Hurricane season

At Devonshire, community members are safe at home…all year round

Created date

November 29th, 2019
Devonshire’s leaders and employees take every precaution during hurricane season to ensure that life goes on uninterrupted for the people who live there.

Devonshire’s leaders and employees take every precaution during hurricane season to ensure that life goes on uninterrupted for the people who live there.

As Florida’s east coast braced for Hurricane Dorian this past September, community members at Devonshire at PGA National knew they were in good hands. Located in a non-evacuation zone, Devonshire boasts top-grade, steel beam construction, and hurricane-rated windows. 

Not once in the community’s 20-year history have community members had to evacuate. 

“There simply isn’t a better place in South Florida to be during severe weather conditions,” says Devonshire community member Bob Frasier. “The community is well prepared at all times. We are safe, with no need whatsoever to venture outdoors during a storm. We are well cared for by a staff that is more like family than employees looking after us. We are well informed about any and all changes to the weather and how those changes affect community life. And we can keep ourselves busy with the variety of activities that are planned for us.”

Careful planning 

With news that West Palm Beach was expected to face the eye of Hurricane Dorian, Devonshire staff immediately put the community’s storm preparedness plan in place. This precautionary action guaranteed that the community would have adequate staff resources and supplies.

In addition, Devonshire maintained constant communication throughout the hurricane threat. Ongoing communication updates regarding community operations were conducted via town hall meetings, cubbie-stuffer notices, and bulletin board postings. In addition, family members and friends were kept informed via Devonshire’s website and Facebook page.

“Communications and preparation started seven days before the hurricane projected to hit landfall,” says Miguel Moronta, manager of customer service and communications. “We also had frequent communications between Devonshire and our corporate partners. My role was to send all community communications using various methods of communications such as the My Erickson app, in-house channel 63, Swift-reach, and notices under every community member’s door.”

“The community’s team of professionals did a remarkable job with storm preparedness,” says Devonshire Executive Director Jim Wingardner. “Many of our community members stopped me to say what a great job our entire team did planning and implementing our emergency response plan for Hurricane Dorian. It was an amazing team effort, with the support of our corporate partners also playing a key role in the community’s readiness.”

Dedicated staff

A large part of the team effort was the commitment of staff members to stay on campus throughout the hurricane threat, pitching in wherever needed, to ensure that life went on as normal for members of the community. 

Maintenance staff ensured that the community remained safe, clearing downspouts, checking backup generators, and testing electrical outlets. Executive Chef Joe Marinelli and his culinary team continued to prepare three meals a day, and activities personnel kept all activities running smoothly.

“I know that Devonshire is always prepared for severe weather conditions, and this was no exception,” says Bob. “In addition to keeping us safe, several activities were added, which helps to keep peoples’ minds off of what might happen.”

Activities Assistant Amy Spiegel stayed on campus for two days, assisting with a variety of activities. 

“In addition to our regularly scheduled activities, we added a trivia team competition and bingo in the lounge,” she says. “I witnessed, firsthand, the dedication of each employee to making our community members happy, comfortable, and safe. Many community members complimented our staff on the jobs they performed during this time, from the food service to the activities. It was as if we didn’t even feel that we were near a hurricane in our area.” 

Moronta also stayed with his family at Devonshire throughout the hurricane watch.

“I’m extremely thankful that my family was able to stay with me at Devonshire,” he says. “I believe there is no safer place to be when facing a hurricane.”

Fortunately for the West Palm Beach area, Hurricane Dorian took an unexpected sharp northern turn, keeping Devonshire from facing severe weather conditions. For their part, community members are grateful to the superb care and concern of the staff and the commitment to their safety. 

“We were blessed that the storm didn’t hit us,” says Bob. “But I know that the buildings are designed to withstand severe weather, and that our staff has implemented plans to ensure we are safe and well cared for.”