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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

State disaster official worried Floridians are not as prepared as state for hurricane season

110523_scott-koon.jpgGov. Rick Scott speaks to reporters about the 2011 hurricane season. Major General Emmett Titshaw, left, and state Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon, right, look on. (Bender|Times)

Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon, Florida's top official for disaster response, said this morning that the state is "fully prepared" for hurricane season, but worries residents are not.

The concern I would have is that since we've gone five hurricane seasons without a land-falling hurricane that we've got citizens who, perhaps, have forgotten some of what that experience of 2004, 2005 was like," Koon said.

"We also have new Floridians who perhaps who have not dealt with a hurricane before," Koon said. "We want to be sure to engage all of those citizens and help them understand what the potential consequences of a hurricane making landfall in the state are and to let them know what their role in preparing for that situation will be."

One of those new Florida residents is Koon, who Scott hired from Wal-Mart. But Koon, who was one of Gov. Rick Scott's first two hires, said the state is ready to go for a possibly busy storm season.

"The state is fully prepared to respond to hurricanes this year," Koon said.

Scott, who has a second roof in storage in case of a storm, is spending the day walking through emergency exercizes at the state Emergency Operation Center in Tallahassee and Camp Blanding in Starke, the base of the Florida National Guard.

"Across the nation, Florida sets the standard for emergency mangement and response," Scott said. "We have a strong and experienced team that is ready to respond to any disaster or crisis."

[Last modified: Monday, May 23, 2011 11:30am]


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