Hurricane preparedness seminar informs seniors

PAHOKEE — The Glades Technical Advisory Committee hosted a pre-hurricane season workshop last week at the city’s waterfront marina, geared toward helping to make sure senior citizens are as ready and as well-informed as possible about preparations that will help lessen the impact of the next big storm.

The event drew several dozen people, among them local government officials from around the Lake Okeechobee/Glades region of Palm Beach County, including three Pahokee city commissioners. Vice Mayor Clara Murvin and Commissioners Regina Bohlen and Bennie L. Everett III were there, along with several workers from the public health and human services spectrum.

Lake Okeechobee News/Chris Felker
Mary Blakeney, senior manager of the Palm Beach County Department of Emergency Management, speaks at the forum April 25.

The invited speaker was Mary Blakeney, senior manager of the Palm Beach County Department of Emergency Management, and the event was facilitated by the Office of Community Revitalization.

Her purpose was to “provide critical information on hurricane preparedness, specifically for Glades senior residents. With direction from the office of District 6 County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, the Palm Beach County Office of Community Revitalization is helping to ensure that senior residents receive and are aware of hurricane-related services and assistance whenever they are in need.”

To that end, information was shared on every aspect of tropical-storm preparedness one can imagine. There were also multiple pieces of information available on a table at the entrance to the meeting room, with information about the threat of flooding from tropical weather events and how to prepare; what to do if a hurricane threatens the area; a shelters list and information about making a hurricane plan for one’s family members and voluminous information for people with disabilities.

Lake Okeechobee News/Chris Felker
An audience member raises a question during the interaction after Ms. Blakeney’s presentation.

At the end of her presentation and a question-and-answer session, which went on for a couple of hours, Angela Johnson, a partnership specialist with the U.S. Deparment of Commerce/Census Bureau went through information about participating in the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census, a decennial exercise which will be conducted next spring.

Several aides to State Rep. Tina Polsky, D-District 81, were there as well, giving out her updated “Hurricane Preparedness Guide” for constituents, redone for 2019 and available in three languages or large print by request.

Chris Felker can be reached at

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