How WE Prepare for Emergencies
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The motto for District Emergency Managers is "Preparedness through Partnerships," which highlights the District's emphasis on establishing a network of resources, people and experience to provide expert readiness before an emergency occurs.

Emergency Management Mission Statement and Strategic Goals

We prepare for, respond to, mitigate and recover from natural and technological emergencies that threaten life or property within the boundaries of the south Florida Water Management District. We ensure the safety and security of the District's employees, work environment, facilities, critical infrastructure and natural resources to better ensure the District can accomplish its mission. more »
District's 24-Hour Warning Point

The District's Operations Control Center is the primary Warning Point for the receipt and dissemination of emergency information. The Operations Control Center is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is the location of District warning systems, including the NOAA weather wire, the State of Florida Emergency Satellite Communication System (ESATCOM) as well as the District's radio and microwave communications.

The purpose of the 24-hour Warning Point is to:

  • Cover the statewide emergency information and notification system 24 hours daily.

  • Provide a mechanism capable of supplying factual and rapid alerting of key decision makers within the District of an impending emergency situation.

  • Ensure the development and maintenance of an adequate warning network.

  • Monitor and maintain source meteorological and hydrological data.

  • Activate mobilization triggers for District response.

Most decisions about emergency notifications to citizens are made by local, county, state or federal emergency managers.

Emergency Planning, Training and Exercises

In preparation for hurricane season, District Emergency Managers conduct an annual exercise called "Hurricane Freddy" to test the agency's emergency operations response to and recovery from a major hurricane. Trained District staff exercise emergency management and flood control procedures in response to Hurricane Freddy, a simulated hurricane. The virtual scenario includes persistent, heavy rainfall and flooding in portions of the District's 16-county region, challenging water managers to address numerous hurricane-related incidents and demands on the flood control system. Conducting emergency exercises is a critical part of the emergency management process.

During hurricanes and other hazardous situations, the District has the ability to activate its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to accomplish multiple tasks, including assessment of the emergency, drafting operational plans to address the emergency, managing resources, mapping storm activity and planning for recovery operations. The District EOC usually is activated for hurricanes, floods, wild fires and droughts.

In addition, the District assists State emergency management efforts as part of the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) and can provide state resources such as heavy equipment, generators, pumps, personnel and emergency equipment for emergencies in and outside of its 16-county service area. The District's mobile emergency command post is a 48-foot unit equipped with computer and communications equipment.

Citizen Information Line

During activation of the EOC, the general public can contact the District through dedicated phone lines staffed by trained District employees who have access to specialized emergency management computer software. This resource was established to provide up-to-the-minute data and accurate information to South Florida residents during emergencies.

The Citizen Information line is activated by the Emergency Manager, and when the volume of calls exceeds the capability of one department or an area office, representatives from all District departments staff eight phone lines on a 24-hour basis for as long as the volume of calls justifies activation. Information regarding emergency situations is continually provided from the EOC to the Citizen Information line to insure that the most current information is provided to callers.

Damage Assessment Teams

In the event of an emergency, Damage Assessment Teams (DATs) comprised of District Engineering and Construction professionals conduct assessments of damaged facilities to initiate repairs, properly allocate resources, assist in cost recovery and mitigate against future damage.


Frequently Asked Questions
What action does the District take when a major storm is approaching? »

Will these drawdowns prevent localized flooding? »

If flooding occurs, who should the public/media call? »

Can anything hamper the District's ability to effectively operate the flood control system? »

May boat owners seek safe harbor in District canals? »

Who decides if water is safe to drink? »

Once a hurricane or major storm event passes, what does the District do? »

What role does the District play in the state's emergency preparedness plan? »

What can residents do to help mitigate flooding on their property? »

What does the District do regarding Homeland Security? »


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Related Contacts
  • Citizen Information Line
    (877) 429-1294
  • Doug Bass, Emergency Operations & Security Manager
    (561) 682-6218
  • Veronica Anderson, Emergency Management Specialist
    (561) 682-2215
  • Jane Tatum, Emergency Management Administrative Assistant
    (561) 682-6542
  • Florida County Emergency ManagementClick for County Contacts »

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SFWMD Headquarters: 3301 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach, Florida 33406
561-686-8800 | 1-800-432-2045 (Florida Only)