Tallahassee, FL -- May 23, 2012 --
The Department of Children and Families wants to make sure they can get you food assistance following a disaster. The mock drill held May 23rd comes just about one week before hurricane season starts on June 1st.
"This is part of our annual disaster preparedness exercises that we do to make sure we are poised and ready in the event of a hurricane here in Florida or any other type of a disaster that may happen," said DCF Assistant Deputy Secretary Suzanne Vitale.
Hurricane Wilma in 2005 marked the last time DCF needed to implement these measures.
"Back then it was very paper intensive process, and we had long lines, and there were delays in getting people benefits," said Vitale.
Even with the delays, the state of Florida distributed $270 million in emergency aid to more than two million people after hurricane Wilma. They hope the new technology will benefit those needing relief even more.
"Citizens of the state of Florida who might qualify for assistance can actually go in and fill out online all those things they'd put on a piece of paper at the site. We'd validate their ID through their driver's license and they can walk off card in hand," expalined Emergency Coordinating Officer Matt Howard.