Be Prepared: 2023 Hurricane Expo Helps Residents Plan for Hurricane Season

Public Health & Safety

When Hurricane Ian hit Orlando last September, it brought record amounts of rainfall, which created life-threatening flooding. Hurricane Nicole, a less powerful storm, hit in November, bringing additional wind and rain. Fortunately, Orange County prepared its residents and took quick action to hasten recovery efforts. The plan is to be prepared again for the 2023 hurricane season.

As part of this preparation, Orange County Government and the Office of Emergency Management will host the 2023 Hurricane Expo on Saturday, June 17, 2023 at West Orange High School from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This year’s theme is “Storm Informed.” The Expo, which is free and open to the public, will include one-on-one meetings with emergency responders and safety vendors, safety tips on how to survive a hurricane, hurricane predictions with meteorologist Amy Sweezey, and free preparedness items (while supplies last).

“Our message is remain ready, remain informed and take appropriate action,” said Lauraleigh Avery, Emergency Manager, Office of Emergency Management. “Last year we had a historic storm bring record rainfall, so we were reminded how important it is that residents know their home and know their zone, and if in a flood zone, know if and when they need to evacuate.”

Orange County officials recently returned from the 2023 National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans, LA, where much of the discussion was on understanding flood zones and when residents should evacuate. It also focused on the elderly, who often do not have family and friends around and are more likely to stay in place, which is when most rescues are needed.

“We have great processes in place here, including fire rescue personnel knocking on doors, handing out flyers, and going to assisted living facilities to ensure their emergency plans and generators are operational,” explained Avery, “but some people don’t leave their homes because they don’t think they can bring their pets with them to shelters. We can take pets in multiple shelters, and if one shelter fills up, we’ll open another one.”

Avery also stressed that it does not take a hurricane to cause damage or have an impact in the County, which is why we need to be prepared year-round not only for hurricanes, but for any storm. A winter or spring storm can move slowly and dump a lot of rain, which can cause severe flooding (see Fort Lauderdale).

“Get hurricane checklist items if you don’t already have them. Start picking up things here and there so when a storm is announced, it’s not so stressful,” she said. “We simply can’t be complacent. We can’t risk NOT being alert. The more prepared we are, the better the outcomes for all of us.”

To contact the Office of Emergency Management, call 407-836-9140 or email For hurricane preparedness information, visit Orange County Emergency Information or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Back To Top