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Press Release

January 31, 2009

Mike Stone
(850) 413-9883

Florida Emergency Management
~ State Emergency Response Team ~

2009 Kids Weather Survival Week Poster and Essay Contest Winners Announced

Lake Buena Vista, FL – Florida Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate today joined Radio Disney officials and partners to announce the winners of the first annual Kids Weather Survival Week poster and essay contests during ceremonies at Downtown Disney in Lake Buena Vista.

“It’s great to celebrate and honor the fine work of our future leaders and the dedicated teachers who mentor them daily," said Craig Fugate, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “I join our partners in urging all Floridians to take time this week to understand and prepare for severe weather events they may face.”

More than 400 students statewide participated in the poster and essay contests, through a partnership with the American Red Cross and the Florida Department of Education. The top finalists’ artwork and essays will be displayed in the halls of the Historic State Capitol and the State Emergency Operations Center during the first two weeks of February.

The first place winner of the poster contest is Viktoria Friedrich, a 5th grade student at Lost Lake Elementary School in Lake County. The statewide winner of the essay contest is Tina Vu, a 12th grade student at Sandalwood High School in Duval County.

New Prizes and Radio Disney partner in 2009

An overall grand prize winner, six regional winners and their respective teachers were selected from each of the seven emergency management areas in the state. The grand prize winner will receive year-round passes to Walt Disney World Parks for a family up to four and an "All-Hazards" Weather Radio.

The winning student in each of the remaining emergency management areas will receive Walt Disney World theme park tickets, courtesy of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, and an "All-Hazards Weather Radio." The teacher of the grand prize winner will receive a $250 gift certificate and an All-Hazards Weather Radio, and the respective teacher for each of the six regional winners will receive a $100 gift certificate and an All-Hazards Weather Radio.

The student contests are part of an annual public awareness campaign by the Division of Emergency Management and Radio Disney together with sponsorship from the American Red Cross, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, the Florida Association of Broadcasters, the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association, the Florida Department of Education and Midland Radio Corporation.

Earlier today, the contest winners and their families were treated to a VIP tour of the Storm Struck exhibit at EPCOT, developed in part by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH).

Kids GET A PLAN! at

Also new for 2009, an interactive Website has been developed by the Division and i.d.e.a.s. to give all students (K through 6), teachers and residents; free downloadable information, educational activities and stories on Florida weather hazards. Go to to learn more today.

Statewide Tornado Drill

On Wednesday, February 4, the statewide Tornado Drill will be conducted by the National Weather Service Offices in Florida at 10:10 a.m. Eastern Time (9:10 a.m. Central Time). This year, the test will include actual over-the-air messages via the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and NOAA Alert Radios. In the event of an actual severe weather threat, the test would be moved to the same time on Friday, February 6.

“By preparing students for weather-related hazards, more families in Florida will be ready with a survival plan when a natural disaster strikes,” added Director Fugate. “We want all schools statewide to participate in the annual tornado drill on Wednesday.”

Counties across the state will be holding numerous local events during this time. Contact your local emergency management agency or go to: for a listing of Kids Weather Survival Week events.

2009 Essay Contest Winners

First Place

Region 3: Tina Vu / Grade 12 / Sandalwood High School / Duval County

Second Place

Region 4: Susan Huang / Grade 9 / King High School / Hillsborough County

Third Place

Region 5: Ky’Shonda Swain / Grade12 / West Port High School / Marion County
Regional Runners Up
Victoria Anderson / Grade 10 / Crestview High School / Okaloosa County

Amber McClellen / Grade12 / Jefferson County Middle-High School / Jefferson County

Marina Celano / Grade 12 / Fort Myers High School / Lee County

Haley Riddering / Grade 11 / The College Academy at Broward College /Broward County

2009 Poster Contest Winners

First Place

Region 5: Viktoria Friedrich / Grade 5 / Lost Lake Elementary School / Lake County

Second Place

Region 1: Austin Weightman / Grade 4 / Kenwood Elementary School / Okaloosa Co.

Third Place

Region 3: Kevin Logan / Grade 4 / Bunnell Elementary School / Flagler County
Regional Runners Up
Bayley Goodson / Grade 4 / Gilchrist Elementary School / Leon County

Melanie Larson / Grade 5 / David Fairchild Elementary School / Miami-Dade County

Darren Starling / Grade 5 / Brooker Elementary School / Bradford County

Kimberly Sapp / Grade 5 / Wicklow Elementary School / Seminole County

Complete list of 2009 Prizes

  • Grand prize: Walt Disney World theme park annual passes for a family of 4 and one All-Hazards Weather Radio
  • Second Place: Walt Disney World three day ticket with the park hopper option for a family of 4 and one All-Hazards Weather Radio
  • Third Place: Walt Disney World one day ticket with park hopper option for a family of 4 and one All-Hazards Weather Radio
  • Places 4-7: Walt Disney World one day single theme park ticket and an All-Hazards Weather Radio
  • Homeroom teacher of grand prize winner will receive $250 and one All-Hazards Weather Radio
  • Homeroom teachers of places 2-7 will receive $100 and one All-Hazards Weather Radio

Florida Kids Weather Survival Week February 1-7

2009 Events Calendar

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Kickoff Media event and award announcement ceremony 4:30 p.m
Downtown Disney Marketplace
1780 Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Mike Stone (850) 413-9883 or 528-8975
(407) 828-3800 - Marketplace

Monday, February 2, 2009

Poster and Essay Contest Artwork on Display February 2-7
The Historic Capitol Building – Room 108
South Monroe Street and Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Additional entries to go on display at the State EOC in the Southwood Campus
Mike Stone (850) 413-9883
Florida Division of Emergency Management

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Statewide Tornado Drill Media Conference Call
Florida Division of Emergency Management
Directors Conference Room
2555 Shumard Oak Blvd
Tallahassee, FL 32399 -2100
Time 9:00 a.m. *Dial-in number to be sent separately Monday

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Statewide Tornado Drill
10:00 a.m. - Tornado Drill
Ben Nelson (850) 413-9885

Friday, February 6, 2009

Alternate Tornado Drill date*