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With hurricane season beginning Friday, the National Hurricane Center opened its doors and told the public to have a plan. FEMA Director Craig Fugate, outgoing National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read and forecaster Jamie Rhome discuss the 2012 season.
Friday marked the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season, and the National Hurricane Center opened its doors to send a strong message for people to get ready.
"Be ready. Have a plan, know what to do, and enjoy the rest of your summer," said FEMA director, Craig Fugate.
So far, there have already been two storms even before the season officially began.
"There's no correlation between May storms and what the actual season, especially the peak may bring," said hurricane center director Bill Read.
Read was finishing his last day before Richard Knabb takes over on Monday. Forecasters aren't skipping a beat.
"i've been here for 13 seasons, seen so many landfalls, and the people who do the best are always the ones who prepare." says forecaster Jamie Rhome.
Even FEMA has caught heat in the past about being unprepared, but they say times are different now after hard lessons from Hurricane Katrina.
"We encourage people to prepare to the best of their abilities, so when disaster does happen, we can focus on the things we need to do to get the community back on it's feet vs having to take care of everyone who didn't get ready," said Fugate.
Governor Rick Scott underscored the need for preparedness during a tour of a South Miami-Dade Home Depot on Friday.
"We all have to be prepared," he said, noting he already gathered supplies for his family for hurricane season, which lasts until Nov. 30.
Hurricane supplies you should have on hand usually include a first aid kit, food, water, batteries, and a flashlight.
The state's emergency division director, Bryan Koon, suggested people focus on the first 72 hours when a storm hits.
"We want to make sure that families are able to take care of themselves, take care of their neighbors," he said.
And don't forget pet supplies. Koon pointed out after Hurricane Katrina, some victims did not want to evacuate because they refused to abandon their pets. That's one reason to plan ahead of time, he said.
For a complete list of hurricane supplies, and to make a plan for your family, go to floridadisaster.org.