Both US&R teams worked tirelessly during Surfside search and rescue efforts


SURFSIDE, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis joined Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces to present them one-time relief checks beginning to be distributed through the ‘Florida’s Heroes’ initiative. This initiative is an opportunity to recognize law enforcement officers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and firefighters in the state of Florida with a one-time relief payment of up to $1,000 as an appreciation of the many selfless sacrifices made throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.


“Florida’s first responders deserve to be recognized and appreciated for their service,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The men and women joining me here today from Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces 1 and 2 are the best of the best. We thank them for their tireless response in Surfside and hope these relief checks express our gratitude for all that they have done in our state.”


“First responders risk their lives daily to save ours,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “Every day, these men and women put on the uniform, leave their families, defy instinct and run into harm’s way to keep our communities safe. I’m proud that our administration is honoring them today by providing bonuses to Florida’s heroes.”


“The members of US&R Task Forces 1 and 2 are heroes,” said Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle. “We are here today to show our appreciation for their work and assist the Governor as he continues to fulfill his commitment to providing relief payments to Florida’s first responders.”


“Thank you to Governor DeSantis, our First Lady Casey DeSantis and Lt. Governor Nuñez for honoring the brave men and women who responded to the tragic condo collapse in Surfside,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson. “These heroic first responders are some of Florida’s finest. They reacted to an unthinkable situation in a moment’s notice and worked tirelessly to not only preserve life, but carry out a month-long recovery mission that made certain no one was left behind. These bonuses are a small token of our appreciation for this incredible effort.”


“When devastation struck, first responders in Surfside heeded the call — real-life heroes working against the clock in an unfathomable search and rescue mission,” said House Speaker Chris Sprowls. “Today we honor their dedication and sacrifice with a token of appreciation for their service to our great state and this community.”


“Since the start of the pandemic, the men and women from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue have worked non-stop to assist with Miami-Dade County’s COVID-19 response,” said Alan Cominsky, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Fire Chief. “From providing medical assistance, conducting COVID testing and providing vaccines to our residents, we have been steadfast in our efforts to assist in our community and will continue to do so. Despite the many challenges they have faced lately, these men and women remain committed and dedicated to their objectives and I could not be more proud.”


“It was an honor and a privilege to work alongside the seven State Task Forces and five FEMA Task Forces that responded to the Surfside building collapse,” said Scott Dean, City of Miami Fire-Rescue Assistant Fire Chief. “Everyone who responded from firefighters, police officers, mental health providers, volunteers, etc. all left something on that site. We will never forget those that lost their lives and the stories they left behind. We will honor them by moving forward and remembering the impact they had on our lives.”


To see the full video from the event, please click HERE. Feel free to use this footage in your broadcasting.


The Department of Economic Opportunity was allocated approximately $208 million to distribute one-time relief payment of up to $1,000 to over 193,000 first responders, including more than 49,000 sworn law enforcement officers, 40,000 EMTs, 35,000 firefighters and 33,000 paramedics across the state. Payments will be issued and mailed to employee mailing addresses provided by the employer.


Employers still have the opportunity to provide the Department of Economic Opportunity with a list of their eligible employees. If employers have questions or need to provide the Department with their employees, please contact DEO directly at




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