Time To Get Ready, Florida
North American Precis Syndicate
Floridians can protect their homes and families from severe storms, says Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca. (NAPS)
by Chip LaMarca
has now sustained 117 direct hits by hurricanes in recorded history,
according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This is
almost twice as many major storms as the runner-up state of Texas.
In fact, in Florida’s
annual hurricane season, which runs from June through November, residents can
anticipate tropical storm and hurricane warnings for all or parts of the
From the effects of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, to more recent Hurricanes
Maria and Irma, we’ve been here before—and, sadly, know all too
well the aftermath that comes with them.
Floridians typically expect the storms to hit somewhere along the Sunshine State’s 1,350-mile shoreline,
but how prepared are their homes, offices and other buildings to withstand
the potential damage? Not very, it seems.
In a survey commissioned by the National Hurricane Survival Initiative,
more than half of Floridians said they were caught unprepared in at least one
way—ranging from lack of window protection to absence of an evacuation
plan—leading up to Hurricane Irma’s detrimental landfall last
Busy hurricane seasons—such as that of 2017, which left Florida
battered—are the “new normal,” says former FEMA Director
Craig Fugate. Add to the fact that hurricanes leave states and local
jurisdictions with billions in recovery costs and the result is debilitating
In response, nearly a dozen organizations, including the FAIR Foundation,
International Hurricane Research Center, National Emergency Management
Association, and Salvation Army, have recently come together to launch
“Get Ready, Florida!”—an awareness campaign to educate and
encourage Floridians to take the necessary steps to protect their most
valuable assets—their homes and families—in advance of the
upcoming hurricane season.
The data tell us this proactive approach makes economic sense. Research by
the FAIR Foundation shows that for every $1 invested in mitigation, the state
avoids $4 or more in post-hurricane spending.
One way “Get Ready, Florida!”
recommends residents prepare is through hurricane protection improvements and
retrofits to their homes. Partnering with the campaign on this effort is
Ygrene, an energy efficiency and resiliency finance company in Florida helping
residents make these improvement projects faster, easier and more affordable
through its Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.
PACE financing provides a long-term, low-rate financing option for
consumers who otherwise would be forced to turn to short-term, high-rate
financing. It enables Florida
homeowners to save on home improvements and hurricane protection projects
such as impact-resistant windows and doors, roofing, HVAC and solar panels.
These retrofits significantly improve a building’s resilience to even
the strongest of storms.
As the survey findings from the National Hurricane Survival Initiative
have shown, however, there are still thousands of Floridians who need help
preparing for future hurricane seasons. In fact, according to the survey,
while fewer than 8 percent of Floridians said they were aware of the PACE
program, the majority—53 percent—said they would be interested in
such a program.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Florida
residents need every resource available—from affordable home-hardening
improvements, proper insurance coverage, and a well-devised preparedness
plan—to prevent avoidable losses before, during and after catastrophic
“Get Ready, Florida!” is a
worthy effort to help Florida residents
protect their property and loved ones from severe storms, and to create a
more resilient future for Florida’s
communities and beyond.
for tips on hurricane preparedness and for more information on the “Get
• Chip LaMarca is the Broward County
Commissioner in Florida.
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On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)