Escambia County Emergency Director John Dosh is a busy man these days, with the 2014 hurricane season just around the corner.
While an assistant was attending last week’s national hurricane conference in Orlando, Dosh was in St. Augustine for a meeting on funding local homeland security programs in fiscal year 2015. He says it’s not known yet just how much money will come to Florida and to Escambia County, other than to say that the latter is expected to be in six figures.
“Some of the money is spent on infrastructure improvements,” says Dosh. “There’s money that’s actually spent with specialty teams, like SWAT, urban search-and-rescue teams, hazardous material teams. A lot of the money continues to support and maintain those programs that are in place.”
One of the unique concerns for Escambia and the rest of the Florida Panhandle, is the number of military bases in the region – potential targets for a terrorist attack.
In February, NAS Pensacola took part in the annual “Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield” -- a force protection exercise conducted at every naval installation in the continental United States.
Law enforcement and other first responders were represented last week in Orlando, along with a number of colleges serving on sub-committees. This particular session, says Dosh, was not as much of a sharing of public security techniques, as it was about the money.
John Dosh is getting ready to hit the road again in a few weeks, for the 28th Annual Governor's Hurricane Conference, which kicks off May 11 also in Orlando. His message to Floridians prior to the June 1 start of the hurricane season is that it’s never too early to prepare.
“As we start approaching the summer season and start getting closer to the June 1st time frame, we’re probably going to start seeing some tropical activity developing,” Dosh said.
But, he adds as we get closer to hurricane season, those predictions likely will change.
Last year brought 14 named storms but only two hurricanes – Humberto and Ingrid. It was the first Atlantic hurricane season since 1994 that had no major hurricanes, and the first since 1968 to feature no Category-2 hurricanes.