We Can Learn From Hurricane Ravaged Panama City During Our Coronavirus Recovery

We Can Learn From Hurricane Ravaged Panama City During Our Coronavirus Recovery

Panama City knows all about reopening an economy.

18 months ago Hurricane Michael tore through the Panhandle town of 40,000. The category 5 hurricane destroyed thousands of homes, smashing commercial buildings to splinters, and ripping off roofs. The City Manager, McQueen has led the effort to rebuild the city & its economy and now our nation is poised to join him as it tries to transition out of a coronavirus shutdown in the coming weeks and months. Although Panama City hasn’t fully recovered from Michael, it’s residents are all too familiar with what an economic reboot entails.

The damage was historic leaving more than 14,000 displaced residents and more than 5,000 instantly homeless children and the federal government was little help. “Panama City has received fewer state and federal disaster relief dollars than any other city hit by a storm of this magnitude,” states McQueen. The city was still recovering when the pandemic began and not all businesses had reopened. The City Commission voted to extend the state of emergency order for Hurricane Michael on April 14 – the same day it extended the state of emergency for COVID-19.

“The lessons learned from Michael are immediately applicable to the work that must be done in Panama City and across the country to weather the damage from this pandemic,” McQueen continues. More than 1,000 Floridians have died from the coronavirus since the nation’s first recorded death in February. The state has logged more than 30,000 confirmed cases. Panama City is the county seat for Bay County, which has reported 63 cases and two deaths. Several states, including neighboring Georgia, have begun controversial efforts to reopen. Florida remains under a stay-at-home order through the end of April, but Gov. Ron DeSantis gave some municipalities the green light to reopen beaches. DeSantis asked his state coronavirus task force for a phase-in plan to reopen the state.

McQueen says the economic impact of the pandemic will mirror that of the hurricane in some ways. McQueen talks of a “V-shaped recovery curve” in which a number of businesses reopen quickly. “Some are even talking about there being a ‘W’-shaped curve with a possible second wave of the virus or a spike in bankruptcies bringing another dip,” he says. “I, however, believe the curve will look like a ‘U,’ ” much like the curve after Michael. Businesses will slowly reopen as conditions are appropriate.

Communication is key, McQueen says. Leaders should communicate early and often, which will foster trust and help reduce anxiety born of uncertainty and displace rumor and speculation. McQueen refers to the “emotional curve” developed by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“Equally important to successfully navigating a crisis is the twin need to recognize the six distinct phases of emotional reaction,” he says. “From fear and uncertainty through disillusionment and finally to reconstruction.” The emergence of anti-quarantine protests in the USA is understandable as optimism morphs into disillusionment, he says.

Every community across the nation is at a different point in this curve, given their pre-COVID-19 underlying economic conditions, population density and the arrival time of the virus, he says. “One piece of advice: Document everything,” he says. “Elements of federal assistance are often contingent on showing the money was properly used.

“Pre-disaster planning is critical,” McQueen says. The warning lead-time for a storm is a few days. COVID-19 lurked for months. He notes that federal health officials have warned a second wave could come in the fall or winter. “The best time to prepare for an event is before it happens. With the pandemic in full swing, communities should look ahead,” he says. “The time to plan for that crisis is now.”

Perry & Young is a nationally recognized personal injury, car accident, & commercial trucking accident law firm that has cultivated a reputation for our ability to successfully resolve even the most challenging cases. Over 35 years of experience, our award-winning team has secured multi-millions in numerous verdicts and settlements for clients across Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and all over the country. Learn more about our services, your potential case and rights, and how we can help by calling (850) 215-7777 for a FREE consultation.

Original Source

Hurricane Michael donation from FJA Research and Education Foundation

Hurricane Michael donation from FJA Research and Education Foundation

Donation checks for Hurricane Michael

Two weeks before the anniversary of Hurricane Michael, a ray of light was seen. FJA Research & Education Foundation donated more than $20,000 at the Bay Count Court House. The proceeds were presented to Habitat for Humanity ReStore of Bay County Florida, and Rebild Bay County Inc.

FJA members and attorneys Larry Perry, Kelly Roberson, and Waylon Thompson were on hand in the courthouse to present the donation on behalf of FJA-Research and Education Foundation to 14th Circuit Judge Chris Patterson, Lance Rettig Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity, and Donna Pilson USAF(R) representative for Rebuild Bay County Inc.

“Hopefully in the future, we have more contributions, as other charitable organizations reach out to our firm,” Perry said.

“This money from the Florida Justice Associaton will help us in what we’re doing. We’re doing both repairs for people impacted by the hurricane and we’re building new homes as well. To give you an idea, at least two full repairs can be done with this amount,” Rettig said.

Please visit these organizations on Facebook to learn more about what they do to help the citizens of Florida with disaster relief.

The money came from multiple attorneys who are part of the Florida Justice Association.

Pictured from left to right:

Larry Perry, Kelly Roberson, Judge Chris Patterson, Donna Pilson, Lance Rettig, Waylon Thompson.

If you would like to join Perry & Young in contributing to the victims of Hurrican Michael or the FJA Research and Education Foundation please give us a call at 850-215-7777 or contact us online.

Forgotten Category 5 Hurricane Still Casts Shadow on Floridians

Forgotten Category 5 Hurricane Still Casts Shadow on Floridians

Hurricane Michael was a storm many Panhandle residents will never forget; however, the rest of Florida seems to have forgotten according to a survey released by REBUILD 850. This historic storm made landfall on October 10, 2018, and was the strongest storm to ever hit the Florida Panhandle, with wind speeds of up to 155 mph- it was just recently was upgraded to a category 5. The storm and the devastation that comes along with it moved quickly throughout the area, leaving at least 43 dead and entire towns wiped away. Damages are estimated to at least $5 billion but recovery has been slow for many locals.

Rebuild 850 was launched shortly after Hurricane Michael made landfall with the intentions “to keep North Florida’s recovery front and center and to marshal ongoing support” according to their website. REBUILD 850 is co-chaired by former Florida House Speakers Allan Bense and Will Weatherford and former U.S. Representative Gwen Graham. They also have a diverse team of dedicated partner organizations urging anyone that can to visit, volunteer, donate, and invest in this region that has been so devastated by Hurricane Michael.

The survey results collected by Sachs Media Groupon on behalf of the National Hurricane Survival Initiative and Rebuild 850 showed nearly half of respondents would do nothing to help people affected by the hurricane and nearly 75 percent said they would not consider donating money to help with relief efforts. Lack of public support might be because for most Floridians, life has gone back to normal. They are not reminded day in and day out of the devastation left by the storm like the residents of the Panhandle. As the new hurricane season ramps up, the Panhandle is still in shambles from last year’s Category 5 storm.

The survey was meant to gauge statewide awareness of the storm and its continued effects. “These panhandle residents need the support of our entire state,” said Allan Bense, REBUILD 850 co-chair and former Speaker of the House. “These communities are suffering. We’re all Floridians, and we need to come together. We are urging all Floridians to lend a hand to our most vulnerable citizens.” Homelessness, unemployment, and mental health issues are still very real issues for these Floridians. “Many Panhandle residents feel like they’ve been forgotten by their state,” said former Congresswoman Gwen Graham. “These survey results are incredibly frustrating. Families are camped out in tents and children are struggling with anxiety, and Floridians in other areas of the state are unaware.”

Even more disheartening was the fact that the report found nearly half of those respondents didn’t know which hurricane had hit the panhandle and fewer than half understood the severity of Hurricane Michael. “While we’re thankful for the federal and state funding the Panhandle relief and coverage effort has received, we need to come together as Floridians to do even more,” said former House Speaker Will Weatherford. “This was the second most powerful storm to ever hit the mainland United States, and it will continue to take more time and money to recover and rebuild.”

Perry & Young is a nationally recognized personal injury, medical malpractice and property damage firm that has cultivated a reputation for our ability to successfully resolve even the most challenging cases. Over 35 years of experience, our award-winning team has secured multi-millions in numerous verdicts and settlements for clients across Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and the country.  Learn more about our services, your potential case and rights, and how we can help by calling (850) 215-7777 for a FREE consultation.

Are You Ready for Hurricane Season 2019?

Are You Ready for Hurricane Season 2019?

Hurricane season officially begins this weekend so if you are not prepared yet, it’s time to get prepared for the possibility of a big storm. Although the season isn’t technically here, we’ve already seen the first named storm with Subtropical Storm Andrea forming in the Atlantic in May. But how soon will it be before coastal communities in the Atlantic or the Gulf Coast are bracing for more storms?

The hurricane season typically runs from June 1 until November 30, with a spike in hurricanes and tropical storms usually happening in September. In September 2017, Hurricane Irma impacted the Florida coast and was followed by Hurricane Maria, which destroyed areas of Puerto Rico. Hurricane Michael hit the Florida panhandle last year and was the most intense hurricane ever recorded, the most expensive and deadly hurricane ever, and the largest hurricane in diameter.

So, what do you need to do to be prepared for the potentially big storm? Well emotionally, you are ever prepared but there are some items that you should have on hand such as:

Some of the items you should always have on hand include:

  • An Emergency Plan
  • Bottled water
  • Batteries
  • Candles/flashlights
  • A NOAA radio, or radio for emergencies
  • Canned goods or non-perishable foods
  • A safe for important documents
  • An app to monitor the weather

Researchers are predicting 13 named storms during the upcoming hurricane season. Five storms this season are predicted to become hurricanes and two to reach major hurricane strength, which is classified as Category 3 to Category 5. “It takes only one storm near you to make this an active season,” cautioned Michael Bell, associate professor in the CSU Department of Atmospheric Science. If the last few seasons have taught us anything, being over prepared is ever a bad thing. Other than items you should have on hand, you should also make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy is also in good standing and covers what you need it to in the event a hurricane does happen, and damage is done to the property.

Perry & Young is a nationally recognized personal injury, medical malpractice and property damage firm that has cultivated a reputation for our ability to successfully resolve even the most challenging cases. Over 35 years of experience, our award-winning team has secured multi-millions in numerous verdicts and settlements for clients across Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and the country.  Learn more about our services, your potential case and rights, and how we can help by calling (850) 215-7777 for a FREE consultation.

Washington County Pursuing Opioid Lawsuit

Washington County, Fla. – The Washington County Commission has hired the Perry & Young law firm to represent the county in the Opioid Multi-District Litigation.

The firm is partnered with DeGaris & Rogers  has serves on numerous federal multidistrict litigation panels.

“For nearly ten years Perry & Young has pursued cases against doctors, clinics and pharmacies for

over prescribing and mis-prescribing opioids which led to the wrongful deaths of several residents in Bay, Washington, Jackson, Gulf and Holmes counties,” officials wrote in a news release. “The firms intend on filing a lawsuit within the next two weeks against the drug manufactures and multinational distributors.”

Washington County has the highest per capita rate of opioid prescriptions in the State of Florida.

“The citizens of Washington County have paid an “opioid tax” of nearly a million dollars this past year alone for increase in governmental services in police, emergency medical services, court services and community clinics which  impact is directly related to the increase in opioid use in the area,” officials added.

 

Perry & Young Recognized as Top Law Firm

Panama City Living Magazine recently notified our firm that we have been chosen by local residents to receive the Reader’s Choice Award. The firm received this recognition in 2015 as well.

A large thank you goes out to all of you reading this who made such an award possible. We are glad that the residents of Bay County know how dedicated we are to fighting for you! Here is to another great year of preserving the rights of injured people in Bay County.

Go #TeamPY

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We service Florida, Georgia, and Alabama in the areas of Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice. We have 4 offices locations throughout the Florida Panhandle and we are always available to travel to you.

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