TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott is in constant communication with federal, state and local emergency management officials and state agency leaders to ensure that communities impacted by Hurricane Michael are receiving the resources they need.

Following Governor Scott’s request, President Donald Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Michael. See the declaration HERE. On October 7th, Governor Scott declared a state of emergency in 26 Florida counties, and expanded it to include 35 counties total on October 8th. To see his Emergency Order, click HERE.

 

Following a request by Governor Scott, and approval by FEMA, families in the following counties are now eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance:

  • Bay
  • Franklin
  • Gulf
  • Leon
  • Taylor
  • Wakulla
  • Calhoun
  • Liberty
  • Jackson
  • Gadsden
  • Holmes
  • Washington

 

Governor Scott’s request for Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) has been approved for Bay County, meaning that FEMA will be providing more options for places for families to stay, including hotel rooms. Following Governor Scott’s request, FEMA has approved enhanced flexibility for TSA in Bay County that will open availability for families in this program to stay in condos and other rentals. For more information and to apply for FEMA’s TSA program, visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

 

STATE PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS

 

FOOD AND WATER

  • The state is working to ensure adequate food resources are available for Florida residents impacted by Hurricane Michael. Specific activities include the following:
    • Law enforcement escorts have been arranged to expedite food and water resources.
    • Approximately 10 million meals are being or have been distributed.
    • Approximately 3 million gallons of water are being or have been distributed.
    • Approximately 3 million pounds of ice are being or have been distributed.
    • Emergency Supply Distribution Centers, or Points of Distribution (POD), are places where the public can pick up emergency supplies following a disaster. These sites have food, water, and other critical supplies. Click HERE for a complete map of POD locations.

 

FUEL

  • There are no reported widespread fuel shortages.
  • Florida SERT made first responder fueling depots available to utility crews across the Panhandle. This helps ensure that utility restoration trucks have the fuel they need so they can restore power faster.
  • Approximately 700,000 gallons of fuel is staged to be distributed at fueling stations to support restoration efforts in the impacted areas.
  • There are currently 108 fueling trucks being used to distribute fuel.
  • To find the latest information on gas stations that have fuel and power in the impacted area, Gas Buddy is providing up to date information here – https://tracker.gasbuddy.com/.

 

COMMUNICATIONS

  • Governor Scott laid out his expectations for telecommunications companies that are experiencing prolonged service outages in the areas impacted by Hurricane Michael. See the Governor’s press release HERE.
  • Industry personnel are working to restore cell service and communications in the impacted areas.
  • Comcast has sent the Xfinity “WiFi on Wheels” or “WoW” van to the Panama City area to provide free wireless internet service so residents and emergency personnel can stay connected.
  • Comcast announced that it is suspending billing from Oct. 10 forward, suspending late and missing payment fees, as well as missing equipment fees, and replacing damaged and missing equipment for free.
    • Comcast will also be providing account credit for Xfinity Mobile customers with outstanding balances for next three months. More information is available at: https://florida.comcast.com
  • Communications support packages have been dispatched through the Commercial Service Providers and Florida National Guard to Holmes, Liberty, Jackson, Gadsden, Calhoun, Gulf, Franklin and Washington counties.
  • At the direction of Governor Scott, Florida Highway Patrol escorted cellular service provider crews to the affected areas. See the video HERE.

 

POWER RESTORATION

  • Florida SERT made first responder fueling depots available to utility crews across the Panhandle. This helps ensure that utility restoration trucks have the fuel they need so they can restore power faster.
  • Following Governor Scott’s offer to each utility in Florida of additional push crews to augment the ability of power restoration workers, five utilities have drawn down push crews. Push crews will go in advance of utility crews and clear their paths so the utilities can focus solely on getting power restored. There are currently 25 push crews working in impacted areas.
  • Governor Scott directed the Florida Department of Transportation to organize, lead and mobilize push crews to expedite power restoration.
  • Generators have been mobilized to impacted counties to bring traffic lights online, which will alleviate the need for law enforcement to direct traffic.
  • Governor Scott also requested assistance from Manny Miranda, Florida Power and Light’s Senior Vice President of Power Delivery, to advise and assist the state’s power restoration efforts.
  • To view the full list of Florida utilities with mutual aid agreements in place, click HERE.
  • The current power outage as of 12 p.m. is 82,079, down from approximately 400,000 after the storm.

 

SHELTERS

 

MILITARY SUPPORT

  • At Governor Scott’s direction, the Florida National Guard has authorized the activation of up to 4,000 Soldiers and Airmen to assist with response efforts.
  • Following Governor Scott’s visit to Tyndall Airforce Base (AFB) on October 18th, he sent a letter to President Trump requesting that he direct immediate action to dedicate resources, manpower and funding to return Tyndall AFB to full operations as soon as possible. To see the letter, click HERE.
  • Joint Task Force – Florida (JTF-FL) has been tasked with a total of 327 missions to date, and is currently executing missions in support of Florida Division of Emergency Management Hurricane Michael relief efforts.
  • In the past 24 hours, elements of JTF-FL have supported various missions including (but not limited to):
    • Ongoing support of 24 security missions in support of local law enforcement agencies in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf counties.
    • Providing communications support packages to four counties (Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, and Jackson).
    • Supporting nine Points of Distribution (PODs) throughout three counties (Bay, Calhoun, Jackson) with 136 personnel.
    • Operating at the State Logistics Readiness Center in Orlando and two Logistics Staging Areas in Tallahassee and Marianna to ensure that supplies quickly get to those who need them.
    • Staffing a total of six shelter missions in Bay and Calhoun counties.
    • Delivering approximately 96 pallets of food, 140 pallets of water, and 540 tarps.

 

LAW ENFORCEMENT

  • More than 1,830 law enforcement officers have been deployed to impacted areas in the Panhandle and Big Bend. These officers have completed 293 missions.
  • Approximately 150 officers and ten support staff, with appropriate equipment assets, continue to work recovery efforts in the panhandle.
  • FWC officers will continue performing search and rescue, welfare checks, reconnaissance, public safety missions and assisting with debris removal. They are providing aid to areas of greatest need in Mexico Beach, Panama City, Marianna, Blountstown, Port St. Joe, Alligator Point and other areas that were severely affected by Hurricane Michael.
  • Officers proactively patrolled neighborhoods in the areas of Marianna, Grand Ridge, Two Egg, Greenwood and Sneads.
  • FWC response teams have transitioned to 12-hour Alpha/Bravo shifts to provide 24-hour coverage in the affected areas.
  • Seven members of FWC’s Special Operations Group continue working with the Florida Fire Service USAR teams to create highly specialized urban search and rescue units.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol has activated 12-hour shifts for field troops throughout Florida’s Panhandle and Big Bend. This activation will result in regular days off being cancelled and 24-hour enhanced coverage.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol has 576 state troopers assigned to the Panhandle and Big Bend area of Florida to assist with response and recovery. The Florida Highway Patrol has assisted with emergency management missions all across the Panhandle including the cities of Callaway, Lynn Haven, Panama City, Wewahitchka, Mexico Beach, Port St. Joe, Cape San Blas, Indian Pass, Apalachicola, St. George Island, St. Teresa, Carrabelle, Alligator Point, Marianna, Bristol, Altha, Blountstown, Tallahassee, Perry, Panacea, Crawfordville, Shell Point, Hosford, Quincy, Gretna, Chattahoochee, and Midway.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol has completed 138 missions and has 43 active missions.
    • The Florida Highway Patrol is providing security escorts to utility crews and the Florida National Guard route clearance teams.
    • The Florida Highway Patrol is providing security escorts to essential commodity convoys into Bay County to include 40-day shift and 40-night shift troopers and supervisors.
    • The Florida Highway Patrol is deploying multiple MRAPs (high clearance recovery vehicles) to perform search and rescue missions and clear roadways in impacted areas.
    • The Florida Highway Patrol has 3 chainsaw crews throughout the affected areas clearing roadways and freeing driveways of large trees.
    • The Florida Highway Patrol is supplementing local law enforcement agency efforts with increased patrol of damaged areas.
    • The Florida Highway Patrol is providing traffic control and security at points of deliveries (PODs) for essential commodities.
    • The Florida Highway Patrol sent 8 troopers to Mexico Beach and distributed ice and water to the residents and workers.
    • The Florida Highway Patrol has relocated its forward operating post command to Panama City Beach.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol currently has 24/7 representation within the State Emergency Operations Center coordinating preparation, response and recovery efforts. The Florida Highway Patrol is also staffing numerous County Emergency Operations Centers.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol will maintain high visibility on Interstate-10 and other roadways to assist motorists, clear roadways and will routinely check rest areas to assist residents and visitors.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol has deployed an aircraft with live streaming capabilities to assess response and recovery needs.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol has deployed two small unmanned aerial vehicles with livestreaming capabilities to assess road and bridge response and recovery needs, as well as search and rescue missions.
  • DHSMV’s Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobiles will continue to be in Bay, Franklin, Jackson and Liberty counties to offer driver license and motor vehicle services next week.
  • DHSMV’s Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobiles are finalizing logistics to deploy a unit to Gulf County to assist customers impacted by the storm. Locations and hours of operation will be released as soon as they are available.
  • Since Tuesday, October 16, DHSMV FLOW mobiles have served nearly 700 customers seeking driver license, ID or motor vehicle services in the impacted areas.
  • FDLE’s Mutual Aid Team is coordinating more than 550 law enforcement missions assisting local agencies after the storm with search and rescue, patrols and traffic enforcement.
  • 12 FDLE deployment teams are assisting local law enforcement in Bay, Gulf, Liberty, Washington, Calhoun and Jackson Counties. These teams are working missions like patrol and welfare checks.
  • The State Law Enforcement Radio System is now fully operational and mobile towers are no longer needed. FDLE continues to coordinate with the radio vendor and local agencies to restore local law enforcement radio systems. Mobile or temporary towers are working where permanent towers are not yet operational.
  • 24 members of the Bureau of Law Enforcement in the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s (DBPR) Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco are actively supporting emergency response missions to provide supplemental security services as directed by the State Emergency Response Team in impacted counties.
  • The Department of Management Services (DMS) opened a 1,000-person base camp at the Tallahassee Regional Airport for utility workers and first responders. The department’s telecommunications providers will be supporting base camps throughout the impacted region.

 

SAFETY AND SECURITY

  • More than 1,200 search and rescue personnel have deployed to the impacted areas. Including:
  • Six water tender strike teams, fire engine water tankers;
  • Three Ambulance Strike Teams;
  • Eight EOC fire liaisons to support EOC’s impacted areas;
  • 11 fire engine strike teams with 60 fire engines and more than 250 firefighters;
  • Three Florida Fire Forest Service Incident Management Teams;
  • 42 TERT (Dispatchers);
  • One EVT (Vehicle Maintenance) team with three people; and
  • Nearly 300 ambulances with nearly 600 staff.

 

TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS

  • Portable generators were distributed to provide standby power to critical roadway intersections.
  • Inspection teams were deployed to review roads and bridges to ensure safety for travel. All state bridges have been inspected.
  • FDOT has suspended all construction operations from the roadways in the counties under the state of emergency.
  • FDOT issued Weigh Station Bypass letter to allow emergency response vehicles such as utility vehicles and bucket trucks to bypass all FDOT weigh stations.
  • FDOT is coordinating with utility companies to coordinate post storm clean-up activities.
  • FDOT is coordinating with the Florida Highway Patrol on bridge and roadway closures and detours.
  • FL 511 includes a listing of closed state roadways and bridges at fl511.com. This listing continues to be updated as additional state roads are inspected, opened, or closed and includes updated detour routes.
  • U.S. 98 has reopened.
  • FDOT is in the process of repairing and restoring damaged traffic signals in Bay County and the surrounding area.

 

RECOVERY BRANCH

  • An aggressive recovery effort is ongoing, working with FEMA to identify and activate federal grant programs that can benefit Floridians and their communities.
  • To date, FEMA has approved nearly $20 million in Individual Assistance.

 

PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL

  • Governor Scott requested the activation of the federal Emergency Prescription Assistance Program, administered jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to help families without health insurance impacted by Hurricane Michael receive prescription medications. See the press release HERE.
  • Florida continues to communicate and monitor pharmacies in the affected areas and work to restore services with as little disruption to citizens as possible. Currently there are 54 pharmacy locations open and dispensing medication in the following counties: Bay, Calhoun, Gadsden, Gulf, Franklin, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington.
    • To find an open pharmacy, go to RxOpen.org, which maps open and closed pharmacies during disasters. The site also has locations of American Red Cross shelters and infusion centers in the affected communities.
    • For those with a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, medicare.gov recommends contacting the plan to find the nearest network pharmacy that is open. If one is unavailable, the plan can connect evacuees with an out-of-network pharmacy. Call your plan for more details and instructions. To find your plan’s phone number, call 800-MEDICARE.
  • At the direction of Governor Scott, AHCA Secretary Justin Senior sent a letter to Florida Healthy Kids requesting a waiver of premiums for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and full pay enrollees premiums for the months of November, December and January. See the letter HERE. The Florida Healthy Kids Board voted to waive the monthly premiums for November, December and January. This step assists the families of 5,604 enrolled children living in the impacted areas.
  • Facilities can report their evacuation status to the Agency through the Emergency Status System. An updated evacuation report can be found on the AHCA twitter page: https://twitter.com/AHCA_FL.
  • AHCA has activated the Emergency Status System (ESS) for health care facilities in the panhandle to continue to report their ongoing status including generators and utility company information, emergency contacts, and bed availability.
  • All nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required to keep residents in a safe environment in an emergency to ensure the protection of resident health, safety, welfare, and comfort.
    • Facilities are required to have a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan approved and on file with the local emergency management agencies.
    • Nursing facilities all have back-up power that can power medical equipment and refrigeration for medicine and food.
    • Additionally, facilities are required to have an emergency power plan in place to ensure that resident occupied area temperatures do not exceed 81 degrees. These plans include onsite generators, delivered generators, or shifting populations to locations that can maintain comfortable temperatures.
    • As part of licensure, facilities are responsible for the health and safety of their patients.
    • The State is here to serve as a resource to connect facilities to the local emergency management officials to make sure needs are being met.
  • For the comfort of the those impacted by Hurricane Michael, the state has deployed 39 shower stations, 60 cooling stations, 67 portable toilets and two laundry stations.
  • At the request of FDOH and as part of the Multi-Agency Discharge Planning Team, DOEA staff is assisting with non-medical discharge planning for evacuees at local hospitals in order to establish action plans for the patients to ensure that they have community resources, housing assistance (if necessary), and other support before they return to their cities and homes.
  • DOEA has deployed staff from their Pensacola and Tallahassee CARES Bureau offices to assist at Special Needs Shelters both in Tallahassee and other storm-affected counties. Most CARES staff are RNs, and they are helping with special needs and discharge planning of seniors and others at the Special Needs Shelters.
  • DOEA’s ombudsmen with the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) have been visiting long-term care residents who were evacuated out of the storm’s path and have since returned in order to assess any unmet needs and offer assistance. They are also visiting those who are still evacuated and residing temporarily in other long-term care facilities.
  • DOEA is prepared to provide staff for the Disaster Recover Center needs and stands ready to deploy and assist.
  • AHCA in coordination with DOH is in contact with hospitals and other health care facilities within the area of operations to determine operational status and resource needs.
  • DOH is monitoring and supporting Special Needs Shelter operations through census reporting and resource support as requested by local emergency operations. Special Needs Shelter populations are decreasing slightly in the affected areas due to a return to normal operations. One Special Needs Shelter remains open in Pasco County (Pasco is a state consolidated Special Need Shelter).
  • 279 ambulances and 73 paratransit vehicles are in the area of operations to assist with rescue operations, health care facility evaluations, local EMS augmentation and patient movement.
  • A hospital augmentation team from the International Medical Corp has been activated including 50 nurses, two hospital emergency department teams and one hospital augmentation team is supporting one area hospital. Four Disaster Medical Assistance Teams are supporting four area hospitals. Hospital locations include: Panama City (Bay County), Blountstown (Bay County), and Fort Walton Beach (Okaloosa County).
  • There are currently 26 Active Boil Water Notices: Bay (6), Calhoun (1), Franklin (2), Gadsden (2), Gulf (4), Hillsborough (1), Jackson (5), Leon (2), Liberty (1) and Washington (2). To view boil water notices in your area, please visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/drinking-water/boil-water-notices.html.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced steps taken to support Florida in response to Hurricane Michael, including:
    • Temporarily waiving or modifying certain Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP requirements,
    • Making special enrollment periods available for certain individuals seeking health plans offered through the Florida Health Insurance Exchange,
    • Helping patients obtain access to life-saving services such as dialysis.
  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) is in constant contact with partners, waiver support coordinators, and providers which are continuing to check on APD customers impacted by Hurricane Michael to ensure their needs are being met.
  • APD is sharing its online Recovery Toolkit on the APD website at apdcares.org/news/toolkit.htm. It contains many vital resources for storm recovery.
  • APD and community partners are addressing needs at Sunland Center in Marianna. Florida Public Utilities has restored power to 100 percent of the Sunland campus.
  • The Tide Loads of Hope laundry truck is being used at the APD Developmental Disabilities Defendant Program in Chattahoochee for washing clothing for both staff and residents.
  • APD’s William J. Rish Recreational Park in Gulf County remains closed.
  • Residents and staff at the Clifford C. Sims State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Panama City are doing well and continuing to receive medical care and food and water. Gulf Power has restored main utility power to the Home.
  • The veterans’ home is not accepting new admissions at this time. For more information, call 850-487-1533.
  • VA Outpatient Clinics in Panama City Beach and Marianna are open with expanding service to area veterans. A Mobile Vet Center is also open in the parking lot of the Marianna VA Outpatient Clinic. Bay County Veteran Service Office closed due to damage. Jackson County Veteran Service Office will reopen on Monday, Oct. 22. Contact information for each county office can be found online at http://floridavets.org/locations/
  • Disaster Recovery Centers are planned in the impacted areas and FDVA Field Services Staff will provide information on local veterans’ services once operational.
  • DCF has ordered an early release of food assistance benefits for those Florida residents in the 35 counties included in Governor Scott’s pre-landfall emergency order who would have received normal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits between now and October 28th.
    • DCF also waived restrictions on purchasing hot prepared food with SNAP benefits through October 31 statewide to assist customers who evacuated to another area or suffered storm damage to their home.
  • DCF is providing additional SNAP benefits for customers in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla and Washington counties. These benefits are now in the customer’s accounts and accessible on their EBT cards. For more information, click HERE.
  • DCF is in the process of determining D-SNAP site locations for individuals who live in counties that have been approved for individual assistance.  Once sites have been identified and secured they will be open for service to the public.
  • A team from FEMA including experts from Homeland Security, the EPA, the Department of Defense, Health and Human Services, and the Army Corps of Engineers is now in Florida and providing federal assistance.


ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

  • The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has conducted post-storm assessments on high priority facilities. Two emergency final orders have been issued to ensure recovery efforts are not hampered or delayed.
  • At DEP’s request, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has waived certain federal requirements related to fuel use and distribution so Florida’s recovery efforts are not hampered by supply disruptions.
  • DEP has completed 132 requests and is assisting with 47 additional requests for assistance submitted through Florida’s Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (FlaWARN) in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla and Washington counties, and has made outreach calls to 3,379 facilities to assess needs.
  • In collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a mobile sampling lab has been deployed to Bay County to fulfill water sampling needs.
  • Drinking water and wastewater crews completed on site spot assessments and are conducting field work in the impacted areas.
  • An online tool for the public to report the location of storm debris in waterways has been deployed; and 503 reports of debris have been received.
  • 235 Disaster Debris Management Sites have been pre-authorized for the counties addressed by the Governor’s Executive Order, with an additional 78 emergency sites approved in impacted areas.
  • Florida State Parks strike teams are on site to clear debris and assist individuals in impacted state parks. 58 state parks have re-opened. Current Florida State Park closures can be found at https://www.floridastateparks.org/StormUpdates.
  • DEP’s Florida Park Service has opened areas to dry camp for self-contained rigs – usually parking lots without utility connections – at some state parks for evacuees on a first come, first served basis with waived overnight fees. A list of open parks and contact information to check for availability can be found at https://www.floridastateparks.org/get-involved/storm-assistance.

 

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY    

  • The Florida SBDC Network and the U.S. Small Business Administration have opened Business Recovery Centers (BRCs) to assist small businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael. Small businesses can get assistance applying for state and federal business disaster loans. BRCs are now open: Bay County (CareerSource Bay County City Job Center 625 Highway 231, Panama City, FL 32405. Monday – Saturday 9 am to 6 pm); Franklin County (Franklin County Public Library 311 St. James Ave. Carrabelle, FL 32322. Monday – Friday 9 am to 6 pm. Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm); Taylor County (Super-Pufft Snacks 700 W Lance Drive Perry, FL 32348. Monday – Saturday 9 am to 6 pm); Wakulla County (Wakulla County Community Center 322 Shadeville Highway Crawfordville, Florida 32327. Monday – Saturday 9 am – 6 pm). Liberty County (Veteran Memorial Civic Center – Veteran Memorial Railroad ORG 10561 NW Theo Jacobs Way Bristol, FL 32321.Monday-Saturday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm)
  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is working with the Capital Area Action Agency to allow them to repurpose some of the FEMA surplus trailers that are not currently needed for Eastpoint residents as a temporary housing solution for Franklin County residents who have been impacted by Hurricane Michael.
  • DEO has begun to pull zoning maps for the impacted areas to assist in identifying temporary housing solutions.
  • Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida has been awarded federal National Dislocated Worker Grants to provide temporary employment to Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael. This program is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and provides disaster relief employment in the form of temporary jobs that support storm response and recovery efforts. See the Governor’s press release HERE.
  • Executive Director Cissy Proctor and members of the DEO Leadership Team are meeting with area businesses and CareerSource in Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla counties this week.
  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, CareerSource North Florida, CareerSource Northeast Florida and CareerSource Okaloosa-Walton have provided mobile units with staff and resources, including laptops, satellite phones, and other supplies to allow CareerSource partners in the panhandle to begin assisting jobseekers and businesses as a part of the recovery efforts.
  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has made the Disaster Reemployment Assistance program available for Florida businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Michael. To file a DUA claim go to www.FloridaJobs.org or call 1-800-385-3920. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to assist claimants.
  • DEO has launched the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide short-term, interest-free loans to affects businesses at www.floridadisasterloan.org.
  • Disaster cleanup and other related job openings are now available at http://disasterrecovery.employflorida.com for businesses to post job openings and for individuals to find job opportunities.
  • DEO has opened the Business Damage Assessment Survey for businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael. Businesses with damage should complete the survey at https://www.floridadisaster.biz/BusinessDamageAssessments.
  • Businesses can also visit FloridaDisaster.biz to view tips for assessing storm damage and to register to receive updates on storm recovery.
  • To help residents and emergency personnel stay connected following the storm, Comcast is opening its network of more than 8,000 Xfinity WiFi hotspots throughout the Florida Panhandle, including Tallahassee, Panama City, Panama City Beach and surrounding areas and the Dothan, Alabama area, to anyone to use for free, including non-Xfinity customers.
  • The state has opened the Private Sector Hotline at 850-815-4925. The hotline is available for business inquiries about the storm, preparedness information and post-impact information.
  • VISIT FLORIDA has activated the Expedia/VISIT FLORIDA Hotel Accommodation Web Portal to support evacuation orders and first responders. Visit www.expedia.com/florida to find available hotel rooms.
  • VISIT FLORIDA, in consultation with its Executive Committee, has finalized a post Hurricane Michael recovery marketing plan. This plan will include support for the impacted communities and protect travel to the unaffected areas of the state.
  • Airbnb Open Homes is now active in Alabama, Florida and Georgia in response to Hurricane Michael. Visit www.airbnb.com/HurricaneMichael for open homes.
  • The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association provided thousands of meals to first responders, volunteers and residents in Calhoun, Gadsden, Leon, Liberty and Jackson counties, and well as clean linens to a shelter in Panama City.
  • The Florida Retail Federation and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association continue to share disaster recovery information with their business affiliates.
  • Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) offers a Hurricane Guide with information about recovery, and helpful hurricane-related resources. DBPR has shared the Guide on social media and it is available at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/documents/HurricaneGuide_web.pdf.
  • DBPR Division of Regulation investigators continue to perform preliminary damage assessments. In addition, investigators are posting signs warning those in impacted areas that unlicensed construction contracting is a felony during a declared state of emergency.
  • The DBPR Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, pursuant to the Emergency Order of the Secretary (10.09.2018), has suspended deadlines through October 31, 2018 for filing monthly reports and returns required of licenses subject to monthly reporting requirements in Florida’s beverage and tobacco laws. The Division is assisting impacted alcoholic beverage manufacturers and distributors with procedures for claiming an excise tax deduction relating to the extraordinary loss of product inventory at licensed premises severely impacted by Hurricane Michael.
  • Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) Executive Director Leon Biegalski announced extended due dates for corporate income tax filers impacted by Hurricane Michael following the recent declaration from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Eligible taxpayers that file Florida corporate income tax returns, as well as Florida corporate income tax installment payments, with original due dates or extended due dates between October 7, 2018 and February 28, 2019 will now have a due date of March 15, 2019. Eligibility is based on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declaration of designated counties receiving individual assistance.
  • In addition, DOR Executive Director Biegalski issued an emergency order to extend certain filing due dates for Florida businesses located in counties impacted by Hurricane Michael. The order extends the September and October 2018 reporting period due date for returns, reports, and payments for sales and use tax, tourist development tax, reemployment tax, fuel tax and several other tax types to Dec. 7, 2018. For more information, please visit http://floridarevenue.com/Pages/media.aspx.
  • DOR has posted a webpage for customers regarding DOR-specific Hurricane Michael updates. To view the webpage, please visit http://floridarevenue.com/Pages/hurricanemichael.aspx.

 

EDUCATION

  • The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) is focused on restoring critical education-related infrastructure, monitoring for unmet needs and assisting districts and state colleges in securing necessary supplies.
  • Commissioner Stewart sent a message to superintendents whose districts have not yet reopened. The message asked them to tell the Department what they need to reopen and to send to the Commissioner their plans  for reopening by the end of the day Sunday, October 21, 2018.
  • The Department issued guidance to school districts affected by Hurricane Michael regarding student services, including Homeless Student Identification, Immunization Verification, Educational Placement, Exceptional Student Education, and Student and Teacher Support. The guidance document is posted HERE.
  • FDOE issued a memo to superintendents in impacted areas to provide additional flexibility related to student reporting. The memo is posted online HERE.
  • Many schools in impacted areas, as well as Chipola College and Gulf Coast State College, are without power. FDOE is coordinating with the associated power companies to ensure power is restored to these essential buildings as quickly and safely possible.
  • The following school districts have announced closures:
    • Bay will reopen no later than the week of November 12.
    • Calhoun will reopen Monday, October 29, for staff and Thursday, November 1, for students.
    • Franklin will reopen Monday, October 22, for staff and Tuesday, October 23, for students.
    • Gadsden will reopen Monday, October 22.
    • Gulf reopened Friday, October 19, for staff and will reopen Tuesday, October 23, for students.
    • Holmes will reopen Monday, October 22.
    • Jackson will reopen Friday, October 26, for staff and Monday, October 29, for students.
    • Liberty plans to reopen Wednesday, October 24, for staff and Monday, October 29, for students.
    • Washington will reopen Tuesday, October 23, for teachers and Wednesday, October 24, for students.
  • The following state colleges and universities have announced closures:
    • Chipola College will reopen Monday, October 22.
    • Florida State University’s Panama City Campus will be closed until further notice.
    • Gulf Coast State College will be closed until further notice.
  • The Division of Blind Services (DBS) and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) offices listed below are closed until further notice. In the meantime, DBS clients are being directed to the Pensacola office (600 University Office Boulevard), and VR staff has provided clients in impacted areas alternative contact information to receive services.
    • Bay (DVR & DBS): 2505 West 15th Street, Panama City
    • Gadsden (DVR): 305 West Crawford Street, Quincy
    • Jackson (DVR): 4743B Highway 90 East, Marianna
  • Many district schools are still operating shelters; for a list of Florida shelters, visit https://www.floridadisaster.org/planprepare/shelters/.
  • FDOE will be posting up-to-date information regarding closures and meeting cancellations at www.fldoe.org/hurricaneinfo.

 

INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES

  • At the direction of Governor Scott, Insurance Commissioner David 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
  • Freezes efforts to increase rates on policyholders for 90 days. A copy of the Order can be found here.
  • OIR has ordered property insurers to submit claims information from Hurricane Michael on a daily basis until Friday, October 26. Additional data calls will be scheduled.
  • Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and CFO Jimmy Patronis conducted a conference call with representatives of various insurance companies that have policies in force within the regions forecasted to be impacted by Hurricane Michael to ensure those companies:
  • Have resources positioned and available to respond to consumers’ needs
  • Assess damage and pay claims quickly
  • Report any challenges or issues as quickly as possible
  • Report claims to the OIR on time and in accordance with the reporting schedule that will be issued later today
  • OIR’s Incident Management Team remains fully activated. OIR team members will be actively working throughout the recovery phase with consumer advocates, industry stakeholders and entities licensed under OIR’s regulatory authority.
  • In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 18-276 and 18-277, OIR has
  • Notified all health insurers, managed care organizations and other health entities of their statutory obligation to allow for early prescription refills during a state of emergency.
      • Health Insurers
      • AHCA
      • DOH
      • FL Pharmacy Assoc.
  • The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Consumer Services has resources for consumers seeking assistance with the claims-filing process or to file insurance complaints HERE.
  • Following Hurricane Michael’s devastation to the Florida panhandle, Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis deployed emergency insurance villages in Panama City and Tallahassee to assist residents with the insurance claims process. Details for both locations can be found below:
    • Panama City
      • Where: Regal Cinemas parking lot located at 1515 W 23rd St, Panama City, FL 32405.
      • When: Tuesday, October 16 to Friday, October 19 (WILL BE ADJUSTED AS NEEDED) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT
    • Tallahassee
      • Where: Heritage Plaza 2810 Sharer Road Tallahassee, FL 32312
      • When: Thursday, October 18 and Friday, October 19 (WILL BE ADJUSTED AS NEEDED) 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., EST
  • For information on financial services providers, see below:
    • For a list of Florida’s state-chartered 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 Michael resources HERE.

 

STATE OFFICE CLOSURES

  • DMS will stay in contact with all state offices in the impacted areas.
  • Open Enrollment is open. State employees can login to People First to begin making benefit choices.
  • E4Health, the employee assistance program for state employees, is providing counseling support for critical incidents in the impacted area. For critical incident responses or formal referrals, call the E4 Management Resource Consultation team at 877-267-1585.
  • Aetna, one of the providers for the State Group Insurance Program, is providing teledoc services in Bay, Gulf, Jackson, and Washington counties for non-emergency issues. The service is free to state group Insurance members and dependents.  The phone number to access this service is 855-764-1727, or visit   teladoc.com/Michael.

 

VOLUNTEER EFFORTS

  • Volunteer Florida is continuing to work with more than 8,843 registered volunteers to connect them with volunteer opportunities.
  • Volunteer Florida’s 38 Florida Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) partners are still engaged in response and recovery activities.
  • Tarps from FEMA have been sent to logistical staging areas (LSAs) throughout the Florida Panhandle, and Volunteer Florida is coordinating with Florida VOAD partners to pick them up and help with tarping. So far, Florida Baptist Disaster Relief, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Mennonite Disaster Services, Hearts and Hands Disaster Recovery, Team Rubicon and Goodwill have helped install thousands of tarps.
  • A Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is in Leon County helping with volunteer basecamp operations assisting with logistics at the State Emergency Operations Center. Two other CERT team are beginning preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) in Gadsden County. The remaining CERT teams throughout the state are on standby, prepared to mobilize upon Volunteer Florida’s direction.
  • Volunteer Florida is coordinating a 100-person team of AmeriCorps members that have arrived in Tallahassee to begin reconnaissance to identify work sites in the affected areas throughout the Panhandle. This will include sawyer crews as well.
  • Volunteer Florida has been coordinating with Mass Care (ESF-6) to reach out to individuals on the Living List. So far, 21 volunteers have come to the call center in Tallahassee to make phone calls to survivors.
  • Volunteer Florida’s partner, Crisis Cleanup, is coordinating voluntary organizations to respond to requests submitted by individuals, as not to duplicate efforts. So far, these organizations have responded to more than 5,378 requests. To submit a request, individuals can call (800) 451-1954.
  • Volunteer Florida is coordinating with volunteers in affected areas to begin passing out informational cards with instructions for registering as a volunteer, submitting Crisis Cleanup requests and signing up for FEMA assistance.
  • Volunteer Florida is working with corporate donors to help establish comfort centers at nine shelters throughout the Florida Panhandle. This will include bringing games and other activities to the shelters to entertain children and help them feel safe during the displacement period.
  • The DMS Division of Real Estate Development and Management secured a lease for a 100,000-square foot warehouse in Tallahassee for Volunteer Florida to use as a distribution site for hurricane relief items. Americorps teams assisted in preparing the warehouse for opening.
  • Adventist Community Services are moving tools, supplies, and equipment into the warehouse today in preparation for opening tomorrow. The warehouse will be used to accept and sort trucks of donations that are coming into the Panhandle.
  • At Governor Scott’s direction, Volunteer Florida has activated the Florida Disaster Fund, the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster. In partnership with the public sector, private sector and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities. To donate, visit, www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text “DISASTER” to 20222 to make a one-time donation of $10.
  • The Salvation Army is working closely with state and local emergency management throughout the Florida Panhandle. Meal numbers have increased as residents are returning to the area to begin cleanup of their homes.
  • The Salvation Army has established Incident Commands in Panama City, Apalachicola, and Tallahassee. The Salvation Army has committed 23 mobile feeding units to the Panama City Incident Command (serving Bay, Holmes, and Washington Counites), nine mobile feeding units to the Apalachicola Incident Command (serving Franklin, Gulf, and Liberty Counties), and 13 mobile feeding units to the Tallahassee Incident Command (serving Calhoun, Gadsden, Jackson, Leon, and Wakulla Counties). Each unit can serve 500-1,500 meals per day.
  • The Salvation Army is partnering with Operation BBQ Relief and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief to provide meals for distribution through mobile feeding units, Therapy Dogs International to support emotional and spiritual care efforts, and Midwest Food Bank to provide food boxes and hygiene kits.
  • The Salvation Army has deployed three Personnel Support Units (one bunkhouse and two travel trailers) to Panama City, as well as shower trailer to Tallahassee to support staff and volunteers that are providing services.
  • As of October 20, The Salvation Army has provided 243,680 meals, 146,426 drinks, 149,084 snacks, 4,704 cases of water, and 19,474 hours of service. Trained personnel have also provided emotional and spiritual care to 17,195 people.
  • As of October 20, The Salvation Army has committed more than $1,800,000 in resources to Hurricane Michael relief efforts.
  • Red Cross has 1,178 disaster relief workers in the affected counties with an additional 99 on the way.

 

STATE EMERGENCY OPERATION CENTER/ CONTACTS

  • The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated at a level one, which is a full-scale, 24-hours-a-day activation.
  • The State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) contact number is 1-800-342-3557.
  • The State Emergency Operations Center Media Line: 850-921-0217.
  • Follow @FLSert or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live updates on Hurricane Michael.
  • Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org/info to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.
  • El número de contacto de la Línea de Información de Asistencia Estatal (SAIL) es 1-800-342-3557.
  • La línea de Prensa del Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia Estatal es: 850-921-0217
  • Siga a @FLSert o @FLGovScott en Twitter para obtener actualizaciones en vivo sobre el Huracán Michael.
  • Visite http://www.floridadisaster.org/info para encontrar información sobre refugios, cierres de carreteras y rutas de evacuación.
  • Para español, busque el ícono de Google en la parte superior de la página, haga clic en el menú desplegable y seleccione español.

 

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