While the northeast is dealing with one of the worst snowstorms in history nearly a 100 natural disaster experts met at the Wyndam in Orlando. They talked about technology in homes alerting families to disasters, improving state and federal responses for relief, and much more. It was part of the annual "Federal Alliance for Safe Homes" or FLASH conference.
"I have concerns that it's been so long that we've had a hurricane that Floridians may not be as well prepared as they could be,” said the Director of the Florida Emergency Management Bryan Koon.
Koon was the keynote speaker in the two day conference. He discussed the flood insurance program and how it’s in $24-billion dollars in debt, he talked about how less than 5 million Americans have flood insurance, and he discussed a way to make FEMA more efficient through a new deductible program.
"The threshold hasn't kept pace with inflation so it's become relatively cheaper and easier for states to get a federal disaster declaration,” said Koon.
He said the state of Florida would only need to have $27 million dollars' of damage from a natural disaster to qualify for federal funds. If the policy was adjusted to inflation it would be much harder for the state to receive relief, the state would have to meet a threshold of $75 to $80-million dollars of damage.
"FEMA is considering changing the way they declare presidential declared disasters. Instead of a straight dollar figure to incorporate a deductible model like you would in your home insurance or car insurance. So the state would be responsible for the first few million dollars and then you could be eligible for federal funds,” stated Koon.
Koon hopes Floridians will take this time to prepare for whatever Mother Nature has instore this year while state and federal officials do their part.
“We spend a lot of time in emergency management, in the government level doing training, and exercises, making sure our responders are ready to go,” he said.
If you would like more information and a list of resources to better help you prepare for a disaster visit these websites www.FlGetAPlan.com and www.KidsGetAPlan.com