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Weather doesn’t stop life at Seabrook

Community’s weather contingency plans keep residents safe, secure

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October 25th, 2011

During hurricanes, blizzards, or other weather emergencies, Tinton Falls local Jeanne McArthur says her home at Seabrook is the safest place to be. Living here, it s like, Oh, there s a little weather problem outside? she says of life at the Erickson Living community where glass-enclosed walkways connect every building and residents have access to restaurants, a medical center, fitness and aquatics centers, classrooms, workshops, and more than 150 clubs and activities. Most importantly, though, the community s comprehensive Emergency Preparedness Plan not only covers severe storms but also routine winter weather. We have a team that knows what s important to our residents, says Seabrook Director of General Services Karen Kollmer, peace of mind.

Weathering the storm

During severe weather like the blizzards of 2010/2011, Seabrook staff begins preparing a contingency plan immediately upon learning of the storm. Usually we know about weather emergencies ahead of time, so we have a core group of about 20-plus staff who stay the night, Kollmer says. That s the key to weathering the storm getting staff here before no one can get in. In addition to staffing, electricity, food, and an emergency alert phone line remain top priorities. In the case of a power outage, generators run to power emergency electrical outlets located in the community s two clubhouses. Additionally, the emergency pull cords in every apartment home and public restrooms throughout the community remain active at all times. During a storm, the community enacts emergency phone messages with running accounts of news and alerts. Our management has done a superb job in emergencies, Jeanne says. They keep us very well informed. We give them as much information as possible, letting them know we are prepared, Kollmer says. During a blizzard or routine snowfall, Seabrook enacts a snow removal plan, which can often be deceiving, says Kollmer. The roads inside campus will be great, but roads outside can be horrible. That s why she sends scouts out before Seabrook s transportation system of shuttles and buses begins service. We make sure everything s safe out there, and we make sure our residents are informed.

Come on, Irene

While Seabrook fared well during hurricane Irene this past August, Kollmer admits, We never had to prepare for a hurricane before, so I got advice from Eagle s Trace, another Erickson Living community in Houston, Tex. The best advice she received, she says, was to remove all items from patios and balconies that could become projectiles. My team and I personally went to each and every apartment to help people get items off of their patios and balconies, she says. After the storm, they returned to help replace the items. Kollmer adds that her staff members aren t the only ones caring for Seabrook s community members; they care for each other. During [hurricane Irene], 47 residents came to me and wanted to volunteer to help out. Seabrook is really a community that works together. It s a sense of community staff and residents helping each other. We re a family here, she says.

Sit back and relax

In preparing for this winter, Seabrook community member Pat Hann says she s glad she lives at Seabrook rather than in her old house. Living here, we have no worries so it s really not stressful, she says. At Seabrook, Pat doesn t get water in her basement. She doesn t have to shovel snow or dig her car out. Instead, she takes her Pilates class as usual, has lunch with her two sisters [who also live at Seabrook] as usual, and continues life as usual.

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