Levy county residents see hurricane preparedness first hand

LEVY COUNTY, Fla., (WCJB) -- Living in Florida for any length of time, hurricane preparedness measures can seem like a broken record....but Levy County emergency workers are advising people to take expert's advice seriously this year.

Stormwater surges affect all structures the same, but if you live in a mobile home, you could face a higher risk of wind damage.

Preparing your home is important, but preparing your livelihood--like a privately owned business--is crucial, and in western Levy County, employees have seen the effects of hurricane preparedness first hand.

"They put their whole life into these buildings and it takes one disaster to wipe it all out," said John Macdonald, Levy County EMS director.

Hurricane season is something Floridians are familiar with, but each year is as unpredictable as the last.

"About 40% of businesses don't return if they don't have a good emergency plan in place or a good recovery plan in place," Macdonald said.

Macdonald wants North Central Florida business and homeowners to be prepared, especially if the buildings are manufactured.

"When we do mandatory evacuation it's typically for mobile homes anything in low-lying storm areas, they are very susceptible to the wind," the director included.

But a veteran server at Steamers in Cedar Key says she's seen it affect Levy County businesses every season.

"Loss of power, so our freezers and all went down and the front steps, all of our front steps are in the middle of dog street," said Charissa Morris.

"We were out a week, which is still a good amount of time to be out of work for something. Even when something gets damaged here, it's gonna take more than flood insurance, because these people, this is their lives," she added.

But failing to prepare is preparing to fail...

"Hermine came up and had ten-and-a-half foot wave surges and they came up...and we do board up our windows," said Morris.

Macdonald says the best way to help yourself is to take evacuations seriously, because weather can get dangerous enough that EMS is unable to respond.

"Anything that's over 40 miles an hour wind speed we do not put emergency vehicles on the road," he said.

Macdonald also mentioned that if you or someone you know in levy county is handicapped, you can receive proper medical care during a weather emergency by signing up online.