To protect the lives and property of Florida residents in the event of another catastrophic hurricane, Florida policymakers must enact legislation that would require the disclosure of hurricane evacuation times when potential buyers purchase residential property. .
Under this legislation, notification of hurricane evacuation time to potential buyers and tenants would be required on real estate documents. Disclosure of the hurricane evacuation time must occur prior to the contract of sale of any residential property or the execution of a residential rental agreement.
Disclosure of hurricane evacuation times before buying or renting residential property is an important step toward public safety and awareness. Potential buyers and tenants have the right to know and should be informed whether or not it is safe to vacate a property they are considering buying or renting.
The significant shortage of escape routes and shelters, coupled with the dramatic increase in the number of people living in hurricane-prone areas, has contributed to a critical public safety issue. Failure to evacuate within viable warning times creates danger to the lives and property of Florida citizens.
Roads leading from hurricane-prone areas are woefully inadequate to safely move residents out of harm’s way. Population increases and continued coastal development in recent decades leave Florida residents extremely vulnerable to the devastating effects of hurricanes.
As more people move to Florida, there will be an increased threat of loss of life and significant property damage. It is essential that residents understand the dangers of living in a hurricane-prone area. A disclosure of hurricane evacuation times when buying or renting a property would give Floridians important information regarding their hurricane safety.
Florida statutes and the Florida Administrative Code support the disclosure of hurricane evacuation time on real estate documents. Section 252, FS mandates the development of Florida’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP). CEMP establishes a framework for mitigating the impacts of disasters that could adversely affect public health and safety. The goal of CEMP is to reduce the vulnerability of communities to natural disasters. CEMP includes the prevention and mitigation of emergencies caused by inadequate land use planning.
The following Florida statutes and laws support the disclosure of hurricane evacuation times on real estate documents:
1. Section 252.311(2) FS states that the intent of the legislator is to reduce the vulnerability of persons and property and to prepare for the effective evacuation and shelter of those threatened or affected.
2. Section 252.32(e) of the FS provides the means to assist in the prevention or mitigation of emergencies that may be caused or aggravated by inadequate planning and regulation of public and private facilities and the use of lands.
3. Section 252.35(f) allows recommendations to be made to the Legislative Assembly regarding preventive and mitigating measures designed to eliminate emergency situations or reduce their impact.
4. Section 252.35(i) establishes statewide public awareness programs, including an intensive public education campaign on emergency preparedness issues.
5. Section 252.44(3) authorizes the Emergency Management Division to specify essential changes to the Governor to better protect people and property in areas susceptible to an emergency of catastrophic proportions without adequate warning.
There is no reason our elected leaders in Florida should hesitate to move forward with demanding hurricane evacuation disclosure deadlines before one more life is lost.
Glenn Compton is the president of ManaSota 88, a non-profit organization that has fought for more than 30 years to protect the environment of Manatee and Sarasota counties.