Woodworking saves lives?

Just where the heck have I been?

For months, I’ve been writing like crazy, putting post after woodworking post on this site. But, recently, things have slowed down. Is it because I don’t want to punish you anymore with my warped sense of humor or lousy writing?

Nah, I’m not that nice.

HurricanesActually, it has to do with my day – and more and more and more frequently night – job. I am a hurricane preparedness specialist with Pinellas County government here on the west coast of Florida. Hurricane season has begun for the tropical Atlantic basin, and we’re in harm’s way.

So, for the past few months, I’ve been out talking to homeowner groups, businesses, schools, city meetings and anyone else who will listen about the importance of being prepared. Some folks get it, planning to evacuate from vulnerable areas and shuttering their windows. Other people aren’t convinced there is at threat.

Now, that’s scary.

What does this have to do with woodworking? Well, maybe it’s not fine furniture, but it’s woodworking nonetheless. A few years ago, I was out speaking to a group of homeowners, and someone said, “You tell us to put up this plywood, but we don’t know how to begin.”

Cutting plywoodThe idea struck me. Since I hadn’t shuttered my windows, it was time that I started to practice what I preached. I quickly scratched out a plan to cover my windows with plywood and show all the steps – from selecting the materials to cutting to fastening them to protect my windows.

Later that week, we were on our way to the local Home Depot to begin shooting. Stupid me couldn’t have had this idea earlier in the year, when it wasn’t so blazing hot during June afternoons in Florida. Sweat stained and all, I demonstrated the necessary steps to show people how to get ready. And, yes, you get to see some of my tools in my shop!

How successful was it? Well, today, whenever I am out shopping or at a restaurant, someone always calls me out as the Plywood Guy. I have also had dozens of offers from homeowners to come to their homes to shutter their windows. Hey, I’m a full service guy, but that’s a little too much for me!

If you want to watch this video – or any of the other hurricane safety videos I star in – visit our county’s hurricane video page.

And, if you live anywhere near the coast, it doesn’t hurt to take the advice I give to our residents – you have got to have a plan when it comes to hurricanes. You can review our county’s hurricane guide as a .PDF here.

Remember, the Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 through November 30.

That’s why I’m always so happy to see the first week of December.

2 thoughts on “Woodworking saves lives?”

  1. Hi Tom! You do great work. What you do really does save lives and your enthusiasm and talent and delivery of your message is perfect! I am a fan.

    Keep up the great work and I wish you a very dull hurricane season.

  2. Thanks, Gail. It’s a tough job to convince people that things can go wrong… but, hey, it’s job security! 😀

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