Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Disaster Of Vigilance

Here we are at the board table in the back of the North Miami City Council chambers some twenty minutes after the Disaster Preparedness Board meeting was scheduled to begin. I don't think that it helps much that the meeting is scheduled mid afternoon on a weekday. That makes it kind of hard to get members to show up.

Myrna, the lady with the red hair, chairs the board. She's one of those people that are involved with several city boards and is active in the North Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor's Economic Task Force as well. She and I arrived with time to spare. I brought my cup of Starbucks coffee with me. Now there's a new Starbucks right across the street from city hall. Life is good...LOL

Anyway, what we're supposed to be talking about is things like hurricane preparedness, how to best evacuate people from near coastal and low lying flood prone areas of the city, getting Florida Power & Light to upgrade their tree trimming schedule so we're less likely to lose power due to downed wires, that sort of thing. FP&L just agreed to a more agressive trimming schedule, not all we asked for but much better than what was happening in the past. I brought up the elevator situation in city hall. There is a back-up generator but only one elevator. Elevators have been known to break. I must be the only one left in town that remembers when they built the building, four stories plus basement, back in the 1960's. Only the first two floors were finished and being used in the beginning. A second elevator shaft was incorporated into the building so a second elevator could be added later, but never was. I brought it up at the meeting, and even city staff seemed unaware that the second shaft was there hidden behind walls on every floor.

Well, now every nook and cranny in the building is full of occupied offices, all five floors, and I pointed out that someone in a wheelchair wouldn't be all that easy to get up from the basement or down from the fourth floor in case of an emergency. For that matter, the existing elevator is too small for the paramedics to get a gurney into it. Our city hall doesn't conform to our current building code! Hopefully now something will get done about it. After it's been "studied", "researched", and gone through a comittee or three of course. I've brought this up a time or two in the past, but nobody seems to remember a thing about it. Welcome to government...


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