Emergency management officials in Miami-Dade prepare to weather 2018 hurricane season

DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - Hurricane season is less than a month away and in an attempt to prepare, Florida Power and Light has looked at lessons learned from past hurricanes.

As this year’s Atlantic hurricane season comes closer to the official June 1 start date, emergency management officials in Miami-Dade County are working to better prepare for future storms by looking at past hurricanes like Irma.

“It’s all about planning. That’s the best thing that we’ve learned with this last hurricane,” said Isa Mendez with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“The lessons were tremendous, we always tweak our processes, and every time we find new challenges and we try to work through those,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief David Downey. “There’s never a perfect storm.”

Miami-Dade County activated the emergency operations center for officials from several different agencies, Wednesday. The goal is to come together and streamline information and resources should South Florida be in the path of a hurricane this year.

It’s a mock hurricane drill with real-life scenarios. “So they’re doing what we call injects and saying, ‘OK, it’s making landfall’ or this problem with the hospital, or this problem with a shelter,” Downey said. “So they can work through the problems as part of the training exercise.”

In Tallahassee on Wednesday, FPL and other utility companies in the state received feedback on their performance during 2016’s Hurricane Matthew and 2017’s Hurricane Irma.

During Hurricane Irma, power was knocked out to 90 percent of the state’s customers. Eight people died at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills.

“When a storm enters the gulf, we activate our storm center,” said Vice President Adrianne Collins of Gulf Power Company. “This moves our team into storm mode, and everyone begins preparing for restoration.”

Officials said everyone in South Florida should also start preparing for a potential hurricane this year.

“Our biggest message is have your personal kit, be ready, know what you’re going to do now,” Downey said.

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