Sen. Rick Scott: Don’t wait, Florida, get prepared for hurricanes now

May 29, 2023

Orlando Sentinel
Sen. Rick Scott
May 29, 2023

Stepping through the wreckage that was scattered across Highway 98 in Mexico Beach, I saw a man and his wife standing in the garage of their condo looking over what was once a beautiful home before the storm surge came. That was nearly five years ago, in 2018, one day after Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida panhandle as a category 5 storm. I’ll never forget what those kind people said to me when I walked over to greet them: We thought the warnings were overblown and that we could ride it out. We will never ignore those evacuation orders again.

Those folks were lucky to be alive, but others have not been so fortunate. Last year, Hurricane Ian hit Fort Myers Beach like a sledgehammer. Between its category 5 winds and nearly 14 feet of storm surge, Ian took the lives of more than 150 Floridians. We continue to keep the families of those we lost in our prayers.

Last week, I was back in Mexico Beach and Fort Myers to warn Floridians to take hurricane preparedness seriouslySen. Those were two visits on my statewide Hurricane Preparedness tour that also stopped in Miami, Kissimmee and Tampa. Each of these communities understands just how destructive and serious hurricanes can be.

Throughout my now 13 years as governor and U.S. senator, I’ve seen firsthand the destruction left behind by devastating storms. If there is one thing I learned, it’s that Florida is resilient. Our state and local communities come together in times of need and work incredibly hard to recover from these storms.

Each hurricane season presents its own challenges, and as the 2023 hurricane season approaches, Americans continue to face the challenge of inflation and increased prices on everyday goods. That means every Florida family needs to be even more vigilant about making a plan and getting prepared ahead of time. We know how suddenly severe weather can develop and threaten our communities — it can happen at any moment. So, I am urging every family and business in Florida to get a plan and make a disaster preparedness kit today.

Starting preparations early allows Floridians to make purchases of vital supplies, like food, water, flashlights, batteries and other necessities on their own terms. Early preparation also give you the time to revisit your plan. When you don’t feel rushed, you’ll create the best plan possible for your family. You can find resources and information on creating a personalized emergency plan at

As Floridians, we know better than anyone that preparedness saves lives. Even for those who have lived in Florida for decades, we can never become complacent or let our guard down. We should never underestimate the threat of severe weather. In case of a storm, stay tuned to your local news reports and follow the direction of local law enforcement and emergency management officials. As I always say, you can rebuild your home, but you cannot rebuild your life.

Floridians also understand the power of nonprofits following natural disasters. When I became a U.S. senator, I committed to donate my salary to vital charities. My wife, Ann, and I were proud to announce last week that we are sending a donation to two great partners, the Red Cross and Meals on Wheels. We’ll continue to work hand-in-hand with them should disaster once again strike the Sunshine State.

While families across our state prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, I’ll continue to work with our federal partners at FEMA, the National Hurricane Center and other federal agencies to make sure that we are ready to get needed resources and assistance to Floridians impacted by severe weather. As your Senator, my goal every day is to make Washington work better for you. Ensuring a robust and speedy federal response to hurricanes is no exception.

There are only a few days left before the start of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season. Now is the time to focus on taking care of each other and protecting our families. Don’t wait to take action. Start getting prepared today.