Crist: Prepare for Hurricane Season
The governor said Floridians should store bottled water and canned goods.
ALAN DIAZ | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS RUBEN D. ALMAGUER, interim director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, briefed reporters Thursday at the annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference in Fort Lauderdale.
By LISA ORKIN EMMANUEL
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
FORT LAUDERDALE | Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday urged Floridians to be prepared and have a plan for this hurricane season, which begins June 1 and runs through November.
Crist said the beginning of hurricane season is near and this is the time to get ready.
"The real strength of Florida is our ability to work together whether its at the federal level, the state level or the local level," Crist said.
He said every Floridian should have at least three days worth of bottled water and canned food. He reminded residents to have batteries, radios and flashlights.
"Every Florida family should be prepared, should have a plan and be on guard," he said during a luncheon at the Governor’s Hurricane Conference in Fort Lauderdale.
"I think that the obvious thing is: Just be ready," he said.
Crist also congratulated Craig Fugate on his promotion to head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"I wish him continued success and I’ve got to tell that the fact that we have a Floridian in that position is not only good for Florida, its great for our country. But its certainly is good for Florida cause I know he’s a Floridian first, Crist said.
During comments to reporters, Crist also said he was concerned about not having the Office of Insurance Regulation approve rates on all companies doing business in Florida.
He added that he was concerned with a bill headed to him that would allow highly capitalized national insurers to set rates without OIR approval. Crist has been an outspoken critic of such companies, most notably State Farm – a company he’s decried for what he sees is gouging some customers.
Earlier, Ruben Almaguer, the new interim director of the state’s Division of Emergency Management, said that communicating with Floridians both before hurricane season and when a storms hits is a continuous challenge for his agency.
Every year Floridians move out of the state and others move in. There are also tourists, so its hard to get everyone prepared, he said.
"We have to improve the way we actually get our messages out," Almaguer said.
He said more innovative ways are being looked at to do that, including the creation of a Web site for children that educates them about hurricane season and lets them create their own disaster kit.
Also, this season his agency will be sending out press releases in Spanish, English and Creole to reach out to the Hispanic and Haitian communities.
He urged business and homeowners to "harden" their properties against storms and said older buildings especially need to be protected.
Almaguer also said people cannot stay in an evacuation zone during a disaster. He urged people to know more about where their shelters are and have a plan.