Emergencies and Disasters in Florida
Florida is a state located on the east coast of the United States. It is often referred to as the “sunshine state” due to its tropical and subtropical climate. Florida is composed of a number of urban areas and few industrial cities and many small towns. In the 2008 census, Florida ranked as the fourth most populous state in the United States.
Despite the developing potential of Florida to be a successful state like New York and California, there are the occurrences of disasters that hinder the rapid development of any state. Florida experienced various emergencies and disasters in the past and the state eventually survived the difficult times.
One of the emergencies and disasters experienced by the state is the wildfires. Florida is a home of beautiful scenery composed of forestry and different groups of fauna and flora. Millions of people visit the state every to appreciate the wonders of nature. However, the admired forestry can also be an agent of a major disaster. Every year, wildfires destroy thousands of acres of land and homes. Wildfires have many causes such as arson, burning of debris and strike of lightning. In addition, the increase in population adds to the hazards of wildfire (Florida Division of Emergency Management, 2002).
Another emergency and disaster experienced by the state is earthquake. Over the past years, several minor seismic shocks are reported to occur in the state. However, earthquakes are infrequent and known to be mild in the state, there is still the possibility of an occurrence of a strong earthquake (“Earthquake History”, 2009). Earthquake can cause severe damage in a region or locality as it has the ability to destroy infrastructures and livelihood, even the homes of people.
Florida is quite vulnerable to hurricanes and one of the states that are commonly visited by hurricanes as it is located in the tropics where the westerly wind blows from the equator. Hurricanes gather power and intensity on the warm waters and their contact with the water gave them strength (University of South Florida, 2002). Hurricanes are one of the major problems in Florida for very strong hurricanes can destroy most part of the state.
In times of these three emergencies and disasters, it is important that the people know how they will respond and act in order to avoid major calamity and deaths. Education and rapid information sharing is of vital importance during disasters. Updates on the disaster should be handed down to the people immediately. The government as well as the mass media should provide accurate reports on the status, location and direction of the disaster so the people can prepare for evacuation or for ensuring their safety. Local governments should also constantly educate the citizens on the disasters that may occur and their effects. Education about emergencies and disaster will prevent occurrence of casualties and deaths that are feared when calamities hit the region.
Preparedness is still the main ingredient in emergencies. People should always be prepared for the unexpected disasters. For example, during earthquake and you are in the office, there should be an exit plan to evacuate the building safely. In time of hurricanes, people should always have food, water and emergency light ready in case that the emergency got worse.
These two routines are two of the important measures that must be observed during the times of disasters. The local government and the citizens must act hand in hand in resolving any emergency and disaster. Proper education, information, and preparedness for the situation will drastically reduce the number of deaths and casualties caused by the disaster.
Earthquake History. (2009, January 30). Earthquake Hazards Program. Retrieved May 9, 2009, from http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/states/florida/history.php.
Florida Division of Emergency Management. (2002). “Florida Hazard Watch – Wildfire Information.” FloridaDisaster.org. Retrieved May 9, 2009, from http://www.floridadisaster.org/bpr/emtools/wildfire/wildfire.htm.
University of South Florida. (2002). Hurricanes in Florida. Exploring Florida. Retrieved May 9, 2009, from http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/lessons/hurricane/hurricane.htm.