Governor DeSantis Issues Update on State Response and Recovery Efforts at Surfside Building Collapse


Governor DeSantis Issues Update on State Response and Recovery Efforts at Surfside Building Collapse

Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Division of Emergency Management issued a weekly update on the ongoing state response and recovery efforts at the Surfside Building Collapse.

State response efforts include:

Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) 

  • FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie returned to the Surfside Building Collapse site to assist with ongoing response efforts after leading the Tropical Storm Elsa response from the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.
  • FDEM will deploy a second Incident Management Team following the Tropical Storm Elsa Response on Saturday, July 10.
  • FDEM personnel have assisted in the completion of 94 FEMA Individual Assistance applications for individuals impacted. Under Individual Assistance, FDEM has coordinated with FEMA to have 39 individuals approved for a total of $85,693 in the Individuals and Households Program.
  • FDEM continues to deliver PPE and comfort supplies to assist responding USAR teams, including: 240 respirator half masks, two oxygen sensors and 1,584 P100 cartridge fillers.
  • To date, the state has completed 170 resource requests for the Surfside Building Collapse, and 30 additional requests are either en route or being mobilized.
  • The State Emergency Response Team, in partnership with Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue, deployed a 25-person team to support USAR team members with mental health and wellness.
  • At the direction of FDEM Director and State Coordinating Officer Kevin Guthrie, five federal Type 1 Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Forces from Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have arrived in Surfside to provide relief for Florida teams.
  • In collaboration with FDEM, Royal Caribbean Group docked Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas at PortMiami to provide free housing and support for the tireless efforts of search and rescue teams working at the Surfside Building Collapse.
  • FDEM coordinated with FEMA and received $20.5 million within a week to support ongoing response efforts in Surfside. 
  • 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.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) 

  • FDOT personnel are on-site to assist with debris removal around-the-clock. As of today, more than 510 debris removal trucks have removed more than 5,200 tons of debris from the Surfside collapse site.

Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) 

  • This week, DCF provided $10,550 in gift cards to impacted families through community donations.
  • This week, DCF served 93 families impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse.
  • Over the last week, 65 victim families were served by staff from DCF through Client Relations, Care Coordination, Economic Self-Sufficiency, Family Safety, Adult Protective Services and Substance Abuse and Mental Health programs while at the Family Assistance Center.
  • DCF, in partnership with the local 211 provider Jewish Community Services, has assisted a total of 95 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.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) 

  • DEO activated Florida’s Emergency Bridge Loan program to support small businesses in Miami-Dade County directly impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse. The application period opened July 9 and is available until August 9. Business impacted by the collapse can apply online here. Individuals can call 833-832-4494 or visit to learn more.
  • DEO has a mobile unit on-scene in the Surfside business district with deployed personnel coordinating available business resources along with the SBA. The mobile location is on 95th St. between Harding and Collins Avenue.
  • 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’s Division of Air Resource Management (DARM) has been overseeing testing by the Miami-Dade County local air program for asbestos at the collapse site and disaster debris management sites. To date, material that has been tested has not been found to contain asbestos.
  • DARM is also working with Miami-Dade County, FDEM and responders on-site and at the off-site staging areas on the development and implementation of standard operating procedures to ensure responder safety as well as the safe, expeditious return of recovered personal items to impacted residents.
  • 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 response efforts.

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) 

  • As of July 8, FLHSMV’s Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) team has assisted survivors and families with various identification and motor vehicle related services, conducting more than 110 transactions.
  • 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’s FLOW team 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 is providing traffic control in the Surfside area.

Volunteer Florida and Nonprofit Organizations 

  • Volunteer Florida coordinated with Walmart for donations in response to the Surfside Building Collapse. Walmart will donate more than $50,000 to organizations assisting with relief efforts for Surfside Building Collapse survivors and families. This includes $20,000 in gift cards for displaced families, $25,000 for the Volunteer Florida Disaster Relief Fund to assist with recovery efforts, $5,000 for Salvation Army and supply donations to the Good360 program. 
  • Volunteer Florida continues to support physical donations management in Surfside for survivors, impacted families and first responders. Volunteer Florida is also working with established local, state and national partners to provide case management assistance and guidance in long-term recovery efforts.
  • Cash is the most flexible and effective form of donation. Two verified funds have been launched by established, local organizations to receive monetary donations: and  
  • Volunteer Florida is hosting daily calls with Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster to coordinate operations.

Additional Emotional Wellness Actions for First Responders and Impacted Families

  • More than 40 mental health professionals are available to impacted families and the Surfside community from the state, local government and nonprofit organizations.
  • Trained peers are available 24/7 on-site through a partnership among several organizations, including: Miami Dade County Fire Rescue, the Division of the State Fire Marshal, Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative, the International Association of Fire Fighters and the 2nd Alarm Project.
  • Florida USAR Task Force 7 (North Florida) has trained peers and Mental Health Providers embedded within their team on-site. These peers and providers are available to other task forces as needed.
  • Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative, UCF Restores and the 2nd Alarm Project are creating a post-deployment and demobilization mental wellness plan to distribute to each Task Force as they prepare to demobilize from the Surfside response.
  • USAR teams have embedded personnel trained in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). CISM is an integrated system of confidential interventions which are designed to prevent and/or relieve the adverse psychological and/or physical personnel reactions that often accompany public safety and disaster response functions.
  • 12 Miami-Dade County navigators are available to assist families with administrative items and identifying support, including mental health.

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 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:

  • Disaster Distress Helpline – (800) 985-5990
  • Florida 211 Network – 211
  • Crisis Text Line – Text HELLO to 741741; First responders can text BADGE to 741741

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

Updated: Sunday, July 11, 2021
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