An effort to raise awareness after a slow decade for hurricanes


ORLANDO -- Where is everybody? With fewer hurricanes making U.S. landfall in recent years, and none since 2005 in Florida, a Wednesday press conference at the National Hurricane Conference here was lightly attended.

Charley, Aug. 13, 2004. Remember him?

Charley, Aug. 13, 2004. Remember him?

“In 2006, this room was full,” said Craig Fugate, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA.

Perhaps the public, represented by the news media, has forgotten that hurricanes Charley and Jeanne, both in 2004, were among the costliest tropical cyclones in tropical history. And maybe they have not read that any Top 10 list of costliest, deadliest or most intense hurricanes is dotted with storms that have hit Florida.

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes is paying attention. Stating that public awareness about hurricane readiness is declining because of fewer hurricane landfalls, the nonprofit unveiled its #HurricaneStrong initiative at the NHC.

It is a national hurricane resilience initiative intended to increase safety and reduce economic losses through a collaboration with FEMA and the National Weather Service, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

It will bring together established hurricane outreach and education efforts, including the White House’s Hurricane Preparedness Week, the National Hurricane Center’s Hurricane Awareness Tour and National Preparedness Month.

“We created #HurricaneStrong to help reverse the understandable trend of decreased public attention that came come following multiple years with quieter hurricane seasons,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, president and CEO of FLASH. “We need to reach those in harm’s way with the message that they are the most critical decision-makers ahead of a storm, and their actions will be the most important factor in their survival and recovery after a storm strikes.”

Key messages in the initiative:

  • Personal safety. Known your evacuation zone.
  • Financial security. Have an insurance checkup.
  • Family preparedness. Build a disaster supply kit.
  • Damage prevention. Strengthen your home.
  • Community service. Help your neighbor.More information is online at

Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: March 25, 2016
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