Orange County is better prepared for hurricane activity this year than it has been in previous years, according to emergency management coordinator Jeff Kelley.

But, individual preparation is still key to being ready.

“People need to start getting prepared by stocking food and water this time of year,” Kelley said. “I just returned from a hurricane conference and it is projected to be a very busy season. Not for us necessarily, but in the Atlantic and the Gulf (of Mexico).”

Kelley said that the county is pushing hard to get the shelter on FM 1442 completed.

“I think we’ll even be better prepared in years to come once it is finished,” he said. “The bids are out and we are waiting for the court to award one for a contractor.”

While at the recent conference, Kelley said that FEMA representatives have said changes are coming for hurricane disaster assistance.

“Both the public and individual programs will be receiving overhauls,” he said. “So, people should make proper preparations now.”

In a telephone interview, Jacqueline Chandler, public affairs specialist, said that FEMA is planning a bottom-up review of the public assistance program which will consist of stakeholders advising that the program’s processes and policies for identifying and coming to agreement on eligible damages, scopes of work, and costs can lead to disputes and slow the pace of disaster recovery.

“FEMA is soliciting input from states on how it can make changes to improve the delivery of the program,” Chandler said.

Go to for more information on the program review.