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Risk Reduction and Emergency Management

GOAL:

Prepare Southeast Florida for climate shocks and stressors by coordinating interdisciplinary risk-reduction planning and action with emergency management planning.

Hurricanes — historically the most prevalent extreme weather event in the region — punctuate the modern history of Southeast Florida’s settlement and development and have shaped the region into what it is today. As a result, Southeast Florida has become a leader in emergency response. While the region has expertise to draw on, augmented challenges brought by climate change require enhanced and novel risk-reduction strategies and pre-disaster planning efforts.

 

Climate change will continue to expose the region to more frequent and severe weather events. Future hurricanes will likely deliver greater amounts of precipitation with more intense winds, and storm surge will be exacerbated by rising seas. The region will experience greater extremes in drought, intense rainfall events and inland and coastal flooding. The impacts of sea level rise will place further stress on systems, infrastructure and service delivery, exacerbating and compounding the flood impacts from rainfall, storms and high groundwater levels. The minor flooding experienced today will become major flooding in the future, with more places subject to recurring flooding. The serious consequences of extreme heat and humidity have also more recently come into greater focus with average temperatures expected to increase, creating the potential for longer and hotter heatwaves. Taken together, changing climate conditions will not only intensify existing acute shocks and emergency situations, but will also continue to compound long-term and chronic stressors.

 

Integrating efforts to increase climate resilience with emergency management planning provides a structure and opportunity to enhance communication and training, and connect planning and action. Beyond the critical role of emergency management operations, preserving the social, physical and economic health of the region requires that the region advance strategies, policies and strategic investments in projects, programs and infrastructure that will reduce risk. Holistic resilience depends on reducing risk at both the individual and community levels. Such efforts and investments must consider that different communities face different levels of exposure, vulnerability and adaptive capacity across climate hazards.

Resources for implementing Risk Reduction and Emergency Management recommendations. Read More