Gov. Scott Issues Updates on Tropical Storm Irma Response Efforts as Storm Continues to Impact Florida

9/11/2017

Gov. Scott Issues Updates on Tropical Storm Irma Response Efforts as Storm Continues to Impact Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This morning, Governor Rick Scott received a full update from the State Emergency Operations Center as Tropical Storm Irma continues to move through Florida. Governor Scott is joining the U.S. Coast Guard for an aerial tour of Tropical Storm Irma impacts in the Florida Keys today.

Just hours after Governor Rick Scott’s request, President Donald Trump yesterday approved a major disaster declaration, which authorizes federal funding to flow directly to Floridians impacted by Tropical Storm Irma and reimburses local communities and the state government to aid in response and recovery. The Governor will continue to be in constant communication with state and local emergency management officials, city and county leaders, and utility officials as Tropical Storm Irma moves out of the state and the full response and recovery process begins.

EMERGENCY SUPPORT FUNCTIONS BY STATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM

WATCHES AND WARNING

  • A Storm Surge Warning:
    • South Santee River southward to the Flagler/Volusia       County line
    • Cape Sable northward to the Ochlockonee River
    • Tampa Bay
  • Tropical Storm Warning:
    • Bonita Beach to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line
    • Jupiter Inlet to the South Santee River
    • Lake Okeechobee
  • Click HERE to      see the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

EVACUATIONS

  • Although the storm has passed some areas, everyone      should continue to listen to local officials and stay off the roads unless      necessary to keep areas cleared for search and rescue missions.
  • For evacuation information by county, visit www.FloridaDisaster.org/info.
  • The Department of Emergency Management estimates that      6.5 million Floridians have been ordered to evacuate.

SHELTERS

  • More than 585 shelters are open throughout Florida with      a total population of more than 200,000 individuals. More than 90 special      needs shelters are open with a total population of more than 17,000      individuals. This number is being updated throughout the day. Visit floridadisaster.org/shelters/summary.aspx to find information on shelters in your area.
  • To find information about available shelter information      by county, visit floridadisaster.org/shelters.
  • FEMA is also hosting shelter information on its mobile      app which can be found at fema.gov/mobile-app.

POWER AND UTILITIES

  • The current power outage as of 12 p.m. is more than 6.5      million accounts. For a full breakdown, click HERE.
  • More than 30,000 restoration personnel have been      activated to help restore power as quickly as possible following the      storm’s impact.
  • At the direction of Governor Scott, Florida Highway      Patrol is actively escorting utility convoys to areas in need to help      quickly restore power.

DAMAGE ASSESSMENTS

  • The Big Bend is still actively receiving impacts from      Tropical Storm Irma
  • After conditions have improved, individual counties      will start their initial damage assessment process.
  • The state supports this initial impact assessment      process through the State Emergency Response Team by providing personnel      and resources towards “First 72 Hour” priorities of law enforcement      security, search and rescue, and incident stabilization of Florida’s      impacted communities.

FEMA

  • Residents who sustained losses can begin applying for      assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
  • Residents are also encouraged to download the FEMA App      to begin the registration process.  Simply click on Disaster      Resources.
  • If you do not have access to the internet, you may      register by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-621-FEMA.
  • The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00      a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

MILITARY SUPPORT

  • Governor Scott activated the entire Florida Army and      Air National Guard – 7,935 guard members – to support planning and      logistical operations in preparation for impacts from Tropical Storm Irma.
  • Throughout the day and across the state, guard members      will be actively engaged in missions including search and rescue,      law-enforcement support, humanitarian assistance and more. The first      priorities after the storm passes will be conducting life-saving search      and rescue missions, and security operations in affected communities. The      Florida National Guard has 1,000 high water vehicles, 13 helicopters, 17      boats and more than 700 generators to support these efforts.
  • The Guard is coordinating a multi-state response      focused on planning and preparing thousands of forces. So far, soldiers      have arrived from 23 other states to enhance security and support disaster      relief.
  • The Florida National Guard has coordinated with the      National Guard Bureau to identify approximately 30,000 troops, 4,000      trucks, 100 helicopters, and air evacuation crews that are standing by for      Tropical Storm Irma support, if needed. 10,000 of those troops are in the      process of joining Florida Guard members for deployment following the      storm.
  • The U.S. Military has deployed aircraft carrier USS      Abraham Lincoln and the two amphibious ships USS Iwo Jima and USS New      York, which will support search and rescue operations as needed.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

  • More than 200 FWC officers statewide, including partner      agencies, are deployed in areas with resources such as trucks, coastal and      river patrol boats, ATVs and shallow draft boats to respond to critical      areas based on the storm’s path. FWC Special Operations Group (SOG)      officers, National Guard members and an Urban Search and Rescue Team began      rescue operations in the Keys yesterday evening.
  • FWC has more than 500 law enforcement vessels deployed      throughout the state. FWC has three teams of 22 officers with 10 boats in      route to Jacksonville areas where flooding is reported.
  • FWC has sworn in more than 300 officers deployed from      Georgia, Mississippi, Delaware, South Carolina, Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana,      Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
  • The entire Florida Highway Patrol, approximately 1,700      troopers, is on 12-hour shifts, with the primary mission to assist      emergency response. In addition, a total of 330 troopers are assisting      with recovery and road clearance efforts.
  • As ports are actively working to reopen, FHP is staged      to escort resupply trucks to gas stations once the roads are safe.
  • Florida Incident Management Teams (IMT) have mobilized      to provide overall statewide command and control for all Urban Search      & Rescue (US&R) and lifesaving operations.
  • Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) team members are      deployed in multiple locations and identifying requests for search and      rescue.

TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS

  • The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)      has begun damage assessments, bridge inspections and debris clearance in      the southern part of the state. FDOT bridge inspectors and maintenance      crews have reached Marathon and are pushing down US 1 and into the Keys.
  • FDOT continues to coordinate with Google’s emergency      response team to “close” damaged roads in Google Maps in real time      following damage assessments.
  • FDOT’s cut and toss crews are working with utility      crews across the state to clear road debris so power can be restored      quickly. An FDOT and Florida Power and Light (FPL) convoy is currently in      route in Southwest Florida after departing the BB&T Center staging      area at sunrise.
  • The State Emergency Response Team will prioritize      clearing major roadways, addressing the needs of critical shelters and      special-needs shelters, and distributing staged life-saving resources.
  • FDOT is working on clearing US-1, Interstate 75,      Interstate 95, Interstate 4, Florida’s Turnpike and Interstate 10. They      will be followed closely by the United States National Guard and utility      companies.
  • As the FDOT works on the major interstate systems, the      United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are clearing roads around      shelters that are in critical condition or are special-needs shelters.
  • FDOT is coordinating with other states to deploy      additional resources to Florida. A number of other states have offered      assistance. Maryland, Missouri and Delaware are currently deploying crews      to Florida. FDOT continues to coordinate with other states.
  • Around the state, FDOT has 13 traffic management      centers where hundreds of DOT workers are monitoring traffic cameras 24/7.      Real-time traffic information and evacuation routes are available at www.FL511.com
  • Governor Scott directed the Florida Department of      Transportation (FDOT) to suspend tolls across the entire State of Florida      in preparation for Tropical Storm Irma. Tolls will remain suspended for      the duration of the storm’s impacts to Florida.
  • FDOT is coordinating with county emergency operations      centers directly to coordinate any necessary response actions, including      damage assessments and road and bridge closures.
  • Sustained winds over 40 miles per hour prompted the      Florida Highway Patrol to close bridges. The state Emergency Operations      Center is receiving regular wind status updates from the Florida      Department of Transportation (FDOT) and continues to closely monitoring      the wind speeds across bridges.
  • The following major airports are closed:

Airport Name

Status

Dade-Collier Training and   Transition Airport

Emergency Operations Only

Downtown Fort Lauderdale Heliport

Closed

Everglades Airpark

Closed

Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood   International Airport

Closed

 

Immokalee Regional Airport

Closed

Key West International Airport

Closed

Marco Island Airport

Closed

Miami Executive Airport

Emergency Operations Only

Miami Homestead General Aviation   Airport

Emergency Operations Only

Miami Seaplane Base

Closed

Naples Municipal Airport

Emergency Operations Only

North Perry Airport

Closed

Opa-Locka Executive Airport

Emergency Operations Only

Palm Beach International Airport

Commercial Service Terminated

Punta Gorda Airport

Closed

Southwest Florida International   Airport

Commercial Service Terminated

St Pete-Clearwater International   Airport

Closed

Tallahassee Commercial Airport

Closed

The Florida Keys Maraton   International Airport

Closed

Vero Beach Municipal Airport

Commercial Service Terminated   Emergency Operations Only

 

  • Port Updates:
  • Key West: Port closed
  • Miami: Port closed
  • Port Everglades: Port closed (FDOT has cleared road      access to Port Everglades. Once Port reopens, FHP will begin escorting      fuel trucks to resupply gas stations.)
  • Palm Beach: Port Closed
  • Manatee: Port closed
  • Petersburg: Port closed
  • Canaveral: Port closed, two oil tankers waiting      offshore to discharge oil once USCG reopens port
  • Jacksonville: Port closed
  • Fernandina: Port closed
  • Tampa: Port closed (FDOT has cleared road access to      Port Tampa. Once Port reopens, FHP will begin escorting fuel trucks to      resupply gas stations.)
  • Panama City: Port closed
  • Pensacola: Open with restrictions

FUEL SUPPLY

  • The state is working to identify potential routes for      delivering fuel to first responders and to retail stations as soon as      ports reopen.
  • At the direction of Governor Scott, Florida Highway      Patrol will resume escorting fuel delivery trucks as quickly as possible      so they can quickly deliver fuel to gas stations.
  • Governor Scott waived Florida’s motor fuel import tax      for five days to help bring more fuel to Florida for storm response and      recovery. To see the order, click HERE.
  • Governor Scott has rescinded all weight and driver      restrictions for highways so water, food, fuel and emergency supplies can      be quickly brought to Florida.
  • Following a request from Governor Scott, the same      restrictions have been waived in Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Georgia,      Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.
  • Governor Scott has spoken with President Donald Trump,      Vice President Mike Pence, FEMA administrator Brock Long, Department of      Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator      Scott Pruitt, Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and      Administrator of the Small Business Administration Linda McMahon regarding      waiving rules and regulations to get gas into Florida quickly.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved      an emergency fuel waiver at the Governor’s request which will allow more fuel      to quickly enter the state. For more information, please click HERE
  • The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer      Services issued an order allowing for the sale of premium motor fuel at a      lower cost.
  • Vice President Pence announced that the federal      government has waived additional rules and regulations to allow more fuel      to get to Florida fast.
  • The state has worked with fuel suppliers to identify      excess fuel in the Western Panhandle to potentially arrange escorts to      ensure that there is fuel supply where needed for evacuations.

FOOD AND WATER

  • The state is working to ensure adequate food resources      are available for Florida residents impacted by Tropical Storm Irma,      prioritizing activity by areas where landfall first occurred and      based upon urgency of need. Specific activities include the following:
  •  
    • Working with retail partners to obtain food resources       for shelters in the most critical areas with the most critical needs.
    • Obtaining approval from U.S. Department of Agriculture       (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service to release The Emergency Assistance       Food Program (TEFAP) and Commodity Supplemental Food Service (CSFP)       foods, which can be used by all counties as authorized by the       Presidential Disaster Declaration.
    • Ensuring ice is available for shelters, canteens,       kitchens and military support operations.
    • Drawing down USDA Foods from the state inventory       and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture inventory for meal       preparation.
    • Staging infant and toddler supplies that have been       received in Pensacola for distribution for missions.

VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS 

  • Governor Rick Scott activated the Florida Disaster Fund to      support individuals who are impacted by Tropical Storm Irma. The Florida      Disaster Fund helps provide financial support to Florida’s communities in      times of disaster. To make a contribution, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or      text DISASTER to 20222 to make a one-time donation of $10.
  • Florida needs 1,000 volunteer nurses to help at our      special needs shelters. Nurses who can volunteer can email BPRCHDPreparedness@FLHealth.gov. Nurses can also email HelpFL@FLhealth.gov.
  • Volunteer Florida is coordinating with volunteer      organizations across the state and encouraging individuals to volunteer to      help those in need. More than 30,000 volunteers have signed up to help      Florida. To volunteer, go to volunteerflorida.org/Irma      or call 1-800-FL-Help-1.
  • Volunteer Florida’s Community Emergency Response Team      (CERT) in Collier County is ready with disaster kits and radios in      preparation for rescue and recovery efforts once Tropical Storm Irma      passes. For crisis support, call 2-1-1. If your call is dropped, text IRMA      to 898211 to connect with an operator.
  • The state is coordinating with Volunteer Florida and      organizations across the state to monitor shelter status and prioritize      delivery of life-sustaining commodities once weather permits.
  • The American Red Cross has deployed more than 700      volunteers and has more than 100 tractor trailers with supplies for 55,000      people by the end of Saturday. Teams are coordinating staffing and feeding      needs at shelters across the state. The Salvation Army now has the      capability to provide 100,000 meals a day. All 47 Salvation Army units –      from Pensacola to south Florida – are on standby and eager to assist      residents in need. For more info, please click HERE.      Feeding Florida has received 36 truckloads of food and has 3,000 shelf      stable meal boxes ready to distribute where needed when weather permits.      Multiple organizations across Florida are also standing by with food, water      and resources.

PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL

  • Residents should be sure to follow the direction of      local officials regarding boil water notices. County emergency management      contacts, websites and citizen information lines can be found at http://www.floridadisaster.org/info.
  • DOH is continuing to support special-needs shelters      with personnel, supplies and equipment. They are also facilitating patient      transport between facilities to ensure continuation of patient care.
  • The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is coordinating      with hospitals and healthcare facilities across Florida on evacuation      needs. DOH has coordinated the evacuation of 30 hospitals,      more than 60 nursing homes, and more than 330 non-hospital health care      facilities thus far.
  • DOH is conducting healthcare facility assessments in      areas of impact and supporting restoration of medical services at      hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
  • The state is deploying personnel, such as Special Needs      Sheltering Teams, to provide assistance to counties affected by the storm.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)      has Disaster Medical Assistance Teams on standby for Florida. These rapid      response teams aid in the provision of medical care to those who need it      after the storm.
  • Under a State of Emergency, individuals are able to      refill prescriptions early. All health insurers, managed care      organizations, and other entities that are licensed by the Office of      Insurance Regulation and provide prescription medication coverage as part      of a policy are required to waive time restrictions on prescription      medication refills.

STATE OFFICE CLOSURES

  • State offices in all 67 counties are closed today.      Until further notice, state office closures will continue to follow the      direction of county officials. As of now, offices in Alachua, Bradford,      Collier, Lee, Leon and Miami Dade will be closed on Tuesday.
  • In partnership with the American Red Cross, salaried,      non-essential state employees can receive expedited volunteer      certifications for disaster services so that they may assist in or operate      shelters in response to Tropical Storm Irma impacts and preparation.      Florida law allows Governor Scott to grant full-time, salaried state      employees up to 15 days of administrative leave for emergency volunteer      efforts through the American Red Cross. Employees can register HERE.

SCHOOL DISTRICTS

  • Governor Rick Scott directed all public K-12 schools,      state colleges, state universities to close Friday, September 8 – Monday,      September 11.
  • School districts, state colleges and universities      continue to coordinate with the Florida Department of Education and many      have issued extended closure notices. School closures are available      at www.fldoe.org/irma.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

  • DEP has issued an emergency order to ensure recovery      efforts are not hampered or delayed. DEP has expanded that order for power      plants to cover the entire state to assist any facility recovering from      the storm and a new order to waive certain rules for fuel facilities      impacted by the storm statewide. Both orders apply only to impacted      facilities and have provisions to guard the environment while assisting in      quick recovery of critical infrastructure.
  • DEP has established a mutual aid system to coordinate      responses between utilities, the department, and other responders. This      system is active and continues to coordinate and respond to the needs of      drinking and waste water facilities throughout Florida.
  • DEP is standing up Beach Response Teams and      participating with assistance of USACE in efforts to expedite recovery of      Florida beaches.
  • DEP along with the US Army Corps of Engineers, Florida      Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, Division of Emergency      Management, Florida Fish and Wildlife, and FEMA are participating in a      state-wide debris removal workgroup, to expedite recovery efforts post      landfall.
  • DEP is evaluating State Parks for re-opening status. A      full list of closures can be found at https://floridastateparks.org/content/storm-information
  • The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is      deploying to mobilize Hazardous Assessment and Response Team (HART) with      the EPA.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE

  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to closely      monitor the lake level, which is currently at 14.29 feet.
  • Initial assessments from the U.S. Army Corps of      Engineers is that lake infrastructure is safe and they will continue to      monitor.
  • The mandatory evacuation orders for Glades and Hendry      Counties have been lifted.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

  • Free Xfinity WiFi hotspots are      available throughout the state for individuals in      need, including non-Xfinity customers, to help residents      and emergency personnel stay connected. For a map of Xfinity WiFi      hotspots, which are located both indoors and outdoors in places such as      shopping districts, parks and businesses, please visit Xfinity.com/wifi.
  • Charter Communications opened all of their Spectrum      WiFi hotspots across Florida to help those affected by Tropical Storm Irma      get connected.
  • Telecommunications Partners are monitoring fuel levels      for generators and back-up power supply for cell towers, mobile switching      centers and central offices.
  • The state is working with city, county and state      entities to re-route phone lines and is assessing outages.

BUSINESS, INDUSTRY, & ECONOMIC STABILIZATION

  • The Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations      Center business damage assessment surveying tool has been activated for      businesses to report damages resulting from Tropical Storm Irma.      Businesses are encouraged to visit http://flvbeoc.org/index.php.      Click on Tropical Storm Irma.
  • A private sector hotline is available at (850) 410-1403      to respond to calls from businesses and private sector support      organizations.
  • The Department of Economic Opportunity is readying the      Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program to provide temporary income      support to eligible individuals in counties approved for FEMA Individual      Assistance.
  • The state is working to identify the “open/close”      status of businesses. This information is being posted to the SERT      Tropical Storm Irma web page: http://www.floridadisaster.org/info/ .
  • The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association members      are working directly with local Salvation Army Staff to provide meals for      shelter evacuees.
  • The Florida Retail Federation is assisting in      coordinating information to Florida Retailers regarding restocking of      emergency supplies, readying mobile pharmacies, and the transportation of      fuel.
  • The Florida Small Business Development Center Network      is working with federal officials to identify additional staffing and      financial resources to support business response activities.
  • The Florida Chamber of Commerce is coordinating with      their members and local chambers to determine post-storm recovery needs      and identifying resources available to be sent to the affected areas.

INSURANCE

  • In the wake of Tropical Storm Irma, Floridians affected      by the storm must now begin the process of surveying damages to their      property and belongings. If you need help finding your Florida’s property      insurance company’s website and contact information, click HERE.      For a list of licensed insurance agents in Florida, click HERE.
  • Consumers with questions about their policies and those      who need help filing a claim should call the CFO’s free Insurance Consumer      Helpline at 1-877-693-5236.
  • It is important to document all damaged property and      belongings. A free smartphone app developed by the National Association of      Insurance Commissioners called “MyHome Scr.APP.book” is available to assist      with photo documentation.
  • OIR has updated its “Hurricane Season Resources” webpage, which contains links to information provided      by the Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Attorney General, Commissioner      of Agriculture, Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood      Insurance Program, and contact information for Florida’s property      insurers.

 

VISIT FLORIDA

  • VISIT FLORIDA remains in contact with all destination      marketing partners and emergency contacts and has activated the Homepage Banner      and Florida Now page on visitflorida.com to advise consumers.
  • Through VISIT FLORIDA’s partnership with Expedia, Expedia.com/Florida      has been activated to provide accommodations availability information for      visitors, residents and first responders.
  • Airbnb today activated its Disaster Response Program to      connect Floridians forced to evacuate from their homes due to Tropical      Storm Irma and relief workers arriving to provide assistance with      temporary housing through local Airbnb hosts free of charge.
  • Airbnb hosts in the following Florida communities are      eligible to take part in the program and list their homes for free to      evacuees and emergency relief workers: Bay County, Escambia County, Leon      County, Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Walton County, Holmes County,      Washington County, Calhoun County, Franklin County, Jackson County,
         Liberty County, Gadsden County, Gulf County, Wakulla County, Madison      County, Jefferson County, Taylor County. These free listings are available      until September 28.
  • Additionally, Airbnb has expanded free listings for      Florida evacuees to the Atlanta metro area. These free listings in      Northwest Florida and Atlanta are available until September 28.
  • Walt Disney World in Orlando will close on Saturday and      remain closed through Monday. Universal Orlando will close at 7 p.m.      Saturday and will remain closed through Monday. SeaWorld in Orlando and      Busch Gardens in Tampa will close at 5 p.m. Saturday and remain closed      through Monday.

 

STATE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER/CONTACT INFORMATION

  • The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated      at a level one, which is a full-scale, 24-hours-a-day activation.
  • The Florida Emergency Information Line has been      activated and is available 24/7 for families and victors at      1-800-342-3557.
  • Floridians can text FLPREPARES to 888777 in order to      receive text alerts from FDEM.
  • The media line is 850-921-0217.
  • Follow @FLSert or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live      updates on Tropical Storm Irma.
  • Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org to find information on shelters, road closures      and evacuation routes.
  • On Monday, Governor Scott issued Executive Order 17-235 declaring a state of emergency in all 67 counties      within the State of Florida.
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2017
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