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. Governor Scott has surveyed damage from Hurricane Michael in Bay, Gadsden, Washington, Liberty, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Wakulla, Franklin and Jackson counties. Yesterday, the Governor issued Executive Order 18-283 which gives Supervisors of Elections in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Liberty and Washington counties the authority to extend and enhance voting options based on needs and challenges they have identified.

Following Governor Scott’s request, President Donald Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Michael. See the declaration at www.flgov.com. 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, go to  www.flgov.com.  

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, prioritizing based upon need. Specific activities include the following:

Law enforcement escorts have been arranged to expedite food and water resources.

Food and water commodities are being airdropped into the hardest hit counties.

Approximately 7 million meals are being distributed.

Approximately 2 million gallons of water are being distributed.

Approximately 3 million pounds of ice are being 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, or other critical supplies. 

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.

More than 750,000 gallons of fuel is staged to be distributed at fueling stations to support restoration efforts in the impacted areas.

There are currently 133 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.

Any Floridian in the impacted counties should be allowed to switch providers without penalty;

Bills for Floridians in impacted counties that have been without service should be waived for the month of October; and

Telecommunications companies should be open and transparent with Floridians and do so with a clearly communicated plan to quickly restore service.

More than 2,000 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 provide free wireless internet service so residents and emergency personnel can stay connected.

The vehicle is set up at the Lynn Haven Walmart Supercenter at 2101 State Road 77, Lynn Haven, FL 32444. The customized van is outfitted with six WiFi access points, which can provide wireless internet connectivity to approximately 3,000 users over a 500 square foot area.

Comcast announced yesterday 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.

 

POWER RESTORATION

To view the full list of Florida utilities with mutual aid agreements in place.

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. 

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.

Governor Scott visited Tyndall AFB yesterday to aid and assist in their recovery.

In addition to Florida National Guard resources, there are 68 counterparts from other National Guard states and 3 from Title 10. Joint Task Force – Florida (JTF-FL) has been tasked with a total of 318 missions to date, and is currently executing 66 missions in support of Florida Division of Emergency Management Hurricane Michael relief efforts.

To date, JTF-FL has cleared approximately 520 miles of road, cleared 4,538 structures, removed 600 tons of roadway debris, helped with 6 landing zones (3 for civilian medical and supply drop operations and 3 for aerial reconnaissance operations) and flown 38 total missions for a total of nearly 227 total flight hours.

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 200 missions.

A third wave of approximately 150 officers and ten support staff, with appropriate equipment assets, have transitioned into the panhandle area to relieve previous forces of deployed officers and staff assisting with Hurricane Michael recovery efforts.

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 Carrabelle, Mexico Beach, Panama City, Marianna, Blountstown, Port St. Joe, Alligator Point and other areas that were severely affected by Hurricane Michael.

FWC response teams have transitioned to 12-hour Alpha/Bravo shifts to provide 24-hour coverage in the affected areas.

15 members of FWC’s Special Operations Group continue working with the National Guard and 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 632 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.

SAFETY AND SECURITY

There are more than 1,300 search and rescue personnel deploying to the impacted areas. Including:

Six water tender strike teams, fire engine water tankers;

Three Ambulance Strike Teams;

10 EOC fire liaisons to support EOC’s impacted areas;

Two Urban Search and Rescue teams

11 fire engine strike teams with 60 fire engines and more than 250 firefighters;

A Florida Fire Forest Service Incident Management Gold Team;

Two TERT (Dispatchers) teams;

One EVT (Vehicle Maintenance) team with three people;

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.

Governor Scott directed FDOT to suspend tolls effective immediately in the Northwest Florida region. Tolls are suspended at the following facilities: Mid-Bay Bridge and Spence Parkway (Okaloosa County), Garcon Point Bridge (Santa Rosa County), Bob Sikes Toll Bridge (Escambia County), and Orchard Pond Parkway (Leon County).

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.

See all updates at www.FLgov.com

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