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Search and rescue efforts in southwest Florida underway following Hurricane Ian

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Governor’s Office Update Sept. 29, 2022

Since 1:00 a.m., search and rescue operations have been underway in response to Hurricane Ian. Urban Search and Rescue Team 2 was the first on-site and the Coast Guard made dozens of rescues overnight. There are 8 USAR teams with more than 800 team members performing search and rescue. There are currently 42,000 linemen responding to the more than 2 million reported power outages. Floridians should continue to heed local weather warnings and listen to local officials for updated safety information.

Today, President Biden approved Governor DeSantis’ request for a Major Disaster Declaration, which unlocks federal assistance in affected areas for individuals; state, tribal, and local governments; and certain private nonprofit organizations. The Declaration makes federal funding available to governments and eligible nonprofit organizations in the affected areas for debris removal and emergency protective measures on a cost-sharing basis. Specifically, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is authorized to cover 100 percent of eligible costs for a period of 30 days beginning from September 23, 2022. The Governor requested the Declaration immediately upon landfall of Hurricane Ian to ensure that the State can quickly move forward into response and recovery. The letter with this request can be found here. For assistance, visit www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362.

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The Florida Disaster Fund is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to provide financial assistance to our communities as they respond to and recover from times of emergency or disaster. In partnership with public, private, and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities. To contribute, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.
State preparation and response efforts include:

Search and Rescue
Since 1:00 a.m., search and rescue operations have been underway in response to Hurricane Ian. Urban Search and Rescue Team 2 was the first on-site and the Coast Guard made dozens of rescues overnight. There are 8 USAR teams with more than 800 team members performing search and rescue.
The National Guard and the Coast Guard are landing helicopters on barrier islands to perform search and rescue.
Search and Rescue crews rallied at the Fort Myers Sports Complex and have been running operations for the past 5 hours.
Florida National Guard members are conducting incident awareness and assessment missions this morning in Sarasota, De Soto, Charlotte, Collier, and Lee Counties. We expect that throughout the day, the Florida Guard will be engaged in a multitude of missions including search and rescue and route clearance operations.
Last night, Florida National Guard Brig. Gen. Sean Boyette, Task Force Florida commander, was appointed the Dual Status Command (DSC) commander in anticipation of Title 10 active-duty forces being assigned to assist with recovery operations.
Following Governor DeSantis’ authorization, a total of 5,000 Florida Guardsmen have been activated to State Active Duty for Hurricane Ian response operations. Up to 2,000 Guardsmen from neighboring states are also activated to assist.

Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM)
FDEM has compiled a Shelter in Place Survey to provide critical information to first responders in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. We are asking all individuals in the impact area of Hurricane Ian that made the decision to shelter in place to complete the survey. Please visit FloridaDisaster.org/Info to find the Shelter in Place Survey.
FDEM has activated the State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) to provide an additional resource for Floridians to receive up-to-date information regarding Hurricane Ian. Residents and visitors can call this toll-free hotline at 1-800-342-3557.
FDEM Liaisons have been identified and deployed to counties to provide on-site response assistance and to conduct damage assessments after the storm.
At the direction of FDEM Director and State Coordinating Officer Kevin Guthrie, Incident Management Teams (IMT) from Ohio and Colorado are on-scene to ensure additional support for response and recovery efforts after the storm.
FDEM is deploying several hundred shelter support staff to address staffing needs in counties that have opened their Special Needs hurricane shelters. Currently, more than 200 public shelters are open and available to impacted residents, with more than 50 of these being Special Needs Shelters.
FDEM is leading the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) for the Hurricane Ian response, with more than 350 SERT members staffing the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).
FDEM has received more than 1,500 resource requests for Hurricane Ian. Over 1,300 of these requests are currently being processed and are either en route or being mobilized. This includes the coordination of resources such as: trucks of food and water, generators and water pumps.
FDEM has over 3.5 million meals and over 1.8 million gallons of bottled water in preparation for distribution to impacted areas.
Several hundred generators and pumps, in addition to debris equipment, have been staged for response and recovery efforts.
100,000 tarps to protect homes and allow more residents to stay at home rather than in a public shelter.
Two truckloads of blankets and five truckloads of cots to support displaced residents.
FDEM is currently coordinating the provision of meals for first responders staged in Orange County.
FDEM is in constant communication with all 67 county emergency management offices and state agencies to coordinate protective actions and needed resources ahead of potential storm impacts.
There are currently 2.5 million people without power.
More than 1.5 million of those outages are in 7 southwest Florida counties.
For a full report on current outages, click here.
42,000 linemen from utilities across the state are working 24/7 to restore power.
125 Florida Highway Patrol Officers are transporting utility crews into the area.

Health and Human Services
AHCA has activated reporting in the Health Facility Reporting System (HFRS) and is requesting all health care providers report their census, available beds, evacuation status and generator status information. This information allows AHCA to assist health care providers in transferring patients if needed and ensure healthcare providers in impacted areas have the necessary resources and adequate power.
Patient Movement Mission (DOH 4052) is activated. This mission is a combined by AHCA, along with FHA, FHCA, LeadingAge, Florida Senior Living and Florida Assisted Living Associations.
This mission also supports the evacuation of nearly 8,000 patients and residents from more than 180 health care facilities.

Nearly 400 ambulances, paratransit busses, and support vehicles are responding to areas of anticipated landfall.
The Agency sent a Medicaid Provider Alert outlining Key Medicaid Information for Fee-For-Service and Managed Care Providers during Hurricane Ian, this can be found here.
AHCA has activated the Emergency Patient Look-Up System (E-PLUS). Special needs shelters for 16 counties are able to utilize the system to retrieve patient medical records. E-PLUS is also available to assist medical providers and emergency response personnel with locating missing or displaced persons after the storm.

The State Surgeon General has signed a letter to allow staff of the Department and Agency for Health Care Administration to travel past curfews across state lines to conduct any necessary health and safety actions, this can be found here.
AHCA has identified Home Medical Equipment providers that can assist with supplying oxygen supplies to Special Needs Shelters.
The Agency partnered with Florida Health Care Association and Florida Hospital Association to initiate statewide calls with long term care facilities and hospitals.
As of today, 100% of operating long-term care facilities have a generator on-site. The Generator Status Map for long-term care facilities is available here.
Overnight, the state has been monitoring several healthcare facilities on generator power, two healthcare facilities are in the process of evacuating.
400 additional nurses are moving into southwest Florida to assist.
APD regions are providing mutual aid to the impacted regions assisting with communicating to clients, providers, group homes, and employees.
APD is following up with all APD-licensed group homes in the affected areas to ensure all clients are safe.
No storm damage has currently been found at the Tacachale Center in Gainesville.
DOEA service providers around the state are in progress or have completed check-in and informational calls to their senior clients.
Area Agencies on Aging that are expected to be impacted by Hurricane Ian have been distributing shelf-stable meals to their home delivery meal clients.
Area Agencies on Aging in the affected areas are coordinating with other agencies to answer local Elder Helpline calls during power outages (1-800-96-ELDER).
The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System will close the following locations for in-person and procedure appointments:
C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center: Monday, September 26 through Thursday, September 29. This closure extends to the Emergency Department.
North Pinellas and St. Petersburg VA Clinics: Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29.
Sarasota, Bradenton, and Port Charlotte VA Clinics: Wednesday, September 28.
The Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Port Charlotte is operational. Residents, staff and family members who sheltered in the home are safe and well. Hardened structure and roof are intact. The Veterans’ Home is operating on generator power.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced health care facility closures in Florida for Thursday, Sept. 29. For details, visit https://www.floridavets.org/news/.
The State Surgeon General signed Emergency Order 22-004 authorizing licensed health care professionals in good standing from out of state to practice in Florida for the duration of the EO. These professionals include: Physicians, Osteopathic Physicians, Physician Assistants, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, Paramedics, and Emergency Medical Technicians. In addition, the following licensed health care professionals are authorized to practice in Florida via Telehealth: Physicians, Osteopathic Physicians, Physician Assistants, and Advanced Practice Nurses. The EO can be found here.
The State Surgeon General has signed Emergency Order 22-001 waiving statutory procurement requirements to ensure DOH is able to deploy necessary action due to Hurricane Ian. This can be found here.
The State Surgeon General has signed a letter to allow staff of the Department and Agency for Health Care Administration to travel past curfews across state lines to conduct any necessary health and safety actions.
DOH has coordinated with the Office of Insurance Regulation to distribute an alert regarding permitted early prescription refills during a State of Emergency. This alert was sent to health insurers, managed care organizations, health entities, and licensed health care providers. The alert can be found here.
DOH has coordinated with Federal partners to support the deployment of nearly 100 individuals through various health and medical teams. These teams stand ready in Orlando, Atlanta, and Warner Robbins Air Force Base in Georgia.
DOH continues to coordinate across 67 county health departments on any necessary preparation resources, in coordination with county emergency managers.

Most of I-75, outside Charlotte and Lee Counties, is open.
Crews are working to re-open the rest of I-75.
There are several bridges and roads that remain closed.
FDOT has dispatched 100 engineers working in teams of 2 to perform bridge inspections.
FDOT has deployed 1,200 individuals to perform cut-and-toss operations.
FHP is assisting FDOT with bridge closures across impacted areas
Current conditions are highly hazardous. Please stay off the roadways until it is confirmed to be safe for travel.
Turnpike Service Plazas are closed at Fort Drum, Canoe Creek and Turkey Lake.
There are current Major Road and Bridge Closures. The list of closures as of 10 a.m., 9/29/22 is listed below. Up-to-date closures listed on FL511.com:
Brevard County
Richy Road Southbound at US-1
DeSoto County
SR 72 at SR 70
Flagler County
SR-100 Eastbound at N. Central Ave
Hardee County
S.R. 64 East at Parnell Road
Indian River County
Indian River Blvd at Royal Palm Poine
Lee County
Pine Island Road Bridge
Sanibel Causeway
Manatee County
John Ringling Causeway
Bridge at S.R. 64 / Manatee Ave East
Cortez Bridge
Orange County
I-4 Express at Kirkman
I-4 Express at MM 79
SR-551/ Goldenrod Road at Nolton Way
SR-520 at SR 528
Turnpike at Orange Blossom Trail On Ramp
SR 417 Exit 12
Osceola County
Vermont Ave at 13th Street
W Vine St at John Young parkway
Columbia Ave at 13th Street
Pinellas County

Sunshine Skyway Bridge (Reopened as of 12:53 pm) Motorists may cross the span, but are asked to use caution due to debris along the highway shoulders.

Memorial Causeway
Sarasota County
John Ringling Causeway
Sumter County
SR 50 at CR 773
US 301 a CR 470
Volusia County
Ormond Beach – Granada Blvd at Halifax River – all lanes closed
Daytona Beach – Mason Ave at Tower St – both directions, all lanes closed
Daytona Beach – Main St at S. Halifax Ave – both directions, all lanes closed
Daytona Beach – East International Speedway Blvd at North Beach St – both directions, all lanes closed
Daytona Beach – East Orange Ave at South Beach Street – both directions, all lanes closed
Daytona Beach – Lytle Ave at Palmetto St – both directions, all lanes closed
Port Orange – Dunlawton Ave at Halifax Dr – both directions, all lanes closed
Port Orange – Dunlawton Ave at South Peninsula Dr – both directions, all lanes closed
North Causeway at Washington Street
Ports that are currently closed:
o Port of St. Petersburg
o Seaport Manatee
o Port of Fort Pierce
o Port of Palm Beach
o Port Canaveral
o Port Fernandina
o Port of Key West
Ports that are open:
o Port Tampa Bay
o Port Everglades
o PortMiami
o Port of Pensacola
o Port Panama City
o Port St. Joe
Fuel Terminals:
o Port Everglades: Fuel terminals open. One vessel of 25,000 barrels expected today, 13 vessel are in route.
Port Tampa Bay: 7 days of fuel in tanks, expecting trucks to start deliveries today. Waterside deliveries pending Coast Guard and Corps clearance for safe operations.
Port Manatee: Fuel terminal damage assessment currently being conducted. Port roads are clear.
Port Canaveral: Awaiting damage assessment
Current status of airports is listed below. While some facilities have scheduled closures, individual airlines may decide to cease flights earlier. Please go to your airline’s website for re-booking and other flight information.
Daytona Beach International Airport – Closed
Gainesville Regional Airport –Airline operations will be suspended beginning at 6:00am on 09/29/22.
Jacksonville International Airport – The airport terminal is currently closed and all commercial flights are canceled in and out of JAX on 09/29/2022.
Melbourne Orlando International Airport – Closed
Northeast Florida Regional Airport – Emergency Operations Only
North Perry Airport- Closed
Orlando International Airport – Emergency Operations Only. Closed to Commercial Service.
Orlando Sanford International Airport- Emergency Operations Only
Punta Gorda Airport – Closed – Runway clearing in progress
Sarasota Bradenton International Airport- Emergency Operations Only
Southwest Florida International Airport – Closed
St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport – Closed
Tampa International Airport – Closed
Transit and passenger rail is suspended in the following:
o Collier Area Transit (till this afternoon)
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit
o Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
o LeeTran
o Lynx (Central Florida/Orlando)
o Citrus County
o Lake County
o Pasco County
Citrus Connection
Space Coast Area Transit
Palm Tran
o Martin County
o Indian River County
o Gainesville Regional Transit System
o Jacksonville Transportation Authority
o Ride Solution/Putnam
o Nassau County
o St Johns County
o Key West Transit
Service Open:
o Miami-Dade Transit
o Broward County Transit
SunRail suspended

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