TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for the Tampa Bay area and counties along the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend on Sunday ahead of Hurricane Michael.
A state of emergency gives state and local governments time to prepare, resources and flexibility ahead of a storm.
Track Storm Michael: Spaghetti models, forecast cone and satellite
The pre-landfall declaration request is for 35 Florida counties – Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Columbia, Hamilton, Suwanee, Lafayette, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, Citrus, Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Alachua, Union, Bradford and Baker Counties.
Below are the actions the declaration paves the way for.
- At the direction of Governor Scott, 500 National Guard Troops have been activated to assist with planning, logistics and to prepare for response in impacted areas.
- The Florida National Guard has 5,500 guard members available for deployment if needed.
- The Florida Highway Patrol is actively monitoring the storm and ready to assist with any weather-related missions.
- The Florida Highway Patrol is making preparations for 342 state troopers to activate to 12-hour shifts. The activation would provide 24-hour enhanced coverage across Florida’s Big Bend and Panhandle.
- The Florida Highway Patrol is preparing two Quick Response Force teams comprised of 66 state troopers to deploy with minimal notice to any area of the state of Florida that may need assistance.
- DHSMV’s Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobiles are on standby to respond to impacted areas as soon as the storm passes.
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is actively monitoring Tropical Storm Michael and ready to respond. On standby are 40 officers from outside the projected path ready to deploy if needed. They will respond with a variety of specialized equipment, including shallow draft boats, ATVs, airboats and four wheel drive vehicles.
- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) Mutual Aid team is communicating with law enforcement partners and participating in regular conference calls with the State Emergency Operations Center.
- FDLE has communicated with members and partners in the panhandle to make preparations and be ready to begin response operations tomorrow morning.
TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS
- The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is actively monitoring Tropical Storm Michael. FDOT is preparing crews in anticipation of potential landfall in the Panhandle.
PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL
- The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is in contact with healthcare facilities to ensure they have the resources they need.
- AHCA is in the process of activating the Emergency Status System (ESS) for health care facilities in the panhandle to enter their storm preparedness status including generators and utility company information, emergency contacts, and bed availability.
- The Florida Department of Health is actively monitoring the tropical storm and is in close communication with the Division of Emergency Management’s State Emergency Response Team. A statewide call was conducted on Sunday October 7 to discuss weather conditions and current needs.
- County health departments will coordinate with their local County Emergency Management to ensure preparations are in place for Special Needs Shelters. Call downs will be conducted to persons on Special Needs Registries to ensure plans are in place for potential evacuations.
- County health departments will review their local continuity of operations plans to ensure public health activities and CHD services are not interrupted by the storm.
- County health departments will conduct outreach to healthcare facilities within the county to ensure they are implementing facility level emergency plans.
- With the Governor’s declaration of an emergency, the Department of Elder Affairs will activate the emergency relief measures for the respective Area Agencies on Aging, lead agencies, and local service providers in the projected path of the storm.
- The Area Agencies on Aging will then contact and coordinate levels of activation with their respective county offices of emergency management and begin calls to all local service providers to ensure that the needs of all elders will be addressed before, during, and after the event.
- The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA) operates six skilled nursing facilities and one assisted living facility. All state veterans’ homes are currently operational.
- All Florida State Parks remain open at this time. Parks staff continues to monitor the forecast and will coordinate with state and local emergency managers regarding closure decisions.
- The current condition of the state’s beaches has been assessed, which will expedite post-storm assessments.
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
- The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is encouraging businesses to visit FloridaDisaster.biz and register to receive updates as the storm progresses.
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