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Broward EOC Ready To Lend A Hand To Northeast

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FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Emergency officials in the Northeast may turn to Broward County for its hurricane expertise.

Using the internet, Broward crews will be able to help manage operations hundreds of miles away.

“The water is more shallow so the waves and kind of build up and get larger, then wash on shore,” said CBS4 Meteorologist Jeff Berardelli.

New York City, for example, is in a geographical right angle, between New Jersey and Long Island. Irene could push water into that corner, with no place to go but New York’s tunnels, streets and sidewalks.

If he were a director of emergency management in the Northeast, Chuck Lanza of Broward’s EOC says, “I’d be talking to the people who experienced this all the time, the people of South Florida. We’ve volunteered our services, we’ll operate a virtual emergency operations center here.”

Lanza is the director of emergency operations in Broward County. He has called FEMA to offer up digital instructions and data.

“They can just count on us to do it. We’ll provide all the intelligence, and they don’t have to do the training to get to it,” said Lanza.

Homes and buildings are the biggest concern. It was only after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 that South Florida upgraded its construction codes — a code that builders in the Northeast do not follow.

“There will be strongly built houses there, but not to the construction we have in South Florida,” said Lanza.

Lanza says Broward’s smartphone app could allow people anywhere to tell emergency officials where damaged homes are.

“I’m not sure they know what to expect. I didn’t, with Hurricane Andrew. I remember the night before saying how bad could this be? Well I found out the next day how bad it could be,” said Lanza.

Lanza says emergency management during hurricanes, like calculating routes and timing for evacuations, can literally be a science, and many of his colleagues in the Northeast have never had to make those plans.

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