Florida is a state with a lot to teach about how regulatory action can build resilience in the face of devastating natural disasters.
In her recent column in the May/June 2020 issue of NFPA Journal, Michele Steinberg, director of NFPA’s wildfire division, discusses how in the face of unprecedented losses from hurricanes, specifically Hurricane Andrew, Florida’s regulators, insurers, and policymakers came to the realization that maintaining the status quo was just another invitation for future disasters and loss. So they rolled up their sleeves and got to work, tackling weaknesses in the system, and developing solutions like a risk-based building code, risk-sharing insurance program, a wind velocity map project, and more, all to help ensure the strongest protections from hurricanes in the most vulnerable areas across the state. Applying these lessons learned, Steinberg said, has positioned the state in a significantly better place nearly 30 years later.
So, what does this mean for wildfire? What Florida was able to do is a proof of concept that learning from past events can make a huge difference in the future safety of a community. In this case, Florida’s efforts, said Steinberg, should be especially valuable to officials in California and elsewhere who are now undertaking the incredibly complex effort to blunt the surging impacts of wildfires on their communities.
Learn more by reading “The Andrew Effect” in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal.