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Be prepared

That’s Devonshire’s motto when it comes to hurricane readiness

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May 26th, 2017
As part of Devonshire’s hurricane preparedness, Director of Engineering Eddy Hernandez inspects the community’s roofs. Here he checks to ensure that an exhaust vent is secured.

As part of Devonshire’s hurricane preparedness, Director of Engineering Eddy Hernandez inspects the community’s roofs. Here he checks to ensure that an exhaust vent is secured.

Members of Devonshire at PGA National, Erickson Living’s full-service retirement community in Palm Beach Gardens, lead a worry-free, pampered lifestyle. 

And because of Devonshire’s location, worry-free living extends through hurricane season. Unlike communities located farther east near the shoreline, Devonshire is not in an evacuation or flood zone, and its members have never had to evacuate. 

After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Florida elevated its building code. It’s now one of the harshest codes in the country, and anything built after Andrew was built in compliance with it. 

That includes Devonshire, built in 1999, which has impact windows and concrete block and steel beam construction. 

Still, hurricane preparedness is a priority at Devonshire. The community’s director of engineering, Eddy Hernandez, is a longtime Florida resident who weathered many a hurricane before coming to Devonshire.

All year long

Devonshire’s hurricane preparedness goes on year-round, beginning when the previous season ends each November. 

Department directors, including those from security, housekeeping, and culinary, gather with engineering and do a SWOT analysis. “We review our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats [SWOT] and discuss what we might do differently next season,” Hernandez says.

In early spring, testing begins on the satellite phones needed in potential emergencies, and monthly Resident Council safety meetings, open to all Devonshire members, review the safety materials.

May brings breakout sessions to educate members on how to prepare for hurricane season. “We review hurricane protocol, update our handouts, and discuss do’s and don’ts,” says Hernandez. An example: Have an adequate supply of needed medications.

In June the same conversation takes place with staff members who will be on site should a hurricane threaten. Team A, Devonshire’s department managers and directors, stays on site before and during the storm; Team B relieves them afterward.

July marks a final review of all preparation procedures and an inventory of supplies. 

“We make sure everything is done and we’re ready for bad weather,” says Supervisor of Facilities Bobby Jarrett.

“And we do a walk-through of the physical plant with our security partners,” adds Hernandez. 

“We double-check everything,” he says, “and then we watch the weather and track the storm. We’re prepared for whatever comes because our members are our first priority. When people move to Devonshire, they come into a place that takes hurricanes seriously.” 

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