avoid being

trapped in your home when a major storm hits. Instead, you will be

trapped in a gigantic traffic jam several miles from your home, along

with two hundred thousand other evacuees. So, as a bonus, you will not

be lonely.




If you don't evacuate, you will need a mess of supplies. Do not buy

them now! Florida tradition requires that you wait until the last

possible minute, then go to the supermarket and get into vicious fights

with strangers over who gets the last can of SPAM. In addition to food

and water, you will need the following supplies:

1. 23 flashlights. At least $167 worth of batteries that turn

out, when the power goes off, to be the wrong size for the flashlights.

2. Bleach. (No, I don't know what the bleach is for. NOBODY

knows what the bleach is for, but it's traditional, so get some!)

3. 55 gallon drum of underarm deodorant.

4. A big knife that you can strap to your leg. (This will be

useless in a hurricane, but it looks cool.)

5. A large quantity of raw chicken, to placate the alligators.

(Ask anybody who went through Andrew; after the hurricane, there

WILL be irate alligators.)

6. $35,000 in cash or diamonds so that, after the hurricane

passes, you can buy a generator from a man with no discernible teeth.


Of course these are just basic precautions. As the hurricane draws

near, it is vitally important that you keep abreast of the situation by

turning on your television and watching TV reporters in rain slickers

stand right next to the ocean and tell you over and over how vitally

important it is for everybody to stay away from the ocean.


Good luck, and remember: It's great living in Paradise.

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