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Get the latest coverage of the 2024 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

New bill to require NOAA to study hurricane warnings and preparedness, focusing on vulnerable groups

Homes that sustained wind damage caused by Hurricane Ian are seen in this aerial view, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
AP
Homes that sustained wind damage caused by Hurricane Ian are seen in this aerial view, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

A bipartisan bill introduced this week by two Central Florida congressmen calls for research into hurricane warnings and preparedness, especially for seniors, people with disabilities, non-English speakers, and rural and urban populations.

In a prepared statement, Orlando Democrat Maxwell Frost says they deserve to have “the knowledge and tools necessary to protect yourself from a hurricane."

Seniors make up a high percentage of hurricane deaths, according to a bill summary from his office. "The Fixing Gaps in Hurricane Preparedness Act’s analysis will pave the way for new steps that protect all of us during hurricanes."

Frost filed HR 6080 on Thursday. Clermont Republican Daniel Webster is a co-sponsor.

It would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to study preparedness and look at how the public receives, interprets and responds to hurricane forecasts and warnings.

"In the wake of natural disasters, seniors, people with disabilities and those in rural areas are often most vulnerable," Webster said in a news release. "The Fixing Gaps in Hurricane Preparedness Act will help federal agencies evaluate how these harder to reach populations receive emergency notifications and identify shortcomings to improve preparedness and assure that assistance will swiftly reach those at the time of need."

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Joe Byrnes