On September 4, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Florida as one of the strongest hurricanes in history pummeled toward the state.
Just four days later, hundreds of thousands of Floridians across the state were under evacuation, making it the state’s largest evacuation on record. Among many of the mandatory evacuations were residents in manufactured homes, which are considered to be highly susceptible to strong winds.
Hurricane Irma was the first time in Newby Management’s history to have every community in the portfolio effected by one hurricane. While some communities had minimal damage, all were effected.
At the beginning of the hurricane season, each community has a packet available for residents. It features shelter listings, a list of items to take during an evacuation and evacuation routes so that residents have a plan.
The Newby Management corporate team began preparations for Hurricane Irma nearly a week prior to landfall. The team watched updates, double checked supplies, and made sure the team had evacuation plans.
3 days out, the Newby Management Emergeny Action (NEAT) was mobilized to begin prepping communities. NEAT was formed in 2005, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Charley.
NEAT is a first response team to check on resident safety and property damage after a disaster like weather, fire, flood, terrorism, and violence. Over the past 11 years, the NEAT team has been deployed 15 times to assist our communities across Florida.
Tpyically, counties issue mandatory evacuations for RV and mobile home communities at least two days prior to a hurricane. While some residents choose to stay, all team members are required to evacuate.
At the home office in Ellenton, the entire team comes together to discuss NEAT deployment strategies for recovery after Irma. Because Irma was so large, our team had to be ready to head to almost any part of Florida following the storm.
There were four teams ready to go to the worst hit areas. From the home office, Newby Management had the CEO, president, IT, regional managers, marketing and training teams, along with the chaplain with boots on the ground for recovery.
As Irma made landfall in Florida, our plans changed with the storm. Todd Newby, the president, and the regional managers stayed in contact to keep the team updated. Once regional managers began hearing from the communities, the latest deployment plans were put into action.
Irma made landfall in many of our communities through Saturday night and into Sunday. Some of the NEAT team was ready to respond as quickly as Monday afternoon.
From Tuesday through the following Monday, there were teams from the home office and sister communities in Lakeland, Fort Myers and east coast areas. Most of he communities had resident volunteers who helped each other, as well as assisted in the clean-up of common areas.
It was a blessing to see our team members and residents come together and serve each other following the hurricane. In one community, there was a couple who couldn’t do physical work, so they grilled hamburgers. In another community, there was a resident who rode around giving out coffee and doubts.
Thanks to the efforts of NEAT, the team and residents, within a week of the hurricane you’d never know there was a disaster in most communities. There are still repairs in some, but largely the communities fared well. The amazing response of the team helped keep everyone safe and make recovery easier for all.
Learn more about NEAT and how Newby Management assists our communities in times of disaster.