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Florida Set to Weaken Building Codes for Hurricanes

Two factors are at work: memory loss and greed.

Building codes are a critical element in mitigation strategies.  

In my tenure as an emergency manager, it was Hurricane Andrew from 1992 that caught everyone's attention and radically changed FEMA with the advent of James Lee Witt and a focus on disaster mitigation. Building codes are a critical element in mitigation strategies.  

With the above in mind, see this USA Today story: As Hurricane Andrew memories fade, Florida weakens building codes.

Just a few comments. Craig Fugate is quoted and as always, he calls them like he sees them. Personally I think the developers and building industry protest too much. Their hand is in the cookie jar, they want more cookies and they don't care about the consequences. Their bottom line and profits are more important than building the safest homes possible for the families that will live there — for multiple generations. 

Then the overriding issue is that we as humans living in the 21st century take a very short-term approach to living. We live in the moment. That is why, besides weakening building codes in Florida, they continue in most communities with allowing oceanfront development, while the oceans continue to rise. This latter part is harder to fix. Water lapping at one's feet and housing prices falling for those properties at risk will be the only cure — for some. Others will be thinking about the Second Stage of Denial, "If it does happen, it won't happen to me."

Claire Rubin shared the link above. As the Recovery Diva, there will be plenty of recovery stories to write in the years to come as we continue on the path we are on. 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.