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Governor DeSantis Meets with President Biden in Florida and Visits Surfside Building Collapse Families and First Responders


Governor DeSantis Meets with President Biden in Florida and Visits Surfside Building Collapse Families and First Responders

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis, First Lady Casey DeSantis, Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez and Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director Kevin Guthrie met with President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and other federal officials to provide updates on the ongoing search and rescue efforts in Surfside, as well as meet with survivors, families and first responders to provide support and condolences.

This morning, Governor Ron DeSantis was joined by Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director Kevin Guthrie and Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett for a press briefing to provide updates on the Surfside Building Collapse response.

Full remarks regarding the current response from this morning's press conference are available here. Vicegobernadora Jeanette Nuñez también pronunció comentarios en español. Los comentarios comienzan en 1:35.

Update on Surfside Building Collapse 07-01-21

There are currently more than 500 first responders and state workers on-site to support ongoing search and recovery efforts. State response efforts include:

Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) 

  • At the request of FDEM Director and State Coordinating Officer Kevin Guthrie, five federal Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Forces are en route to Surfside to ensure additional first responders are available in the event of severe weather in Florida.
  • The State Emergency Response Team (SERT) is providing meteorological updates on Tropical Storm Elsa to responding teams in Surfside and has contingency plans in place to respond to concurrent disasters if needed.
  • FDEM issued Emergency Order 21-004, which waives certain requirements that pertain to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation’s affordable housing programs, to make additional housing units available for individuals impacted by the collapse.
  • The state has mental wellness teams and critical incident stress management resources on-site to support the mental health of USAR responders.
  • The State Mental Health Coordinator is on-site and working with the Florida Crisis Response Team and local organizations to centralize available mental health resources.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) 

  • FDOT personnel are on-site to assist with debris removal around-the-clock. As of today, more than 130 debris removal trucks have removed more than 1,300 tons of debris from the Surfside collapse site.
  • FDOT continues to fulfill resource requests by Miami-Dade County for additional traffic maintenance devices.

Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) 

  • DCF has distributed more than $4,000 in gift cards to impacted individuals at the Family Assistance Center, including $1,400 in Publix, Visa and Target gift cards for 14 displaced families.
  • DCF, in partnership with the local 211 provider Jewish Community Services, assisted 16 impacted individuals with behavioral health services on-site.

Florida Department of Health (FDOH) 

  • Under Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 21-148, FDOH has issued Emergency Order 21-002 to extend licensure and certification renewal deadlines for paramedics and emergency medical technicians.
  • FDOH activated the Florida Crisis Response Team, formerly known as the Florida Crisis Consortium, to provide behavioral health care for impacted individuals at the Family Reunification Center.
  • FDOH is supporting the request to activate the Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response Team for recovery operations.
  • FDOH is coordinating with local partners on-site to assess and respond to any potential public health hazards.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) 

  • DEO announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved an Administrative Declaration for Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier and Monroe counties, which provides Economic Injury Disaster Loans, Business Physical Disaster Loans and Home Disaster Loans to eligible individuals and businesses impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application through the SBA's secure website at DisasterLoan.SBA.gov
  • DEO is working diligently with the SBA to provide additional resources for businesses impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse.
  • DEO has a mobile unit on-scene in the Surfside business district with deployed personnel coordinating available business resources.
  • DEO Secretary Dane Eagle has visited dozens of area businesses to personally assess the impacts on their business and employees.
  • DEO also has a team located in the Family Assistance Center to assist with housing and business resources.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

  • DEP issued an Emergency Final Order (EFO) waiving permitting requirements for the storage and processing of solid waste. The EFO also includes guidance for disaster debris and asbestos management to assist in ongoing rescue and recovery efforts.

Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing)

  • Florida Housing has identified more than 120 multifamily rental developments in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties to provide emergency housing to displaced individuals.
  • Florida Housing has requested that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) waive income limitations and other provisions to allow individuals impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse to reside in any vacant unit of HOME-funded properties.

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) 

  • FLHSMV issued Emergency Order 062621, which waives replacement fees for driver license and identification credentials, vehicle registrations and titles, vessel registrations and titles and temporary parking permits for impacted individuals.
  • FLHSMV is providing no-fee driver license and motor vehicles services to impacted individuals at the Family Assistance Center and is coordinating with the Red Cross to identify any individuals needing assistance.
  • Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is providing traffic control in the Surfside area and security at the FLHSMV mobile units.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) 

  • FDLE is ready to deploy resources to the Regional Domestic Security Task Force in the Miami-Dade County area as needed for ongoing rescue and recovery efforts.
  • FDLE is providing staffing at the Miami-Dade Emergency Operations Center and Command Center as needed.
  • FDLE agents and analysts are assisting with family reunification efforts and victim advocacy for survivors and their loved ones.

Florida Department of Education (DOE) 

  • DOE is collaborating with Miami-Dade Public Schools to identify health counseling and resources for families of those impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse.

Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) 

  • DMS is procuring laundry services to provide for FDEM staff working on-site.
  • DMS is coordinating with the state’s Tenant Broker to locate a warehouse to store donations for individuals impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse.
  • DMS is currently procuring commodities for debris removal from the site.

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) 

  • The DBPR Condominium Ombudsman is available locally to provide assistance and resources for impacted individuals.

Volunteer Florida and Nonprofit Organizations 

  • Cash is the most flexible and effective form of donation. Two verified funds have been launched by established, local organizations to receive monetary donations: SupportSurfside.org and Neighbors4Neighbors.org/SurfsideFund
  • Volunteer Florida is on-site to assist in coordination of physical donations and resource management alongside local organizations actively meeting the needs of those displaced by the Surfside Building Collapse.

Previous state response efforts for the Surfside Building Collapse are available for:

Individuals with information about loved ones who are unaccounted for, or are safe, are encouraged to call the reunification hotline at (305) 614-1819.

Impacted individuals can register for updates and access to resources through a centralized alert system by visiting SurfsideFamilies.com or calling toll-free at (833) 930-3701. Agents are available in English and Spanish and will contact individuals who have registered with the alert system.

Impacted individuals are also encouraged to contact the following helpline services for immediate emotional support:

  • SurfsideStrength.com
  • Disaster Distress Helpline – (800) 985-5990
  • Florida 211 Network – 211
  • Crisis Text Line – Text HELLO to 741741

State personnel remain on scene and will continue to provide assistance, as requested.

Updated: Thursday, July 1, 2021
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