Orlando Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a Democrat, and Central Florida Congressman Daniel Webster, a Republican, announced the introduction of their bipartisan bill, the Fixing Gaps in Hurricane Preparedness Act (H.R. 6080) to save lives in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm.
The legislation, which marks Frost’s first bipartisan bill, would ensure that hurricane preparedness tools, alerts, and planning systems would address the needs of seniors, people with disabilities, non-English speakers, and rural and urban populations.
Specifically, the Fixing Gaps in Hurricane Preparedness Act would require the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to review how these populations receive and react to emergency notifications and evaluate how these folks are able to prepare themselves in the event of a hurricane. Closing these gaps have proven to be critical as two-thirds or more of the fatalities from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Florence in 2018, and Hurricane Ian in 2022 were people over 60 years old. And all of Hurricane Dorian’s Central Florida fatalities were people aged 56 to 86.
“With Florida and our people on the frontlines of worsening hurricanes and storms, the Fixing Gaps in Hurricane Preparedness Act will help pave the way for new steps that will help protect the most at-risk folks from the worst of a natural disaster,” said Rep. Maxwell Frost. “Our emergency communications and preparations systems need to meet Floridians where they are at – whether you’re a senior, someone living with a disability, or a non-English speaker – you deserve to have the knowledge and tools necessary to protect yourself from a hurricane, and this bill does just that.”
“As Floridians, we are not strangers to the terrible power and ravages of hurricanes and tropical storms, and we recognize the need for emergency relief when such tragedies occur,” said Rep. Daniel Webster. “In the wake of natural disasters, seniors, people with disabilities and those in rural areas are often most vulnerable. 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.”