So Are We Wilma-Proofed or Not?
Not even a month after a team of Sun-Sentinel reporters told South Floridians that the region was better prepared for a hurricane than it was four years ago when Wilma hit, the New York Times is reporting that in Broward County, emergency agencies have significantly less money than before Wilma, leaving those agencies with unfilled positions and the hope that volunteers will help make up for it.
If you can't figure out what version to believe, just listen to the guy in charge:
"I think we're much better off than when Wilma hit," said Chuck Lanza, Broward County emergency management director. "I think Wilma was a great learning experience."
Or at least that's what he told the Sun-Sentinel, just before sounding a decidedly less optimistic tone with the Times:
Chuck Lanza... said the budget this year was a little more than $1 million, about 10 percent less than four years ago during Hurricane Wilma. Mr. Lanza said two vacant positions in his office might be cut next year before they were even filled. To him, that means getting creative.
"There's certainly a possibility that we'd use volunteers for positions they're normally not used for," he said.
One new program initiated by the county trains residents in assessing damage so devastated neighborhoods are identified sooner. In the past, fire and police officials would do this. Mr. Lanza said a person with relevant experience might even get into the emergency operations center, a place normally reserved for staff members.
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