HOMESTEAD, FLA. (WSVN) – 30 years ago today, South Florida braced for impact with Hurricane Andrew on the horizon.
Officials with the Division of Emergency Management reminded people that 30 years ago, they should have been evacuating since Hurricane Andrew was a threat, Tuesday.
Since Hurricane Andrew was the first storm of the season, officials gathered in Homestead, which was on of the hardest hit areas to advise homeowners and business owners to stay alert and be prepared.
Three decades later, they said we are better prepared.
“As a Miami native, I saw firsthand the destruction that Hurricane Andrew caused,” said Lt. Governor Jeannette Nunez. “I was a college student at the time.”
Officials on all levels remember what they saw and felt when Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida in 1992.
“A young firefighter in the City of Miami reporting to work, and I couldn’t believe the devastation,” said a firefighter.
“We were the first service members, first soldiers on the ground, and once we arrived, we were inundated with requests for assistance from the police for support in the immediate area,” said Major General Rafael A. Ribas. “We had family members and people just coming up to us, telling us that they couldn’t get to or communicate with family members because of the area.”
The massive category five hurricane killed 65 people and destroyed more than 60,000 homes.
It caused unforgettable destruction and was also a turning point that changed everything for hurricane forecasting to building codes.
“Everything you know about hurricane forecasting, communication, emergency management, evacuation, planning, mitigation and response was defined, if not set into motion, by Andrew,” said Jamie Rhome, Acting Director of the National Hurricane Center.
“Officials learned so much in surveying the damage about compromising garage doors, roof structures, basically how to hold homes together,” said Garcia Szczech, FEMA Regional IV Administrator.
They said they remain ready and united to respond and deal with such a disaster should it ever happened again.
“We strengthen our building codes, and now they are some of the best in the world to deal with the effects of hurricanes,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava.
Officials also reminded people that we are still in hurricane season and to not let our guard down.
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