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Risk Reduction and Emergency Management

GOAL: Prepare for the inevitable shocks and stresses experienced in Southeast Florida through coordinated and interdisciplinary risk reduction and emergency management planning and investment.

Extreme weather events—namely hurricanes— punctuate the modern history of Southeast Florida’s settlement and development. From the development-disrupting Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 and the railroad-destroying 1935 Labor Day hurricane to the significant storms of modern Southeast Florida history—Andrew, Wilma, and Irma—hurricanes have shaped the region into what it is today and made Southeast Florida a leader in local emergency response.

However, climate change will continue to expose the region to more frequent and severe weather events. Future hurricanes will likely be much larger, pack greater amounts of potential precipitation, and be more intense than the storms of the past. The region will experience greater extremes in drought and intense rainfall events, and average temperatures are expected to increase, creating the potential for longer and hotter heatwaves. Accordingly, climate resilience efforts must be integrated into and deeply inform emergency management efforts.

These recommendations draw on the region’s expertise in preparing for and responding to weather extremes to keep the region at the forefront of excellence.

Identify and quantify infrastructure and populations at risk to sea level rise and storm surge.
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Integrate climate scenarios into emergency planning, evacuation training, and exercises.
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Integrate climate vulnerability analysis data, as well as climate adaptation planning and funding, into existing emergency planning and funding documents.
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Create and invest in strategic pre-disaster plans for post-disaster recovery.
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Identify the most advanced insurance coverage models to reduce exposure in the face of climate-related risks.
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Prioritize adaptation investments to reduce the impact of flooding and sea level rise on transportation infrastructure, particularly on evacuation routes.
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Ensure local comprehensive plans align with the state Coastal Construction Control Line.
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Continue to adopt and update consistent plans at all levels of government in the region that address and integrate mitigation, sea level rise, and climate change adaptation.
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Review the Florida Building Code through the lens of climate vulnerability.
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Understand and communicate risk information to all residents.
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Promote and leverage existing policies and programs designed to reduce flood risks and economic losses.
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Increase long-term community resilience and disaster recovery through distributed renewable energy and battery storage systems.
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Use effective social media for emergency messaging, public health updates, and tidal flooding updates.
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Encourage individual small business recovery plans and personal home adaptation plans.
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Support disaster planning and preparedness training for city and county staff.
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Connect with members from highly vulnerable populations to build trust and inform emergency management planning.
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Ensure the emergency management definition of "communities at risk" includes economically vulnerable people.
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Align and integrate emergency management staff and responsibilities with chief resilience officer roles to bolster long-term plans
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