Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Miami Lighthouse for the Blind

I just came back from the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind where, through a cooperative effort with DuPont, we have installed a hurricane "shelter in place" for its residents.

As we have learned in the past 12 months, anyone in Miami, and in the country for that fact, can be whatever they want be with a little hard work. Our friends to the north in New York just recently swore in the first blind governor of New York, Governor Paterson. However, a little known fact is the first blind governor in the country was from Arkansas, Gov Riley. He was a two term Lt Gov and a war hero during WWII where he lost his sight in battle.

As we Miamians know well, June is the beginning of Hurricane season and while we hope and pray that it will be an uneventful one, we know that we must be prepared. In fact this year we have already seen one of the worst years in history for tornados as they have ravaged the plain states, the south and even the mid Atlantic region. And the experts have predicted that it will be a very heavy hurricane season.Therefore, this is the time of year for the citizens of Miami to think about severe storm preparedness.

The city is already taking steps to prepare, but Miami has always been a leading city in implementing the best storm protection practices. Since Hurricane Andrew, Miami has lead the way in developing the most innovative options for protecting its citizens. Storm protection building codes that were only found in Miami a decade ago are now being used in almost every state from Rhode Island to Texas.And while we hope to always have the proper notice and time to evacuate all their citizens, sometimes there is just not enough time or some at-risk populations cannot evacuate because of their unique situation.

Shelters are an important aspect of Miami's plan to protect its residents.Where DuPont is leading the way in innovation is through a new concept -- shelter in place. This can only be recommended when there is the proper technology and we have that here with the DuPont StormRoom. This donation of the DuPont StormRoom made with Kevlar will offer the folks at Lighthouse a "safe haven" in case there is any need for a severe storm shelter. The same Kevlar technology used to protect our police with bullet resistant vests, now can be used to protect the rest of Miami's citizens at Miami Lighthouse or in-home shelters.