CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. — On a calm, sunny Thursday on Clearwater Beach, disaster experts met at the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach to share ideas and proposals to protect people and property the next time Mother Nature strikes.
- National Disaster Resilience Conference runs through Friday
- Participants discussed science, policy, practical applications
- More Pinellas County news
It’s all part of the National Disaster Resilience Conference.
"We're covering the science, the policy, and the practical aspects of disaster safety and resilience," said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President & CEO of Federal Alliance for Safe Homes. “And that means earthquake, wildfire, hurricane, lightning, flood whatever that Mother Nature challenge is, we're talking here about how we can protect families and strengthen homes."
There's a lot to talk about at this year's conference, especially since it’s only been about a month since Hurricane Michael hit.
"How to reach everybody in these hurricanes still remains very tricky in communicating those risks," said Ken Graham, the Director of the National Hurricane Center.
Risks they later regretted
A lot of people we spoke with while covering Hurricane Michael in the Panama City area took risks they said they regretted.
"I think I'm lucky, considering I made the dumb mistake to stay and not go to a shelter," said Kay Lanford, whose home was destroyed during Hurricane Michael when three trees fell on it.
Experts at the conference said they're listening and learning from stories like Lanford's to help people stay safe in the future.
"We get very specific, but we also zoom out and talk about behavioral science, why do some people evacuate and others don't and how can we do a better job messaging, so that they understand that urgent need to be safe," said Chapman-Henderson.
Broad spectrum of information
From the mind to the maps, the conversations at the 3-day conference are vast.
"The science is getting so much better," Graham said. "We're getting more on track with not only the track, but the intensity and forecasting the impact with storm surge. We're predicting some of the storm surge values three to four days ahead of time now."
The end goal for it all is to get people the information they need faster and hope they heed the warning to prepare.
The conference wraps up Friday.