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Posted: May 18, 2016

Are you a good neighbor?

The days following a storm can be a time of camaraderie between you and your neighbors. But it also can be a time of strife. Before letting tempers flare, keep in mind that we’re all in this together.

Assign people to check on neighbors, especially the elderly, until everyone’s accounted for.

If you’re alone, find companionship.

Share your meals. One of you has two dozen eggs, another a freezer full of snapper. Some have tanks with full grills and others don’t. Rather than waste perishable foods, have a neighborhood feast.

Pool everyone’s supply lists and send just one person to the store. This cuts down on traffic.

Heat and humidity add to stress and can shorten tempers. Understand that if your temper is short, it might just be the weather. Be patient. Cool off with a dip in the pool (if it’s healthy to do so), a cold drink or some quality time at the air conditioner.

Remember the Golden Rule.

Forget old disputes.

Don’t let new disputes boil over. Most damages will fall under “acts of God.” If you believe your neighbor is culpable for damage to your home or property, don’t fight it out in your front yard. Keep a cool head. Make sure to gather information, take photographs and preserve evidence. Call a lawyer when things calm down. Don’t call police unless necessary; they’ll be overwhelmed.

Help those less fortunate around you.

Keep perspective. You’re alive, and property can be replaced.

Be patient. Everyone’s trying as hard as they can to return life to normal.

Look for healthy escapes such as listening to music, playing games and sharing reading materials.

Sources: Florida International University; University of Florida; St. Mary’s Church, Pahokee