Gov. Scott Issues Updates on Continued Hurricane Irma Response Efforts
AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott is touring impacts of Hurricane Irma in St. Johns County. The Governor will also visit the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Professional Development Center to thank local law enforcement, emergency management officials and first responders for their commitment to Florida families before, during and after Hurricane Irma.
EMERGENCY SUPPORT FUNCTIONS BY STATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER
- The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) will be activated to Level 2 at 6:00 p.m. today. At Level 2, emergency support functions critical to the recovery process will continue daily operations as the state continues to closely coordinate with federal and local partners.
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
- Flood warnings and rip current advisories are in effect across the state. To see the most current advisories in your county, click HERE.
POWER AND UTILITIES
- The current power outage as of 12:00 p.m. is more than 35,000 accounts. For a full breakdown, click HERE. Since the height of power outages, 6.74 million on Monday, power has been restored to more than 6.71 million accounts, which is how utility companies measure each Florida home or business. More than 99.5 percent of all outages have been restored by more than 30,000 restoration personnel across Florida – the largest power restoration undertaking in history for a single state.
- Do not try to handle downed power lines. Contact your local utility company to report it.
- Tampa Electric
- Tampa Electric has restored power to the 730,000 customers affected by the storm.
- Florida Power and Light
- In total, more than 4.4 million customers were impacted by the storm. Power has been restored to 4,439,610 customers.
- Duke Energy
- Duke Energy has restored power to the more than 1.3 million affected by the storm.
- Gulf Power
- Gulf Power has restored power to the 13,000 customers affected by the storm.
- Florida Electric Cooperatives Assoc.
- More than 760,000 customers were impacted by the storm. Power has already been restored to more than 759,000 customers.
- Municipal Utilities
- More than 800,000 customers were impacted by the storm. Power has already been restored to more than 795,000 customers.
- FWC has over 154 officers statewide focused on hurricane response. This includes, but is not limited to responding to flooding events, humanitarian efforts such as handing out cases of water and meals ready to eat (MRE’s), security patrols, welfare checks and road debris clearance.
- In addition to officers stationed in the Keys, the FWC has an additional 41 officers in Monroe county working with National Guard members as well as other first responders on Urban Search missions, welfare checks and humanitarian efforts such as distributing water and meals ready to eat (MRE’s).
- The FWC has officers working in Clay, Collier, Columbia, Miami-Dade, and St. Johns counties supporting law enforcement needs.As a result of the Governor’s Executive Order, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is waiving certain driver license and motor vehicle service fees for individuals impacted by Hurricane Irma.
- To assist with area law enforcement and traffic safety, FHP has 40 troopers assigned to Collier County, 12 troopers assigned to Monroe County, six troopers assigned to Key West Police Department, six troopers assigned to Everglades City Police and four troopers assigned to Marco Island Police Department.
- Troopers are escorting 300 utility trucks to areas including Lee County to expedite work restoring power to residents.
- DHSMV has deployed Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) Mobiles to provide credentialing services to customers impacted by Irma in Lee County. Since the deployment, DHSMV has issued 491 driver licenses/ID cards, reinstated or updated 163 credentials, issued 486 motor vehicle registrations and updated the emergency contact information for 308 customers. FLOW mobiles remain in Cape Coral and Bonita Springs.
- There are 1,200 Florida National Guard members activated and continuing to assist with recovery efforts across the state.
- Florida Guardsmen are actively operating at Points of Distribution (PODs) throughout Florida to ensure supplies are being quickly provided to those who need them.
- An aggressive recovery effort is ongoing, working with FEMA to identify and activate federal grant programs that can benefit Floridians and their communities.
- President Donald Trump’s Administration expanded Major Disaster Declaration for Florida requested by Governor Scott includes individual assistance for Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, and Volusia counties.
- Emergency Protective Measures (Category A and Category B) funded through the Federal Public Assistance Program is available for all 67 counties.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging individuals and families to be alert for false rumors, scams, identity theft, and fraud. For resources on how to protect yourself and your loves ones from disaster fraud, click HERE or call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721.
- Residents who sustained losses in the declared counties can apply for assistance by registering online. Residents who suffered damages from the storm may register now, and if their county is later included in the declaration, the application will be processed automatically.
- 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 (FEMA) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY); if you use 711 Relay or Video Relay Service, call 1-800-621-3362.
- 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.
- FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers have opened in St. Augustine and Boynton Beach, and Riverview in Hillsborough County. More centers will continue to open in affected communities where survivors can apply for assistance and meet face-to-face with recovery specialists.
- To find the nearest Disaster Recovery Center, visit www.fema.gov/DRC, use the FEMA App or text DRC and your Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA).
- FEMA’s Operation Blue Roof Program is now available to eligible homeowners impacted by Hurricane Irma. Operation Blue Roof provides a temporary covering of blue plastic sheeting to help reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made.
- Outreach teams from FEMA are canvassing Florida communities affected by Hurricane Irma. The teams are working in federally designated counties to help residents register for disaster assistance and to quickly identify and address immediate and emerging needs. The teams can also provide application updates and referrals to additional community resources for remaining needs. For more information, click HERE.
TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS
- All tolls were re-instated this morning at 12:01 a.m., except for those on the Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike south of the interchange with S.R. 874 (Mile Post 0-17), to assist Monroe County residents with recovery efforts.
- FDOT crews have deployed for clearing roadways primarily in Monroe County, including cut and toss operations and debris removal on arterial roads and off system roads.
- The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has approved a $25 million Emergency Relief (ER) Quick Release Grant to support response and recovery efforts for Florida’s roadways and transportation system. This federal funding will be used to conduct emergency repairs on impacted roads, embankments, bridges or other infrastructure and help restore traffic on major roadways to ensure Florida residents and visitors can travel safely.
- More than 20 shelters are open throughout Florida with a total population of more than 1,600 individuals. This number is being updated throughout the day. For more information, click HERE.
- Florida Atlantic University is hosting more than 100 evacuees from Puerto Rico who were seeking safety from Hurricane Maria.
- To find information about available shelter information by county, click HERE. FEMA is also hosting shelter information on its mobile app which can be found HERE.
- Governor Scott is taking aggressive efforts to expedite refueling statewide. For more information, please click HERE.
- Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, Port of Jacksonville, and Port of Tampa are actively accepting fuel. The Florida Highway Patrol has troopers dedicated to escorting fuel resupply trucks as needed.
- Since September 6, Governor Scott has taken the following actions to expedite fuel delivery to gas stations:
- Directed the Florida Highway Patrol to escort fuel resupply trucks to gas stations;
- Directed law enforcement to provide escorts to fuel station employees in evacuation zones so stations could stay open as long as possible before landfall to serve Floridians;
- Waived the import taxes on fuel entering the state;
- Waived weight and driver restrictions for highways so water, food, fuel and emergency supplies could be quickly brought to Florida and moved throughout the state;
- Governor Scott and executive office staff have held daily calls with all fuel supply stakeholders, including Florida Ports;
- Vice President Pence announced that the federal government has waived the Jones Act upon Governor Scott’s request which waives additional rules and regulations to allow more fuel to get to Florida fast. This waiver ensures that all options are available to distribute fuel to Florida. The last Jones Act waiver was issued in December 2012, for petroleum products to be delivered for relief assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy;
- Following the Governor’s request, 12 states joined Florida in waiving weight and driver restrictions to move goods more quickly into the state, including fuel; and
- Following the Governor’s request, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved an emergency fuel waiver which allows more fuel to quickly enter the state. For more information, click HERE.
PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL
- Governor Rick Scott is directing Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Secretary Justin Senior and Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Jeffery Bragg to issue emergency rules to keep Floridians safe in health care facilities during emergencies. Pursuant to the emergency action, within the next 60 days, all assisted living facilities (ALFs) and nursing homes must obtain ample resources; including a generator and the appropriate amount of fuel, to sustain operations and maintain comfortable temperatures for at least 96-hours following a power outage. This is based on standards already in place at all hospitals in Florida. For more information, click HERE.
- AHCA and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) is conducting frequent and vigorous outreach to facilities every day; which includes daily calls with hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In-person wellness checks are being conducted for facilities when contact cannot be made or any facility that reports distress. See full release HERE.
- Assisted Living Facilities: 33 are utilizing generators, 2,983 have power, 81 have reported as being closed, 173 have reported post-storm evacuations;
- Nursing Homes: 2 are utilizing generators, 679 have power, 5 have reported being closed, 39 have reported post-storm evacuations
- Hospitals: None are utilizing generators, 308 have power, 5 have reported being closed, 3 have reported post-storm evacuations
- Information regarding the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills is available HERE.
- The state is holding daily calls with assisted living facilities and nursing homes to ensure they have everything they need to serve those in their care. The state is aggressively working to ensure utility companies restore power to these facilities as quickly as possible.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has activated a program called the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) Definitive Care Reimbursement Program to help hospitals and medical facilities providing care to patients affected by Hurricane Irma, more information HERE.
- Up-to-date information on boil water notices is available online HERE.
- Disaster Medical Assistance Teams have been deployed to provide healthcare services to communities in need.
- DOH Environmental Health staff are conducting assessments throughout the state and epidemiology staff are monitoring emergency department surveillance to identity carbon monoxide poisonings relating to generator use.
- DOH is urging residents to avoid flood waters. Flood waters may contain waste from sewage systems and septic tanks, agricultural and industrial waste and other bacteria. There may also be unseen hazards under the water in areas that received storm surge or freshwater flooding. Flood waters can also mask debris, downed power lines and other hazards.
- DOH has mobilized additional resources to Collier County (in Everglades City); including 1,000 mud boots, portable shower facilities, and Tdap vaccines.
- OneBlood is urging all those who can visit a local blood center and donate blood to do so. They have an urgent need for platelets and O negative blood.
- APD has created a Recovery Toolkit with vital resources for customers, waiver support coordinators, and providers recovering from Hurricane Irma.
- DCF requested and FNS granted a mass replacement for 40 percent of SNAP benefits to customers approved as of September 10 in affected counties. For more information, visit the ACCESS Florida webpage. DCF is processing the replacement and benefits should be available on EBT cards by September 22.
- DCF requested and FNS granted a waiver of the reporting requirement so that households in counties affected by Hurricane Irma have until September 29 to report SNAP food loss and request replacement of benefits.
- DCF and USDA provided $133 million in Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to help replace food destroyed by the storm or due to power outages. This funding will help nearly 1.5 million households across 52 counties. More information is available HERE.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has accepted the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) request to allow all students in 48 counties designated in the FEMA Major Disaster Declaration access to free school meals through the National School Lunch Program.
- Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida Virtual School (FLVS) will provide remote access to educational resources to all Florida students who were displaced by Hurricane Irma. Additionally, FLVS will provide access to digital educational materials to help the hardest hit school districts as they work to return to normal operations.
- Please visit www.fldoe.org/irma/ to view all school closures.
- 114 Florida State Parks have reopened for day-use only, 53 parks remain closed to ensure visitor safety. Park service staff have formed teams to respond to impacted parks and re-open them as quickly as possible. A full list of closures can be found at https://floridastateparks.org/content/storm-information.
- At DEP’s request, crews from Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina, as well as Miami Dade and Jupiter, have been deployed and are currently working on repairs along the 117-mile main line from Key Largo to Key West.
- DEP continues to coordinate with the EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard to assess and inspect facilities and respond to pollution incidents and other storm impacts.
- DEP staff have completed initial inspections to document damage to structures and the beach-dune system in all counties except Monroe, which will begin today. DEP’s Beaches Program staff are working to complete more detailed assessments and engineering surveys in impacted areas.
- DEP continues to coordinate with US Army Corps of Engineers, FDOT, US Coast Guard, FWC, and FEMA on debris removal statewide. DEP contractors have mobilized to the St. Johns River region, and more than 320 cubic yards of debris has been removed from waterways. Additional contractors and boats are being secured. Debris can be reported here.
- Dune and beach fortification activities in St. Johns and Flagler counties that had begun in the week prior to Hurricane Irma have resumed. Fortification efforts in Volusia County were completed. To date, more than 30,000 cubic yards of sand have been placed in these areas.
- 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. This includes ensuring generators for lift stations, wastewater plants and other vital infrastructure operations, providing pumps for flood control measures and deploying crews to assist with drinking and wastewater facility repairs.
- 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 expanded that order again to benefit beach fortification and repair efforts.
WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS
- To protect homes and businesses in the Upper Kissimmee Chain of Lakes area, the South Florida Water Management District continues moving as much water as possible out of the region.
- SFWMD is continuing generator and fuel tank level inspections at all structures, and debris removal operations continue.
- SFWMD continues 24/7 pumping operations at most pump stations, including the Big Cypress Basin. Structures in the Big Cypress Basin continue to flow at maximum capacity to move water away from communities, and more than 2/3 of Big Cypress canals are now within normal operating ranges. More information can be found here.
- SFWMD is conducting emergency operations with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to lower water levels in the Water Conservation Areas to protect Everglades wildlife. Among the emergency measures, SFWMD is resuming operation of four temporary pumps at the L-28 levee that were originally installed in early August to move water from WCA-3A west into Big Cypress National Preserve.
- The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) continues to focus on water control structure operations, flood response activities and waterway assessments.
- The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) is assisting Indian River, Flagler and Seminole counties with pumping operation.
- The SJRWMD continues to manage the Upper St Johns River Basin to help mitigate flooding.
- The SJRWMD continues to manage flood control structures at the Ocklawaha Basin to protect private residences. This includes closure of the Apopka Dam. Recently flows have been increased from Moss Bluff to create increased storage capacity for future rainfall.
- SJRWMD staff are working to inspect all levees within the District; to date, 75 percent have been inspected.
- The SJRWMD is assisting the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with debris removal within district boundaries.
- Volunteer Florida and the Department of Management Services are seeking state employee volunteers to transport food to affected areas in Southwest and Northeast Florida beginning Friday, Sept. 15. For more information, visit www.dms.myflorida.com and click “Hurricane Irma: Volunteer to Help.”
- 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 SUNSHINE to 20222 to make a one-time donation of $10. Volunteer Florida has also engaged with Facebook to activate a donation portal online.
- Volunteer Florida’s AmeriCorps teams, including Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County, Teach for America Jacksonville, Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Lucie County, Northwest Florida State College, Heart of Florida United Way, Metropolitan Ministries, Florida State Parks, City Year Jacksonville, Arc Jacksonville, Polk Education Foundation, Goodwill Industries of the Big Bend, Peacemakers Family Center and the City of Orlando have provided disaster response services to Floridians. Over 385 AmeriCorps members provided disaster response service to over 8,600 individuals.
- AmeriCorps members have served in shelters, special needs shelters, answered local citizen information lines, supported crisis hotlines, volunteer reception centers, engaged in school clean up activities in Duval County, and Florida State Park cleanup in 24 Florida State Parks. Members have also conducted post landfall damage assessment, supported Florida’s Volunteer and Donations Hotline and supported citizen needs of the American Red Cross.
- Over the weekend, Volunteer Florida grantee Peacemakers Family Center worked with the Miami Dolphins to host a post- Irma food giveaway. Over 130 volunteers packed and distributed 27 pallets of food and 24 pallets of water. 1,500 vehicles passed through the distribution area, representing 6,000 individuals served.
- 15 AmeriCorps members with Volunteer Florida grantee City of Orlando deployed to the Orange County EOC to assist 350 students in need
- 14 AmeriCorps member with Volunteer Florida grantee Polk Reads deployed to the Polk County Volunteer Reception Center to serve Floridians in Central Florida
- In Central Florida, AmeriCorps members from the Heart of Florida United Way volunteered at the 211 Crisis Hotline, answering over 300 calls
- Volunteer Florida Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) of the Villages have served over 300 people in two shelters. In conjunction with the Villages Public Safety Department, 26 CERT members checked on more than 356 homes on 15 streets.
- In Collier County, CERT teams walked door to door and passed out water and tarps and did wellness checks. They are also assisting with POD (Point of Distribution) in an effort to get essentials items into the community.
- In what is the largest response in the history of the Florida Division, the Salvation Army currently has field kitchens located in Ft. Myers, Naples and Marathon with the capacity to produce 10,000-20,000 meals each. Additionally, 61 Mobile Canteens with the capacity to prepare 1,500 meals a day are currently serving hot meals across the state.
- To date, The Salvation Army Florida Division has prepared and distributed 676,298 meals, drinks, and snacks, and have made 7,637 emotional and spiritual comfort contacts with the support of more than 16,239 volunteer hours.
BUSINESS, INDUSTRY, & ECONOMIC STABILIZATION
- Governor Rick Scott announced the state has been awarded federal Dislocated Worker Grants to provide temporary employment to Floridians affected by Hurricane Irma. The Dislocated Worker Grants, administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, provide disaster relief employment in the form of temporary jobs that support storm response and recovery efforts. For information regarding National Dislocated Worker Grants, visit your local CareerSource Center at http://www.careersourceflorida.com/your-local-team.
- The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has launched the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma to provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm. To complete an application by the Oct. 31, 2017, deadline, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For more information contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network (FSBDCN) at 850-898-3489 or emailDisaster@FloridaSBDC.org.
- DEO has launched the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Program to provide assistance to businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Irma. To file for DUA or for more information go to www.FloridaJobs.org or call 1-800-385-3920.
- The Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center business damage assessment surveying tool has been activated for businesses to report damages resulting from Hurricane Irma. Businesses are encouraged to visit http://flvbeoc.org/index.php. Click on Hurricane Irma.
- A private sector hotline is available at (850) 410-1403 to respond to calls from businesses and private sector support organizations.
- Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is encouraging lodging operators’ enrollment in the FEMA Transitional Shelter Assistance Program for displaced persons. All lodging operators are encouraged to sign-up at http://ela.corplodging.com.
- DEO has received approval by the United States Department of Labor to implement the Disaster Dislocated Worker Program to assist with cleanup and in providing humanitarian assistance.
- DEO and FSBDCN are working with the Small Business Administration (SBA) in the opening of Business Recovery Centers (BRCs). SBA announced the opening of two BRCs in Duval County and Pinellas County on September 18, 2017 to help businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma.
- The BRC in Duval County will be located at Beaver Street Enterprise Center, 728 Blanche Street, Bldg. 2, Jacksonville, FL
- The BRC in Pinellas County will be located at EPiCenter-Pinellas County Economic Development Center, 13805 58th Street North, Clearwater, FL.
INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES
- At the direction of Governor Scott, Insurance Commissioner Altmaier issued an Emergency Order suspending and activating certain insurance rules and statutes for the health, safety, and welfare of Florida’s policyholders. Among other provisions, the Order provides an additional 90 days to policyholders to supply information to their insurance company; prohibits insurance companies from canceling or non-renewing policies covering residential properties damaged by the hurricane for at least 90 days; and freezes any and all efforts to increase rates on policyholders for 90 days. The Order can be found HERE.
- 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.
- Citizens Property Insurance Corporation has opened three Catastrophe Response Centers have across Southern Florida. At these centers, policy holders can file claims, confirm coverage and receive advance payments for additional living expenses when appropriate. For more information, click HERE.
- For information on financial services providers, see below:
- For a list of Florida’s financial institutions and their websites, click HERE.
- Find your bank’s contact information, click HERE.
- Find your credit union’s contact information, click HERE.
- Find your mortgage servicer’s contact information, click HERE.
- If you don’t have your mortgage servicer’s information with you, you can search the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) or call toll-free at (888) 679-6377 to find the company that services your mortgage.
- Visit the Florida Office of Financial Regulation’s Hurricane Irma resources HERE.