Alberto Was Practice to Improve Response

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Tropical Storm Alberta acted as a practice run for many Emergency Management Agencies in the area. An EMA meeting was held in Jackson County to discuss emergency readiness.

Florida officials are constantly preparing for disasters in the area. Monday’s meeting gave them a chance to analyze their strategy and create a more detailed plan in preparation for this year’s hurricane season.

Hurricanes are a common part of life for most Florida residents, and Emergency Management officials are working to ensure this year's season is as non-disruptive as possible. The EMA officials say there are still areas that need improving when it comes to preparedness.

Craig Fugate, Director of Florida EMA, said, "A key indicator of success is not if the EMA is ready, but how well our community is prepared."

Officials at the meeting feel it is necessary to make sure they can handle the aftermath of hurricanes quickly and effectively. Overall, however, they feel they are right on track.

"Florida is number one in the state in terms of emergency preparedness and they have good leadership," said Rodney Andreason, Jackson County EMA Director.

One problem the EMA has always faced is getting people to evacuate without their pets. The Florida government stepped in this year to help alleviate that problem.

"It is now regulated that states provide guidelines to counties on how to evacuate with pets. We don't want to leave anyone behind, and if people won't evacuate because of their pets, then it a people problem,” said Fugate

The EMA says if local law enforcement and city officials are able to work well together and are all educated about disaster plans before they happen, recovery efforts can be much more efficient.

The Florida State EMA director emphasized to the group that in order for Monday’s plans to truly be effective, they have to be practiced and executed precisely before any storms take place. Practice makes perfect, he says.

If you would like to create a hurricane strategy for your family or small business, you can visit the Florida Emergency Management Web site at for effective strategies and guidance.