We’re not as safe as we can be from hurricanes

In recognition of the 20 year anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, FLASH authored this op-ed appearing in the Miami Herald. We will resume our Andrew stories tomorrow.

Twenty years ago, Hurricane Andrew made landfall in South Florida in the middle of the night of Aug. 24. When residents from Key Largo to North Miami walked outside their homes the next morning, they gasped at a level of devastation that had never been seen before.

Much has changed since then in Florida and around the nation. We have made great progress in the past 20 years to strengthen our coastal areas against the unstoppable reality of hurricanes. But we cannot become complacent simply because time has allowed memories to fade.

Mitigating the damage of natural disasters and, in some cases, actually preventing damages, is a proven money-saver. A 2005 study by the National Institute of Building Sciences found that, on average, a dollar spent by FEMA on hazard mitigation saves the nation $4 in future benefits. We believe the savings for property owners are even greater.

There are three fundamental building blocks to improved mitigation:

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