Emergency Shelter Plan: Rick Scott Sets Aside More Places to Hide From Disasters

We're less than a month away from the official opening of hurricane season. After reading our recent cover story about modern-day survivalists, you may feel compelled to make better preparations this year than the usual ritual of hoarding toilet paper, bottled water, and Chef Boyardee from Publix at 10 p.m.

After all, we lie in one of the most vulnerable geographic areas in the country, subject to yearly poundings by hurricanes, flooding, wildfire, and (maybe) alien attacks.

Yesterday morning, Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet approved this year's Statewide Emergency Shelter Plan. A new plan is approved every even-numbered year, and this year's designates "an estimated 939,395 spaces around the state."

By "spaces," they mean spaces for individual people -- no, we don't have a million emergency shelter buildings, at least not yet. A closer look at the plan shows 118,413 places available in South Florida, which the division estimates is about 20,000 more than we'll need.

Preppers hoard supplies for themselves year after year, distrusting the government to step in and take care of them. But Florida's Division of Emergency Management is a sprawling organization that spends a lot of time and money planning for myriad scenarios and figuring how to get you and yours the hell out of town, if it should come to that.

"Florida has made significant strides in reducing its deficit of safe public hurricane shelter space over the past 12 years and the 2012 SESP is evidence of the state's progress," said FDEM Director Bryan W. Koon in a news release about the new plan.

But cheery announcements from the government won't be enough to still the dystopian fantasies of serious preppers. Chris Petrovich, for example, has seen enough broken governments in his time that he's not counting on order to remain after a major event. Instead, he's created private caches of supplies in hiding spots on various routes out of town. If necessary, he'll hole up right here.

If you ever need to find a shelter, visit floridaevacuates.com -- assuming that your internet and power continue to work just fine. Maybe you should look one up beforehand, on second thought. Just remember, they won't let you bring your guns and single-malt. For that, you'll have to stick it out on your own.

Stefan Kamph: Follow on Twitter | 

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