TAMPA, Fla. — The 2018 Statewide Emergency Shelter plan released this week suggest there is not enough shelter space the next time a big hurricane hits.
The nearly 400 page report is based on a Category 5 hurricane hitting Florida.
Three regions that are lacking shelter spaces include Tampa Bay, Central Florida and Southwest Florida, according to the 2018 Statewide Emergency Shelter Plan that is released by the Florida Division of Emergency Management every other year.
According to the report, the Tampa Bay region which is made up of 6 counties is expected to lack nearly 15,000 spaces for evacuees in the general population in 2018. By 2023, a deficit of more than 17,000 spaces.
The Southwest Region from Sarasota to Collier counties lacks about 123,000 spaces this year. Central Florida lacks about 14,000 spaces.
The report also states The Florida Division of Emergency Management continues to address ways to reduce the deficit of shelter space.
According to the state report, The Division has conducted a survey of existing buildings, both public and private, to identify suitable shelter capacity. Second, where cost effective (and practical) support retrofitting of facilities to increase shelter capacity. Third, require construction of new educational facilities to meet the EHPA code provisions. Fourth, conduct research to clearly identify the demand. And fifth, improve public information/education to reduce shelter demand from evacuees not required to evacuate.