WASHINGTON – Four days after Hurricane Michael slammed into Florida and Georgia, skilled responders from the federal, state and local governments, voluntary agencies and the private sector continue to work together to save lives.
Since Michael’s landfall, search and rescue teams from FEMA, the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard and others are working alongside state responders accomplishing more than 58 evacuations, 403 rescues/assists, 3,362 shelter in place checks, and 128 animal assists. Structural assessments were completed on 7,257 structures in Florida.
FEMA has 14 Disaster Survivor Assistance teams in Florida helping survivors register for assistance. More than 19,000 individuals and households have registered for disaster assistance, and are being referred to federal, state or voluntary agencies for disaster assistance.
Florida and Georgia have established 17 Points of Distribution (PODs) to provide meals, water and other items in areas where stores are not open or supplies are limited. Florida residents can find information about PODs by visiting FloridaDisaster.org. Georgia residents can learn more at the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency's website. These points of distribution are further supported by voluntary and faith-based field kitchens and mobile feeding units.
Residents in Alabama, Florida and Georgia should:
- Expect extended power outages. Be aware of blocked roads and avoid walking or driving near downed power lines. Shutoff power, natural gas and propane tanks if you know how and check with utility companies to find out when services may be restored.
- Clean up safely. Return home only if you are told it is safe. Photograph/video damages before you start cleaning up. Contact your insurance company to file a claim.
- Practice food and water safety. Throw out all food left in refrigerators or that came in contact with flood waters. Drinking water may be contaminated so check to see if a boil water order is in effect for your area.
For those outside the immediate impacted area, remember to visit nvoad.org to volunteer your time or donate to a charitable organization of your choice. A cash contribution to a recognized disaster relief organization is the best donation to make.
The Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has made the Disaster Distress Helpline available to assist residents in the impacted area in coping with the stress caused by Hurricane Michael. To connect with a trained crisis counselor, call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (for Spanish, press 2 or text Hablanos to 66746).
Sixteen different states are sending support through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. More than 25 missions are active in both Florida and Georgia with more than 430 people deployed to assist.
More than 35,000 utility workers from 26 states, are working to restore power. In the least accessible areas, companies are performing aerial damage assessments via helicopter and drone to speed recovery work once workers can enter the area.
Other federal, private sector and voluntary organizations response actions include:
FEMA Urban Search and Rescue
- More than 58 evacuations, 48 assists, 3,362 shelter in place checks, 127 animal assists, and 7,257 structural assessments have been completed in Florida.
American Red Cross
- More than 3,000 people stayed overnight in shelters in Florida and Georgia.
- As people are now in shelters, survivors can use the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well site to check in and find missing individuals.
U.S. Department of Defense
- More than 5,000 personnel are engaged in Hurricane Michael response efforts.
- Department assets including 32 helicopters, 6 fixed wing aircraft, 17 swift water vehicles and up to 160 high water vehicles are available to support search and rescue missions.
National Guard Bureau
- National Guard troops in Florida have been assigned to 50 missions that include search & rescue, engineering, route clearance and POD support for 30 locations as well as 12 shelter support missions.
U. S. Coast Guard (USCG)
- USCG working with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, completed 355 assistances/rescues and one animal rescue in Florida.
- Seventeen USCG cutters are positioned to assist with search and rescue efforts.
- Three USCG Damage Assessment Teams and two Reconstruction Teams deployed to assess and repair damaged facilities.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
- The Corps is engaged in seven response programs including providing temporary emergency power in Florida, offering technical assistance on debris removal, route clearance and temporary roofing. USACR has deployed 90 personnel to support response efforts.
- The team assigned to temporary emergency power is prepared to assess and install generators as requested by the state; 85 generators are onsite.
- Two Deployable Tactical Operations System Vehicle are in Florida to assist with communication capabilities and connectivity.
- The Corps is actively monitoring and managing dams within the area impacted by Hurricane Michael to make as much water storage available as possible.
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
- DOE has activated its Energy Response Organization; responders deployed to the Regional Response Coordination Center, and to Florida and Georgia State Emergency Operations Centers.
- DOE is closely monitoring the availability of fuel and temporary power needs across the Southeast.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
- HHS Secretary Azar declared a public health emergency in Florida. The declaration gives the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services beneficiaries and their healthcare providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs.
- HHS has teams of medical personnel from the National Disaster Medical System in Mobile, Ala. and Jacksonville, Fla., along with an Incident Management Team. More than 125 HHS personnel are deployed.
- Five ambulance strike teams are in Florida to assist with patient transport.
Corporation for National and Community Service / AmeriCorps
- Six teams trained in Disaster Survivor Assistance are in Florida assisting survivors.
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
- DOT established a Routing Assistance Hotline to support the movement of federal, state and local personnel, equipment and goods during the response to Hurricane Michael.
- DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics created an interactive web mapping application to provide real-time situational awareness of impact on user-selected transportation infrastructure.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD)
- NPPD stood up its Crisis Action Team (CAT). The CAT provides NPPD with the flexibility to rapidly expand operational focus and support affected cyber and critical infrastructure partners at the state, local, tribal and territorial government levels.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- The FCC is prepared to provide emergency assistance to communications providers and has created a dedicated webpage for information about Michael, including tips for communicating during an emergency.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- EPA is working with the state of Florida to re-establish drinking water systems.
- Additionally, the agency is reviewing the status of Superfund sites and identified priority oil and chemical facilities and site that may require assessment.
U.S. Department of Interior (DOI)
- DOI has 225 teams on the ground conducting debris clearance and infrastructure damage assessments.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- USDA launched a disaster assistance discovery tool through its new website Farmers.gov that provides information about disaster assistance programs offered by the USDA.
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
- National Dislocated Worker Grant (DWG) funding is available to help Florida assess its workforce needs due to significant job losses caused by Hurricane Michael. This funding assists the state and local governments to expand service capacity of dislocated worker training and employment programs.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- NOAA law enforcement has provided a quick response team to the Atlanta staging area to support force protection and site security for urban search and rescue missions.
- Aerial images of the Florida panhandle are available on www.NOAA.gov.
Whole Community Response Efforts
- The Salvation Army mobilized 48 mobile feeding units with a combined service capacity of 72,000 daily meals. The Salvation Army is serving survivors in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia and the Carolinas.
- Operation Barbeque Relief has field kitchens in Tampa and Tallahassee with a total meal capacity of 30,000 meals per day for these two field kitchens.
- Southern Baptist Disaster Relief opened a disaster kitchen which can produce up to 20,000 meals per day. Three more kitchens with an additional 40,000 meals per day capacity are expected to open on October 15.
- Airbnb announced 900 homes have opened to host displaced survivors for free, including 200 in Florida. Airbnb has expanded Open Homes program across Florida and adjacent states.
- Volunteers from community and faith-based organizations are offering services, including temporary sheltering across the impacted region.
FEMA's mission is to help people before, during and after disasters.
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