Gov. Scott Issues Updates on Continued Hurricane Irma Response Efforts
EVERGLADES CITY, Fla. – Today, Governor Scott is touring communities impacted by Hurricane Irma in Collier County. The Governor has met with officials in Highlands County, Key West and Marathon and will continue to remain in constant communication with state and local emergency management officials, city and county leaders, law enforcement and National Guard leaders, and utility officials as Hurricane Irma response continues.
EMERGENCY SUPPORT FUNCTIONS BY STATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
- Flood warnings 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 675,000 accounts. For a full breakdown, click HERE. Since the height of power outages, 6.7 million on Monday, power has been restored to more than 6 million accounts, which is how utility companies measure each Florida home or business. 90 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, 4.4 million customers were impacted by the storm. Power has been restored to more than four million customers.
- Duke Energy
- More than 1.3 million customers were impacted by the storm. Power has already been restored to more than 1.2 million customers.
- 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 730,000 customers.
- Municipal Utilities
- More than 800,000 customers were impacted by the storm. Power has already been restored to more than 770,000 customers.
- 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 6th, 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, please click HERE
- More than 200 FWC officers statewide are deployed in areas with more than 500 law enforcement vessels including trucks, coastal and river patrol boats, ATVs and shallow draft boats.
- FWC has 41 additional officers, including Special Operations Group (SOG), in Monroe County. These officers are working with National Guard members and an Urban Search and Rescue team to continue rescue operations in the Keys.
- 21 FWC officers are providing public safety patrols in response to Santa Fe River flooding in Colombia, Alachua, Gilchrist and Suwannee Counties
- 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.
- FHP continues to provide multiple escorts to the Keys ensure the quick delivery of relief supplies, such as food to local supermarkets, portable toilets, water and resources with the Red Cross.
- FHP has assigned troopers to assist Monroe County with traffic and crashes.
- FHP has assigned six troopers to report to Key West Police Department to assist with area law enforcement.
- DHSMV Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) Mobiles have been mobilized for impacted Florida residents in Lee and Collier counties to provide credentialing services to impacted customers. These services will begin on Monday.
- There are nearly 6,000 soldiers and airmen on the ground, as a combined force of members of the Florida National Guard, partner National Guard states and active duty components, that have conducted hundreds of missions across the state.
- In addition to Florida National Guard personnel and assets, more than 2,200 Guardsmen from 12 states are assisting with Hurricane Irma response operations.
- Florida Guardsmen are actively operating at Points of Distribution (PODs) throughout the state to ensure supplies are being quickly provided to those who need them.
- 64 shelters are open throughout Florida with a total population of more than 4,000 individuals. Nearly 30 special needs shelters are open with a total population of nearly 1,000 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.
TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS
- The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced I-75 remains open, as flood waters have been receding on the Santa Fe River.
- SR 47 and US 27 at the Santa Fe River are now open.
- Unprecedented river flooding is causing closures and extensive rerouting of traffic nearby roadways. See closures below:
- SR 31: Flooding in DeSoto on SR-31 south at CR 760A, all lanes blocked. Flooding in Charlotte on SR-31 north beyond Cook Brown Rd, all lanes blocked. Use I-75 and Highway 17 as detour routes.
- Bridge inspections and debris clearance are ongoing throughout the state.
- FDOT debris removal crews have cleared US 1 and has completed bridge inspection on 26 off-system bridges in Monroe County. FDOT is closely coordinating support of debris removal in off-system roads in Monroe County. Local officials will determine when it’s safe to reenter Monroe County.
- Governor Scott announced that 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.
- Governor Scott directed the FDOT to suspend tolls across the entire State of Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma. Tolls remain suspended and immediate recovery efforts continue.
- The first FEMA Disaster Recovery Center has opened in St. Augustine, and more will 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).
- 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, visit https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-irma-rumor-control.
- Residents who sustained losses in the declared counties can apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. 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.
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
- The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Department of Health 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: 205 are utilizing generators, 2,475 have power, 176 have reported as being closed, 194 have reported post-storm evacuations;
- Nursing Homes: 32 are utilizing generators, 645 have power, 8 have reported being closed, 27 have reported post-storm evacuations
- Hospitals: 3 are utilizing generators, 304 have power, 8 have reported being closed, 8 have reported post-storm evacuations
- See the Governor’s statement regarding the tragedy in Broward 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.
- 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.
- Department of Health (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.
- OneBlood is urging all those who are able to 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. It is posted on the home page of apdcares.org.
- 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.
- 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, visitwww.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 DISASTER to 20222 to make a one-time donation of $10. Volunteer Florida has also engaged with Facebook to activate a donation portal online.
- In response to Hurricane Irma, Lyft is donating $100,000 to a “Relief Rides” program helping those in need get to/from hospitals and shelters after the hurricane, as well as partnering with Team Rubicon to help their volunteers. Call (754) 900-5949 to request a ride. If you are associated with a hospital, shelter, or local government, please email email@example.com so that Lyft can get you access to a pre-funded account to help those in need. Click here for information on how partners can use Lyft’s Concierge Service to request rides for those in need and who may not have access to a smartphone.
- Uber is donating $400,000 of rides, food and relief to families and communities affected as well as first responders. Uber is helping provide free rides across the state to Floridians in need. Call the toll-free number 844-800-9425 to request a ride. Local governments, nonprofits, and organizations with an immediate need can email IrmaRelief@uber.com.
- Polk County and Escambia have set up Volunteer Reception Centers to help coordinate local volunteers.
- Volunteer Florida partner the American Red Cross has 2,000 volunteers and 34 shelters housing 7,500 people.
- Volunteer Florida partner the Southern Baptist Convention has seven kitchens with a capacity to feed 140,000 people.
- Volunteer Florida partner Feeding Florida has 10 mass distribution sites opened with additional expected.
- Volunteer Florida partner Convoy of Hope is working with 557 volunteers and has distributed four tractor–trailer loads of supplies, including 400,000 lbs. of water, food, hygiene kits in Clay County, Collier County, Duval County, Lee County, Hardee County, Hendry County, and Marion County
- Volunteer Florida partner Operation Blessing has supported over 1,000 residents in need of food and water and is working at the warehouse in Ocala, Florida. Emergency supplies are prepped and ready to be sent out in semi-trucks to the hardest hit areas, including food, water, and hygiene kits for those most in need as well as chainsaws, generators, wheelbarrows and other tools for clearing debris.
- Volunteer Florida partner Crisis Clean-up has set up its hotline; Floridians in need of debris removal and other services can call 1-800-451-1954. So far, Crisis Clean-up has served 3,889 clients and 22 organizations have signed up to assist clients with clean up.
- 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, 52 Mobile Canteens with the capacity to prepare 1,500 meals a day are currently serving hot meals across the state.
- To date, 155,718 prepared meals, 87,060 drinks and 129,048 Meals, Ready to Eat (MRE) have been served through the Salvation Army.
- To date, more than 3,000 meals have been delivered through the Red Cross.
- 17 Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles are surveying impacted areas in the Keys distributing food to community members.
- Please visit www.fldoe.org/irma/ to view all school closures.
- 59 Florida State Parks have reopened for day-use only, 108 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 and South Carolina have deployed crews to assist the 117-mile main line repairs needed from Key Largo to Key West. Miami-Dade water and sewer teams have started work and will continue to assist when the additional teams arrive.
- DEP continues to coordinate with the EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard to assess facilities and respond to pollution incidents and other storm impacts. More than 450 assessments and inspections have been completed.
- DEP staff have completed initial inspections to document damage to structures and the beach-dune system in Nassau, Duval, Brevard, Martin, Pinellas, Manatee, Indian River, St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Broward, Franklin and Gulf counties. They will continue surveys in St. John, Flagler, Volusia, Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties. DEP’s Beaches Program staff began conducting more detailed engineering surveys and damage assessments in Collier, Sarasota and Charlotte counties.
- DEP continues to coordinate with US Army Corps of Engineers, FDOT, US Coast Guard, FWC, and FEMA on debris removal statewide. DEP contractors are mobilizing to county-identified debris sites. 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
- All South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) pump stations continue 24/7 pumping operations. Generator and fuel tank level inspections ongoing at all structures. Debris monitoring, assessment and removal are ongoing over the weekend.
- Water managers are continuing to use the S-65A navigation lock at Lake Kissimmee to increase flows to help further lower water levels in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.
- All structures upstream of Lake Kissimmee are discharging at maximum rates; all SFWMD boat locks on the river remain closed to public recreation to facilitate these operations.
- Water levels in the Big Cypress Basin system in Collier County continue to recede.
- The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) continues to operate water control structures.
- The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) is assisting Indian River County lower water levels to mitigate flooding at Blue Cypress Lake.
- The SJRWMD continues to manage flood control structures at the Ocklawaha Basin to protect private residences. This includes closure of the Apopka Dam.
- The SJRWMD continues to manage the Upper St Johns River Basin to help mitigate flooding. At this time all possible efforts have been taken to reduce discharges to the St Johns River; including maximizing flows through the C-54 to the Indian River Lagoon.
BUSINESS, INDUSTRY, & ECONOMIC STABILIZATION
- 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.
- The state is working to identify the “open/close” status of businesses. This information is being posted to the SERT Hurricane Irma web page: http://www.floridadisaster.org/info/ .
- 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.
- 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.