Emergency Planners Worry About Complacency

May 11, 2016

Florida has benefited from a decade-long hurricane drought, but as the 2016 storm season approaches, officials are worried about a false sense of security.

Hurricane Wilma in October, 2006, was the last major storm to cause widespread damage in Florida.

A lot has happened since Hurricane Wilma slammed into Florida in 2005, killing 26 people and causing $20 billion in damage. But officials say an explosion in social media doesn’t necessarily mean Floridians will be better prepared for the next big storm.

Addressing the Governor’s 30th Annual Hurricane Conference, Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon said Wednesday he’s worried about a shortage of special needs shelters and a 10 percent reduction in the number of homes covered by National Flood Insurance.

“There’s nothing worse, and I think you will agree if you’ve done it, when you go to somebody’s house, and they’ve just flooded out, and they tell you they don’t have flood insurance. Because you know how hard it is going to be for those folks to recover.”

National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb said mobile devices can spread emergency warnings to a wider audience, but he pointed out they still can’t tell their owners if they are in a hurricane evacuation zone.