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Florida Has A New Emergency Management Director. He Wants You To Start Preparing For Hurricane Season

Tom Hudson

Jared Moskowitz's last day on the job as Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, was the first day for Kevin Guthrie.

Florida's got a new Director of Emergency Management.

Kevin Guthrie joined a Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce panel geared towards business owners on Friday — his first day on the job.

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Guthrie said he personally sits down with his insurance provider every year and encouraged business leaders that disaster preparedness starts with a conversation about insurance coverage at their home or business.

"Do I have enough insurance to cover what it is that's going on? And do I need to make some changes? You know, what's going on with my flood insurance and so on and so forth," he said. "It all starts with personal preparedness."

Hurricane season officially starts in about a month — on June 1.

Guthrie said a challenge emergency managers face is what he calls "Amazon culture" or the expectation that things will get done quickly — even after a hurricane.

"Had Hurricane Dorian actually hit Broward and Palm Beach County, again, let me put this in perspective, ladies and gentlemen. We are 18 months past that. As of this month, we would still be picking up debris today," Guthrie said. "Just let that sink in."

Hurricane Dorian was a Category 5 storm that narrowly avoided Florida in 2019. It stalled over the islands in the Bahamas and devastated areas like Great Abaco — which are still recovering and rebuilding.

Guthrie has more than 30 years of experience in public safety and emergency management in Florida, more than a decade of which is in emergency management.

In his new role, he succeeds former Broward Democratic State Rep. Jared Moskowitz.

Moskowitz was appointed to the state role in 2019. He announced his retirement from directing the state's emergency management division shortly in February — after the third anniversary of the Parkland school shooting.

Moskowitz wished Guthrie well Friday as he left. His departure coincided with the end of the 2021 legislative session, also called Sine Die.

Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, produces WLRN's midday public affairs program, Sundial weekdays at 1 and 8 p.m. Prior to transitioning to production, Caitie covered news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News for four years.