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Florida’s Plan to Team Up for Disaster Response

January 12, 2015
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Florida’s Plan to Team Up for Disaster Response
A city worker helps remove a fallen tree during tropical storm Fay, in Fort Pierce, Florida, Aug. 19, 2008. Doug Benc/Getty Images
The state wants to ensure that when disaster strikes, other states are there to provide support.

It’s common knowledge that Florida is often subject to severe weather like hurricanes and super storms, which is why it may sound strange that the state has no process in place for emergency management teams other than keeping “a basic roster.”

So now, Florida is creating a credential process for a statewide disaster-response team in hopes of being able to deploy about 20 people to respond to emergency management issues ranging from super storms to terrorist attacks.

“In the past, these teams have been fire-rescue-heavy, and that does not always work,” says Ashley Davis, deputy operations chief of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Aside from asking lawmakers to approve nearly $80,000 for a position that would lead the credentialing process, the state is also emphasizing the need for a team to send to other states during emergency situations to ensure that they’ll return the favor, reports Emergency Management.

“If Florida does not periodically deploy our teams out of state on mutual aid, we are less likely to receive mutual aid support from other states during a catastrophic event,” reads a division funding request.

In fact, Florida’s 2004-05 hurricane season saw assistance from 750 emergency management employees across 36 states. While the credentialing program is new, Florida’s initiative is among the first and considered “more forward-looking,” explains Aaron Gallaher, a division spokesman.

Because of Florida’s vast experience with bad storms, states often turn to Florida for help with weather emergencies, according to Davis.

“We, unfortunately, have a lot of experience,” Davis says.

MORE: Hurricane Katrina Inspired This Man to Revolutionize Emergency Housing

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