The Florida HAZUS User Group (FLHUG): A Catalyst for Mitigating Risks and Improving Collaboration Between Florida’s Emergency Management Professionals
When Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 storm, hit Southwestern Florida on August 13, 2004, its impact was devastating. The largest storm to make landfall on Florida shores since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Charley thrust the state into mitigation mode and spurred its emergency management leaders to focus on strategies that would estimate and minimize potential losses from the hurricane and flood hazards. The state used HAZUS methodology as its primary tool for this work and offered HAZUS-MH training regionally. Professionals from Florida also participated in HAZUS-MH courses at FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI). The Florida HAZUS User Group (FLHUG) was formally organized in January 2006. This important step expanded a process that began two years earlier, making HAZUS trainings more widely available and encouraging statewide collaboration between emergency mitigation professionals in both the public and private sectors.