When there’s a hurricane moving toward (or through) the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico, and it looks like it might have some impact on the Florida Keys, we don’t bury our heads in the beach sand.
For those of us whose job and passion it is to showcase the island chain to visitors, major storms are something to take seriously — and be proactive and honest about.
That’s why, almost 20 years ago, an innovative hurricane safety partnership was established between the Keys’ tourism council, emergency management officials, community leaders, and meteorology and hurricane experts.
The purpose of the partnership is simple yet profound: to keep our visitors safe by providing the information they need to make smart decisions. Developed in the spring of 1998, it has been expanded and refined every year since then.
So today, as concerns about Hurricane Irma loom for so many people, the Keys tourism website is featuring the latest updates about the storm and its potential path, strength and timing — and vital evacuation information.
The Keys’ Facebook page and other social media outlets are carrying the same info.
And information is being proactively posted about the status of airports, transportation options, postponements of scheduled events and other important elements.
The Keys tourism website also features hurricane safety pages — complete with a downloadable brochure that can be printed — to provide information and related resources.
This hurricane partnership has won several awards since it was created, and has been used as a model for other Caribbean-area destinations.
So if you have plans to come to the Florida Keys, know that we’ll share the information we receive about Irma and its progress — because your safety matters to us.
After Irma passes, updates will continue to advise potential visitors about the Keys’ situation.
And once the storm is no longer an issue, the island chain will be waiting for you.