Hurricane Irma

Early this morning, Hurricane Irma went up the west coast of Florida, not far from where Charlie and I – and our cat – live in Central Florida. We live in a big, old, and strong hotel that’s been converted into condos. So we are safe.

I have a hurricane-themed activity that I often use with writing groups. You might like to try it yourself. How would you revise this press release?

The Board of Directors may elect to close the Carter Community Center in the event of an unexpected and severe weather emergency or other event that could aversely impact the safety of citizens and/or staff. The Directors will monitor conditions and reopen the Center when conditions are deemed suitable. Emergency closings will be announced at www.CarterCenter.org. Citizens who do not have access to a computer can tune in to radio station WLCG 620 and TV channel 9 LCTV for emergency closing information.

How did you do? Here are my comments:

  1. Nobody cares who’s going to decide when to close the center. Delete the references to the Board of Directors.
  2. Obviously the directors are going to monitor conditions! Get rid of that sentence too.
  3. All emergencies are unexpected and severe. More deletions.
  4. Anyone – not just citizens who don’t use computers – might want to listen to the radio or watch a TV announcement.
  5. There’s a lot of gobbledygook here: “in the event that,” “aversely impact the safety of citizens and/or staff,” “deemed suitable.” Use everyday language when you make an announcement. For example, “if” works better than “in the event that.”

Here’s a simpler announcement that does the job more efficiently:

The Carter Community Center may close for emergencies. Information will be posted at www.CarterCenter.org. You can also get updates from radio station WLCG 620 and TV channel 9 LCTV. 

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