Stepping up during the storm
As a dependent of an ER nurse who was required to stay at Bayfront Health in St. Petersburg throughout the hurricane, I was also allowed to take shelter there with our dog. In fact, Bayfront took in all of their 300-plus employees, along with 700-plus dependents and more than 100 dogs and cats. Every nook and hallway, conference room and office was used.
The hospital was "locked down" from 11 a.m. Sunday through about 11 a.m. Monday with no one allowed to leave or enter (other than patients brought by EMS). Senior and middle management were on hand to register and direct everyone, give assistance and provide volunteers to help us all find our sleeping places and pet locations. These managers went above and beyond their duties. The cafeteria staff provided "hurricane specials" and were cheerful and calm throughout. Medical staff took good care of patients as they always do. This hospital is a credit to Pinellas County and showed its true colors as Hurricane Irma roared through Florida. Well done, Bayfront!
Bruce Blazej, Clearwater
Count your blessings
Is your glass half full or half empty? We survived what could have been a catastrophic hurricane, yet some still without power choose to spit venom and vitriol at TECO and other power companies.
After the storm, I checked on a close friend who was paralyzed by an IED in Iraq. He is in a wheelchair and has countless medical issues. After being evacuated from his home, his hotel lost power. Forget about lights and AC; he was on the third floor and could not leave his room for five days. He reminded me that in Iraq it was 100-plus degrees in fatigues, helmet and flak jacket, with people trying to kill you. Hurricane Irma, he told me, was nothing.
Count your blessings. My glass is half full, thank you.
Bobby Santos, Tampa
Gas stations need backup
It should be mandatory that all gas stations have a generator on hand that can be operational after the next disaster. The inability of any gas station with fuel to pump after Hurricane Irma due to power failure is unacceptable. A generator would have enabled these stations to pump fuel without commercial power.
The Legislature must amend Statute 526, which applies only to gas stations operating within a half-mile of an interstate highway or state or federally designated evacuation route. This statute requires these facilities to have a transfer switch and an alternate generated power source that would enable them to pump fuel after commercial power failure.
This statute needs to be expanded to cover all gas stations in the state. Now is the time to do it.
Harry Booth, Beverly Hills
Lessons in leadership | Sept. 15, commentary
The way to run a government
Well said, Adam Goodman. While generally not a fan of Gov. Rick Scott, I was nothing but proud of the leadership displayed throughout our experience with Irma.
Now, our leaders need to realize that by taking action in the mundane day-to-day performance of responsibilities, we could have a better-run government that truly meets the needs of the people and makes us proud of our nation.
Diane Cruz, Pinellas Park