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State Lawmakers Look Back at Hurricane Irma Response

October 26th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Lawmakers are looking back on response efforts during hurricane Irma.
The goal is to identify what went wrong and what worked so the state will be better prepared for future hurricanes.
Motorists spent hours stuck in traffic, and often couldn’t find gas as 6. 5 million Floridians tried to evacuate ahead of Irma. Still,  the DOT told a Select House committee that the evacuation was a success, based on the fact there were no traffic fatalities.
New polling suggests many won’t evacuate the next time because of the delays they faced this time.
The committee also heard concerns about the flow of traffic back into the state after the storm.
“Getting the fuel trucks to come in, getting the responders and the utility companies to come in that mix really created some challenges,” said Sumter County Department of Emergency Management Director, David Casto.
The mass evacuations also caused fuel shortages throughout the state.
Coming up with solutions to better distribute fuel around the state during future storms is a top priority for lawmakers.
“Preplanning by Floridians in their evacuations would help that as well as determining whether we need to evacuate,” said Florida Petroleum Council Director, David Mica.
“I think it’s obvious that we’re going to need to improve our access to fuel and ways to get it around the state,” said Representative Elizabeth Porter.
Lawmakers like Representative Bob Cortes say the state wont only be looking at lessons learned from Irma. He says much can also be learned from Hurricane Harvey and Maria.
“We understand that any break in the chain on fuel delivery before during or after a storm can be catastrophic to the end user,” said Cortes.
Thursday’s meeting had one purpose: gathering facts.
Proposed solutions will come later.
Lawmakers say lessons learned from Irma can be shared with other hurricane prone states, to help them better prepare for storms.

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