The State of Florida Issues Hurricane Sally Updates

9/17/2020

The State of Florida Issues Hurricane Sally Updates

Governor Ron DeSantis remains in constant communication with Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director Jared Moskowitz as the State of Florida continues to monitor and respond to the threat of Hurricane Sally.

Today, Governor DeSantis held a press conference regarding Hurricane Sally at the State Emergency Operations Center following a briefing from FDEM Director Moskowitz and State Meteorologist Amy Godsey. The press conference is available to view here.

Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-225, expanding the state of emergency for Hurricane Sally to the following counties: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Walton and Washington.

Today, Governor DeSantis announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has granted an emergency declaration to Florida for Hurricane Sally. This declaration will provide important resources and assistance from the federal government, as well as free up funding sources for emergency protective measures. 

Governor DeSantis also provided an update on Florida’s ongoing Hurricane Sally response efforts on The Weather Channel. Governor DeSantis encouraged Floridians in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Gulf Coast counties to remain vigilant, follow local weather reports and avoid floodwater as much as possible. The interview is available here.

Recent actions the state has taken to respond to Hurricane Sally:

FLORIDA DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

  • The Division is leading the Florida State Emergency Response Team in responding to Hurricane Sally.
  • The Division has mobilized 60,000 gallons of water to provide residents impacted by water outages in the area.
  • FDEM worked with the States of Tennessee and Oklahoma to secure two additional urban search and rescue teams that were demobilizing from Hurricane Laura.
  • The Division is hosting twice daily calls with all counties to address any unmet needs.
  • FDEM is deploying 175 generators and 100 pumps to counties impacted by Hurricane Sally to assist with power outages and flooding.
  • The Division has closed state-supported COVID-19 testing sites in Escambia and Okaloosa counties due to impacts from Hurricane Sally. Testing site re-openings will be announced via the Division’s social media channels.
  • More information regarding the Division’s response is available here.

FLORIDA AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION

  • The Agency for Health Care Administration is communicating with licensed health care facilities in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties to ensure they have necessary resources and adequate power.
  • The Agency is utilizing the Emergency Status System, currently open for COVID-19, to track the impacts of Hurricane Sally on affected providers.
  • The Agency is holding regional calls with providers to discuss impacts of the storm.
  • More information on the Agency’s response is available here.

AGENCY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

  • APD continues to reach out to group homes in the counties impacted by the storm to confirm all the necessary steps have been taken to ensure the health and safety of APD customers and address any unmet needs. 
  • APD Waiver Support Coordinators and providers are in contact with individuals in independent living to ensure proper safety measures are being taken. 
  • Hawkins Park in Santa Rosa County has been closed and Billy Joe Rish Park in Gulf County remains closed due to the storm and subsequent flooding. 
  • If an area is under curfew and/or under evacuation order, a curfew and evacuation letter is prepared for use by providers delivering needed services. 
  • More information on APD’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

  • The Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Northwest Region is coordinating with the local system of care to ensure client services are not interrupted. 
  • DCF is working with EOC partners to identify appropriate safety measures that can be taken. Regular weather updates are also being sent to the expanded DCF leadership team for situational awareness purposes.
  • The community-based-care lead agency in the affected area, Families First Network, conducted a pre-storm check on foster parents and group homes and will follow up to get a post-storm report and identify needs.
  • More information on DCF’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

  • The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) is closely monitoring Hurricane Sally and taking proactive steps to ensure public safety and make sure all individuals entrusted to our custody are safe and secure as Florida responds to the storm.
  • Public safety and the safety of staff and inmates under Department supervision are the highest priorities for the agency. FDC’s emergency operations center is operating 24-hours a day and keeping in constant contact with the state EOC and every facility statewide.
  • All inmates housed in facilities impacted by Hurricane Sally are safe, secure and have ample food and water supplies.
  • Offenders on community supervision have been given specific instructions from their probation officers regarding office closures. Probation offices are currently closed in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Walton and Washington Counties.
  • All institutions have back-up power generators in the event commercial power is lost.
  • All correctional officers and institutional staff are considered essential staff and work throughout the duration of the storm.
  • Individuals are encouraged to visit the Department website or social media channels prior to contacting individual institutions. Frequent updates regarding visitation and office closures will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and www.dc.state.fl.us.
  • More information on FDC’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is currently monitoring Hurricane Sally and impacts to the Florida Panhandle.
  • DEO is preparing to deploy potential disaster resources as needed in response to Hurricane Sally’s impacts.
  • DEO is also coordinating with state and local partners to determine proactive action, updates or unmet needs from the private sector.
  • More information on DEO’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • The Florida Department of Education (DOE) is working closely with school districts impacted by Hurricane Sally to ensure they have the resources necessary to resume normal operations as quickly as possible. 
  • DOE has posted school closures due to Hurricane Sally here.
  • More information on DOE’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ELDER AFFAIRS

  • Advantage Aging Solutions in Leon County remains operational and is taking Elder Helpline calls for Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Jackson, Holmes and Washington Counties.
  • The Northwest Florida Area Agency on Aging, covering Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton Counties, has transferred all their Elder Helpline calls to Elder Options located in North Central Florida. The Elder helpline number remains the same: 1-800-963-5337.
  • DOEA’s Disaster Resource Guide may be accessed in English (2020 DOEA Disaster Guide English) and accessed in Spanish (2020 DOEA Disaster Guide Spanish.)
  • More information on DOEA’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

  • The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued Emergency Orders which authorize repairs, replacement, restoration and other measures made necessary by Hurricane Sally.
  • For visitor safety, DEP has closed 22 state parks due to Hurricane Sally. Closures are available on DEP’s website
  • DEP’s Hazardous Assessment Response Team is on standby to respond to any impacts from Hurricane Sally.
  • More information on DEP’s response is available here. 

FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION

  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has identified more than 30 sworn personnel that are staged and prepared to respond in support of search and rescue operations, conduct evacuations and provide security.
  • Two 11 member FWC Special Operations Teams are providing shallow water capability and force protection swift water incident response teams to areas impacted by Hurricane Sally.
  • FWC law enforcement officers have secured shallow draft vessels, ATVs and four-wheel drive trucks to be used if necessary.
  • More information on FWC’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

  • The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is identifying and preparing to support any healthcare facilities that may be impacted by flooding due to Hurricane Sally.
  • DOH has issued guidance on how Floridians can protect themselves from viruses and bacteria that may be in flood waters. The guidance is available here.
  • DOH is continuing to support sheltering operations for counties with open shelters.
  • DOH is preparing to support an environmental health response in the coming days to include potential deployment of environmental health teams, private well sampling, issuance of boil water notices and vector issues.
  • DOH will provide ongoing updates via social media for boil water notices in areas impacted by Hurricane Sally.
  • More information on DOH’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES

  • The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) has activated 12-hour Alpha/Bravo shifts for troops throughout Florida’s western Panhandle to provide 24-hour enhanced coverage.
  • FHP continues to monitor roadways and is in communication with law enforcement and transportation partners to identify and assist with any unmet needs.
  • FHP has closed Interstate 10 in both directions at the Florida/Alabama state line due to flooding. Westbound traffic is being detoured at mile marker 7 and Alabama is detouring traffic at the mile marker 49 in Alabama.
  • FHP is escorting multiple response teams being deployed to provide search and rescue efforts and provide resources to the impacted areas.
  • FHP is deploying 60 Quick Response Force (QRF) Troopers from Northeast and Central Florida to assist with evacuation and recovery efforts.
  • FLHSMV’s regional service center in Pensacola is closed today, along with tax collector offices in Escambia, Holmes, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, Washington, Jackson, and Franklin counties.
  • More information on FLHSMV’s response is available here.

FLORIDA OFFICE OF INSURANCE REGULATION

  • The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has issued a notice to all health insurers, maintenance organizations, and other health entities reminding them of Florida law providing for early prescription refills following the Governor’s emergency order for Hurricane Sally.
  • Consumers are reminded to save insurers' contact information to their phone and keep insurance policies in a secure location in the event they need to access them quickly.
  • More information on OIR’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE

  • All Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facilities and centers are on alert and monitoring weather advisories.
  • More information on DJJ’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT

  • The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)’s mutual aid team is leading and coordinating Florida’s law enforcement response and staging response teams as soon as conditions allow.
  • Pensacola’s Regional Operations Center is operating a virtual Regional Law Enforcement Coordination team and assessing damage.
  • More information on FDLE’s response is available here.

FLORIDA LOTTERY

  • All Lottery offices remain closed to the public due to COVID-19. However, due to Hurricane Sally, the Florida Lottery’s Pensacola District Office is temporarily closed to employees as well.
  • The secured drop box located outside of the Pensacola District Office that players use to drop off winning tickets and claim forms is temporarily unavailable.
  • For a complete list of Florida Lottery office availability, players are encouraged to visit, http://flalottery.com/lotteryOffices.
  • More information on Florida Lottery’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT SERVICES

  • Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) Secretary Satter directed state facilities in Escambia, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Washington counties to close Wednesday, September 16, due to Hurricane Sally. DMS’ Real Estate Development and Management team continues to work with facility managers in potential areas of impact for coordinating state building closures.
  • DMS activated the emergency telecommunications provider group and continues to coordinate with all communications service providers to deploy communications resources to impacted areas to support the coordinated response effort.
  • DMS’ State Purchasing team continues to lead ESF 7, providing critical procurement and consultation support during the emergency.
  • DMS continues to encourage state employees in potential areas of impact to stay informed and follow the guidance of local and state officials.
  • More information on DMS’ response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AFFAIRS

  • The Florida National Guard has mobilized 171 soldiers to provide assistance to counties impacted by Hurricane Sally.
  • The Florida National Guard is prepared to mobilize up to 500 soldiers to support post-landfall priorities including search and rescue, establishing communications with first responder and security assistance to law enforcement.
  • The Florida National Guard is preparing for search and rescue operations. There are 30 high-water vehicles on standby for deployment to Northwest Florida.
  • More information on the Florida National Guard’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE

  • All Florida Department of Revenue offices remain closed to the public due to COVID-19. Additionally, the Department’s Crestview, Marianna, Panama City, and Pensacola offices are temporarily closed to employees due to Hurricane Sally.
  • Taxpayers and child support customers may continue accessing services through the Department’s eServices at floridarevenue.com/taxes/eservices and floridarevenue.com/childsupport/contact.
  • More information on the Department’s response is available here.

CAREERSOURCE FLORIDA

  • CareerSource Escarosa, CareerSource Okaloosa Walton, CareerSource Gulf Coast and CareerSource Chipola are closed through Thursday, September 17 with reopening dependent on conditions.
  • Updates regarding CareerSource Florida’s office closures will be provided via CareerSource Florida partner social media channels.
  • More information on CareerSource Florida’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE

  • The Florida Department of State (DOS) is communicating with closed Supervisor of Elections offices in Escambia, Franklin, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington counties as they respond to impacts from Hurricane Sally. Ongoing updates will be provided as offices reopen.
  • More information on DOS’ response is available here. 

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

  • The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has closed Pensacola Bay Bridge. The bridge has damage at various locations. The full extent of the damage is yet to be determined and crews will begin a full inspection of the bridge once conditions are safe for personnel to perform the assessment.
  • FDOT has extended the suspension of tolls on the Garcon Point Bridge through noon, Friday September 18, in order to properly assess damages to the region’s infrastructure as a result of Hurricane Sally.
  • FDOT, in conjunction with law enforcement, is monitoring bridges in the path of Hurricane Sally for wind hazards and evaluating for potential bridge closures. Law enforcement will close bridges when sustained winds reach 40 miles per hour.
  • FDOT is monitoring drainage in and around the state’s roadways to help ensure the safety of the traveling public.
  • FDOT is providing real-time traffic updates on FL511.com and on Twitter at @MyFDOT.
  • More information on FDOT’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS 

  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports their VA Outpatient Clinics in Pensacola, Panama City and Eglin Air Force Base are closed due to Hurricane Sally and will reopen Thursday, September 17.
  • More information on FDVA’s response is available here. 

VISIT FLORIDA

  • VISIT FLORIDA’S Official Florida Welcome Center located on I-10 near Pensacola is closed due to impacts from Hurricane Sally.
  • More information on VISIT FLORIDA’s response is available here.

VOLUNTEER FLORIDA

  • Volunteer Florida is working with partners and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) to deploy resources to impacted areas when conditions have been secured.
  • One of the best ways that individuals can assist disaster survivors is by donating monetarily. During disasters, cash can be transported instantly and can be used to purchase essential supplies that are needed for both response and recovery activities. Goods donations (like food and clothing) can often be difficult to transport, store and distribute. Before donating, make sure that you confirm that there is a legitimate need and connect with reputable organizations when doing so.
  • For more information about how to volunteer when the conditions are safe, please visit volunteerflorida.org/hurricane-sally. Immediate assistance for affected areas is provided by first responders, government groups, disaster relief organizations and affiliated volunteers who have already trained to serve. Please do not self-deploy and always affiliate with a disaster relief organization before entering the affected area. 
  • More information on Volunteer Florida’s response is available here.
Updated: Thursday, September 17, 2020
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