Governor Ron DeSantis Highlights Key Florida Department and Agency Efforts During Hurricane Dorian
Governor Ron DeSantis applauded the efforts of key Florida departments and agencies for their preparedness of and response to Hurricane Dorian as the storm approached and continued north along the East Coast.
"I'd like to thank the hardworking men and women of the State of Florida for their efforts to ensure communities were prepared for Hurricane Dorian," said Governor DeSantis. "Floridians across the state can rest assured knowing that those working for them are competent, efficient and ready to face any emergency situation head-on."
Efforts by key departments and agencies regarding Hurricane Dorian included the following:
Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)
- AHCA created a public facing generator status website, FL-Generator.com, to ensure that the public had access to the most accurate information about what facilities had a permanent or temporary generator onsite, were waiting for the delivery of a temporary generator, or had plans to evacuate.
- In less than a week, FL-Generator.com had more than 4,450 page views. In addition, AHCA was able to confirm that every ALF and nursing home located in a coastal county from Palm Beach County to Nassau County either had a generator on site or had plans to evacuate.
- AHCA staff continued to conduct extensive outreach to health care facilities. Staff worked to ensure facilities enacted their emergency plans, continued to enter information into the Emergency Status System and took all appropriate precautions as the storm approached.
- AHCA staff devoted more than 2,200 hours to hurricane preparedness activities.
- AHCA Field Operations staff conducted 93 pre-storm visits to assisted living facilities.
- The AHCA complaint unit fielded 40 storm-related calls.
- AHCA handled over 600 calls with health care facilities to collect census data, evacuation status, ability to accept evacuees, and generator status information to be entered into the Emergency Status System.
- 3,393 facilities entered information into the Emergency Status System.
- The Agency was able to make contact with the 1,075 health care providers from Palm Beach to Nassau County.
- AHCA confirmed that every ALF and nursing home located in a coastal county along Florida’s East Coast from Palm Beach County north to Nassau County either had a generator on-site or had plans to evacuate.
Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
- At the direction of Governor DeSantis, FDOT suspended various tolls throughout the state, successfully managing safe evacuations ahead of Hurricane Dorian.
- FDOT inspected and cleared bridges along Florida’s coast and assisted local governments with bridge inspections.
- FDOT pre-positioned cut and toss debris crews to respond to potential storm damage.
- FDOT’s damage assessment teams performed inspections following the storm in all coastal counties along the storm’s path.
- FDOT coordinated with Florida’s airports and ports to provide information on planned closures.
- FDOT’s Florida’s 511 Traveler Information System service was promoted heavily through FDOT.gov, FDOT social media channels, and agency partners such as Florida SERT and Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Department of Children and Families (DCF)
- On Wednesday, August 28, DCF held its first statewide daily preparation and reporting meeting/calls with executive leadership, program and regional leaders, and facility directors.
- On August 28, DCF requested all community-based care providers to contact children and families in their care to inquire about evacuation plans and to ensure child safety pre-impact. As of September 4, 99.9 percent of those contacts were completed for all DCF regions under a hurricane watch/warning.
- The USDA approved DCF’s early release of September SNAP benefits within 24 hours of the request. This allowed more than 727,000 Florida households to purchase critical food supplies in preparation for Hurricane Dorian.
- This was the earliest release of benefits pre-impact for hurricanes Michael, Irma, and Matthew.
- DCF identified two mental health treatment facilities that did not meet the Agency for Healthcare Administration standards for air temperature in the event of an emergency power outage. The department immediately ordered the required generators for each facility. The generator at Northeast Florida State Hospital was installed on August 31 and the generator for the Florida Civil Commitment Center is ready for installation when needed.
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV)
- Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) escorted fuel trucks to ensure fuel reaches critical areas more quickly.
- FHP activated 12-hour Alpha/Bravo shifts for approximately 1,400 Troopers in the Eastern portions of the state.
- FHP prepared its emergency response equipment and resources for staging as the storm approached the state.
- FHP deployed three aircraft to monitor traffic over I-75, I-95 and Florida’s Turnpike.
- FHP provided Troopers for security at each of the 8 Service Plazas on the Florida Turnpike to expedite service at the fuel pumps.
- FHP assisted FDC with various escorts in impacted areas.
Department of Health (DOH)
- DOH monitored boil water notices for all counties throughout the storm and constantly updated the information on its website.
- DOH conducted outreach to all 280 EMS providers in Florida to determine the availability of ambulance strike teams.
- DOH distributed general sanitation messaging to CHDs for all shelters through MassCare, encouraging the disinfection of restrooms at least once a day.
- 21 county health departments opened a total of 49 Special Needs Shelters that at peak census sheltered a total of 2,230 clients and 618 caregivers
- DOH mobilized 440 Ambulances, 80 Paratransit and 10 Air Ambulances with approximately 1,012 EMS responders to support healthcare facility evacuations, conducting 165 patient transports.
- DOH monitored and supported 9 Hospitals, 17 Nursing Homes and 72 Assisted Living Facilities who evacuated during the incident.
- DOH staged 3 Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and 4 Health and Medical Taskforces in coordination with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Florida Department of Corrections (FDC)
- FDC successfully evacuated two major correctional institutions and twenty-one satellite facilities.
- FDC maintained 100% accountability and custody of the 4,407 inmates evacuated.
- FDC ensured the continual safe and secure operation of the 50 major correctional institutions statewide and the more than 95,000 inmates in FDC custody.
- FDC ensured all facilities in the path of the storm had a five to seven-day food supply, adequate fuel levels, and operational generators in anticipation of power loss.
- FDC worked with partners to provide free phone calls and electronic stamps for inmates to maintain contact with family members.
- FDC maintained continuity of community corrections operations throughout the state, to include the 26 impacted counties where probation officers supervise approximately 95,000 offenders.
- FDC activated three community corrections call centers to provide instructions to offenders under community supervision in impacted counties.
- FDC probation officers provided continuous supervision of approximately 2,150 sex offenders on active GPS monitoring in the affected areas.
- The safety of the public, staff, inmates and offenders was never compromised during the accomplishment of FDC’s emergency operations.
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
- DEP issued an Emergency Final Order to authorize repairs, replacement, restoration, and certain other measures due to impacts from Hurricane Dorian.
- DEP activated StormTracker, an online reporting tool that tracks drinking water and wastewater facility status and needs as a result of storm impacts.
- DEP pre-authorized more than 1,000 Disaster Debris Management Sites and authorized more than 80 Disaster Debris Management Sites for the 67 counties addressed by the Governor’s Executive Order.
- DEP launched an online tool for the public to report the location of storm debris.
- At the direction of Governor DeSantis, Volunteer Florida activated the Florida Disaster Fund, Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster.
- Volunteer Florida coordinated with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and FEMA to bring AmeriCorps members to Florida to support response and recovery efforts.
- Volunteer Florida led Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members in assisting communities preparing for storm conditions, including filling sandbags and contacting residents on vulnerable population list.
- Volunteer Florida coordinated with the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, Feeding Florida, Team Rubicon, Florida Baptist Disaster Relief, SBP, Farm Share, Save the Children, Convoy of Hope and Crisis Cleanup on preparedness and response efforts.
- Volunteer Florida added a “Help the Bahamas” portal on its website to coordinate donations and volunteer efforts for the Bahamas.
Florida National Guard
- Governor DeSantis authorized the activation of approximately 2,500 Florida National Guard Troops, with an additional 1,500 on standby.
- As Hurricane Dorian approached, the Florida National Guard coordinated with Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Texas, and Nebraska to augment our air and ground capabilities.
- The Florida National Guard staffed the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee, as well as the State Logistics Readiness Center in Orlando and provided liaison officers to affected counties.
Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD)
- APD constantly monitored storm conditions and shared information with employees, stakeholders, waiver support coordinators and providers to ensure the health and safety of the customers the agency serves.
- APD oversaw the evacuation of more than 80 licensed group homes to areas not impacted by the storm.
Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA)
- Throughout the duration of the storm, DOEA assisted elderly and disabled clients most at risk, including those with limited mobility, oxygen dependence or other accessibility challenges.
- DOEA remained in constant contact with local service providers to assist in transporting clients to emergency shelters.
- DOEA provided shelf0stable meals to home-delivered meal clients throughout the state.
- Through the DOEA Cares Office, the department coordinated efforts at Special Needs Shelters open in counties along the East Coast.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
- FWC had more than 800 officers and resources prepared for potential deployment, including a variety of specialized equipment such as aircraft, shallow draft boats, ATVs, airboats and four-wheel drive vehicles.
- FWC’s Southwest region Special Operations Group (SOG) conducted Rapid RECON assessments from Flagler County north to the Florida / Georgia line.
Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO)
- As a result of Hurricane Dorian, DEO extended the deadline for local governments to submit applications for the $85 million Rebuild Florida Infrastructure Repair Program.
- DEO worked provided businesses disaster preparedness tips and updates as the storm progressed through its www.FloridaDisaster.biz website.
- Through its partnership with Expedia, VISIT FLORIDA activated its Emergency Accommodations Module to provide travelers with real-time information on accommodations availability throughout Florida and neighboring states.
- VISIT FLORIDA’s three Official Florida Welcome Centers, located at major access points along the state’s border, transitioned into emergency information centers offering the latest details on evacuation notices, accommodations, gas availability, and road closures.
- VISIT FLORIDA constantly updated the emergency response website Florida Now, encouraging Floridians with plans to return to Florida’s East Coast from Labor Day vacation to extend their time out of the area or to go to areas not impacted by the storm.
Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)
- DBPR activated a consolidated hurricane information webpage for updates regarding the status of department operations and actions of the agency related to licensing processes, compliance deadlines, board meetings, and related matters of interest for regulated license holders.
- Secretary Beshears ordered the suspension and tolling of time requirements, notice requirements, and deadlines applicable to certain final orders, notices of intended agency action, and pending applications for permits, licenses, rates or other approvals.
- DBPR’s Division of Drugs, Devices, and Cosmetics communicated with all licensed medical gas wholesalers to clarify the options afforded under the state of emergency that will enable the direct supply of oxygen from the wholesaler to points of need at emergency shelters.
- DBPR’s Division of Hotels & Restaurants identified and prepared sanitation and safety specialists to implement protocols for disaster inspections at licensed facilities.
- DBPR’s Division of Regulation has identified and prepared a team of field investigators to support preliminary damage assessment measures.
- DBPR has suspended the existing occupational license renewal deadline of September 3 through September 30.
Department of Education (DOE)
- DOE constantly provided up-to-date information regarding school closures on its website.
- Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran held a hurricane preparedness conference call with superintendents, and college presidents to discuss hurricane preparedness plans.
Department of Management Services (DMS)
- DMS coordinated with telecommunications providers to ensure coordinated recovery efforts. This included the staging of assets, including portable emergency communication vehicles, mobile command centers for restoration crews, device charging stations at shelters, portable generators for cell towers and fuel tanks for generators.
- DMS constantly monitored conditions and reported the closure status of state buildings on its website.