Gov. Rick Scott Gives Update On Hurricane Irma Response Efforts

By  //  September 14, 2017

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Governor Rick Scott is touring Hurricane Irma damage in Naples with President Donald Trump. (@FLGovScott Image)

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA – Today, Governor Rick Scott is touring Hurricane Irma damage in Naples with President Donald Trump.

This week, Governor Scott has joined FWC officers and members of the Florida National Guard to survey storm damage in Northeast Florida and the Florida Keys.

The Governor will continue to be in constant communication with state and local emergency management officials, city and county leaders, law enforcement and National Guard leaders, and utility officials as Hurricane Irma response continues.



  • Flood warnings are in effect across the state. To see the most current advisories in your county, click HERE.


  • The current power outage as of 12:00 p.m. is more than 2.5 million accounts. For a full breakdown, click HERE. Since the height of power outages, 6.7 million on Monday, power has been restored to more than 4.2 million accounts, which is how utility companies measure each Florida home or business. In less than three days, more than 60 percent of all outages have been restored by more than 30,000 restoration personnel across Florida – the largest power restoration undertaking in history for a single state.
  • Do not try to handle downed power lines. Contact your local utility company to report it.
  • Tampa Electric

o   In total, 425,000 of Tampa Electric’s 730,000 customers were impacted by the storm. At the peak of the storm, 335,000 customers remained without power. Power has already been restored to more than 335,000 customers.

o   Tampa Electric expects to restore power to essentially all customers the night of Sunday, September 17th.

o   About 3,200 line, tree and other workers, from other utilities from as far away as the Midwest, Northeast and Canada, continue to arrive today to assist Tampa Electric, as part of the largest restoration effort in U.S. history.

  • Florida Power and Light

o   In total, 4.4 million customers were impacted by the storm. Power has already been restored to more than 3 million customers.

o   FPL expects power restoration to be completed for the East Coast the night of Sunday, September 17th.

o   FPL expects power restoration to be completed for the West Coast by Friday, September 22nd.

o   FPL has mobilized the largest restoration workforce ever assembled with more than 18,000 out-of-state restoration personnel working around the clock.

  • Duke Energy

o   More than 1 million customers were impacted by the storm. Power has already been restored to more than 824,000 customers.

o   Duke Energy expects power restoration to be completed for western service areas the night of Friday, September 15th.

o   Duke Energy expects power restoration to be completed for central and northern service areas the night of Sunday, September 17th.

o   More than 12,000 restoration workers have been mobilized to quickly restore power to all customers.

  • Gulf Power

o    Gulf Power has fully restored power to the 13,000 customers affected by the storm and has no storm related outages.

o    Gulf Power has a restoration team in route to Tampa to assist with power restoration for Tampa Electric.

  • Florida Electric Cooperatives Assoc.

o    More than 760,000 customers were impacted by the storm. Power has already been restored to more than 580,000 customers.

o    Approximately 3,000 cooperative workers from Florida and nine other states are deploying to the hurricane impact zone to assist with restoration efforts.

  • Municipal Utilities

o    More than 800,000 customers were impacted by the storm. Power has already been restored to about 600,000 customers.

o    Restoration is expected to be completed by the night of Sunday, September 17th, except hardest hit areas, such as Key West, which will take longer to restore.

o    Several utilities such as Tallahassee, Kissimmee and Jacksonville Beach are close to being fully restored. In addition, several smaller utilities like Newberry are already 100% restored.

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  • Port Everglades, Port Canaveral and Port of Tampa are all open and are actively prioritizing fuel tanker ships. The Florida Highway Patrol has 20 troopers dedicated to escorting fuel resupply trucks to communities in need.
  • This week, the Governor took the following actions to expedite fuel delivery to gas stations:
  • Directed the Florida Highway Patrol to escort fuel resupply trucks to gas stations;
  • Scott and executive office staff have held daily calls with all fuel supply stakeholders, including Florida Ports;
  • Following the Governor’s request, Vice President Pence announced that the federal government has waived the Jones Act, which waives additional rules and regulations to allow more fuel to get to Florida fast. This waiver ensures that all options are available to distribute fuel to Florida. The last Jones Act waiver was issued in December 2012, for petroleum products to be delivered for relief assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
  • Following the Governor’s request, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved an emergency fuel waiver which allows more fuel to quickly enter the state. For more information, please click HERE.
  • Requested eleven states to join Florida in waiving weight and driver restrictions to move goods more quickly into the state, including fuel.
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  • More than 200 FWC officers statewide, including partner agencies, are deployed in areas with resources such as trucks, coastal and river patrol boats, ATVs and shallow draft boats to respond to critical areas based on the storm’s path.
  • FWC Special Operations Group (SOG) officers, National Guard members and an Urban Search and Rescue Team continuing rescue operations in the Keys.
  • FWC has more than 500 law enforcement vessels, including trucks, coastal and river patrol boats, ATVs and shallow draft boats, deployed throughout the state including over 25 officers and boats patrolling areas of Putnam and Clay counties surveying damage.
  • FWC has sworn in nearly 200 officers deployed from Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. The 50 officers from Louisiana will be in Lake City to help with flooding issues.
  • The entire Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), approximately 1,700 troopers, is on 12-hour shifts, with the primary mission to assist emergency response.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol has more than 70 troopers who have conducted numerous missions to escort fuel resupply trucks from Port of Jacksonville, Port of Tampa, Port Everglades and Port Canaveral to communities in need.
  • FHP has 50 troopers who have conducted numerous security escorts for utility companies across the state so they may be able to get to damaged areas more expediently.
  • 50 troopers have been deployed to assist the Collier County Sheriff and 20 troopers have been deployed to assist St. Johns County law enforcement.
  • FHP has troopers in Hardee County for traffic control/road closure support, troopers in Orlando to assist with emergency vehicle traffic, troopers in Duval County assisting with traffic control/road closures due to flooding, troopers to provide security at the DHSMV Lauderdale Lakes office and is anticipating numerous other urgent emergency escorts to damaged areas in south Florida.
  • FDLE is coordinating hundreds of law enforcement missions through the state EOC including patrol and escort missions, shelter security and helping staff in the local EOCs in the impacted areas.
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  • There are more than 10,000 soldiers and airmen on the ground, as a combined force of members of the Florida National Guard, partner National Guard states and active duty components, that have conducted hundreds of missions across the state.
  • In addition to Florida National Guard personnel and assets, more than 2,200 Guardsmen from 12 states (Georgia, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Indiana, Nebraska, Kentucky, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Iowa, Mississippi and South Carolina) are currently assisting with Hurricane Irma response operations.  If need arises, the Guard stands ready to bring in more than 20,000 additional personnel through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).
  • Soldiers and Airmen are operating at 14 Points of Distribution (PODs) throughout the state, including the State Logistics Readiness Center (SLRC) in Orlando and various Logistics Staging Areas (LSAs) to ensure supplies are being quickly provided to those who need them.
  • All Florida Army National Guard aviation assets are staged in Opalocka, where they are conducting air bridge operations to deliver life-saving supplies to the Florida Keys in coordination with the USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Iwo Jima.
  • The Florida National Guard is employing two Command Post Nodes (CPN) and two Joint Incident Site Communications Capability (JISCC) systems to provide desperately needed communication capabilities in the Florida Keys, and the Guard is working closely with Monroe County to identify any additional needs.



  • More than 100 shelters are open throughout Florida with a total population of more than 11,000 individuals. More than 60 special needs shelters are open with a total population of 6,000 individuals. This number is being updated throughout the day. Visit to find information on shelters in your area.
  • To find information about available shelter information by county, visit FEMA is also hosting shelter information on its mobile app which can be found at
  • The state is fully committed to ensuring adequate food resources are available to residents impacted by Hurricane Irma, and are prioritizing these resources based on areas where landfall occurred first and based upon urgency of need. USDA Foods from the state inventory have been deployed and the state is distributing ice for shelters, canteens, kitchens, and military support operations.



  • More than 150 assisted living facilities, 9 hospitals, and 126 other health care facilities, including 44 nursing homes, have evacuated or are closed. Of Florida’s total 309 hospitals, all operational facilities have power or are running on generator power. The 9 Florida hospitals that are currently closed are continuing to coordinate with the state on reopening.
  • Disaster Medical Assistance Teams have been deployed to provide healthcare services to communities in need.
  • Up-to-date information on boil water notices is available online HERE.
  • The state is holding daily calls with assisted living facilities and nursing homes to ensure they have everything they need to serve those in their care. The state is aggressively working to restore power to these facilities.
  • Department of Health (DOH) Environmental Health staff are conducting assessments throughout the state and epidemiology staff are monitoring emergency department surveillance to identity carbon monoxide poisonings relating to generator use.
  • DOH staff continues to provide staffing for special needs shelters and deploy other assets to aid in county recovery efforts. Ambulance strike teams have also been deployed to aid with movements.
  • OneBlood is urging all those who are able to visit a local blood center and donate blood to do so. They have an urgent need for platelets and O negative blood.
  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities’ regional offices have been in constant contact with providers, waiver support coordinators, and APD customers to ensure they are safe and the status of their homes. Two Group Homes run by Monroe Association for Remarkable Citizens (MARC) evacuated to Orlando and have extended their stay until Monday. They have heard that their group homes were not damaged by Hurricane Irma and they plan to return home as soon as possible. APD has established an email box for specific APD questions related to Hurricane Irma at
  • Group Home residents are leaving emergency shelters and returning home as mandatory evacuations are rescinded. Two Group Homes run by Monroe Association for Remarkable Citizens (MARC) evacuated to Orlando and plan to stay until Friday. They are waiting to hear from local officials when it is safe to return to Monroe County.
  • Residents, especially residents with special needs, should plan for conditions along their route home as well as conditions in their impacted community. For road conditions, please check Residents should contact their local county or emergency management officials for the most up-to-date information regarding curfews, power outages, reentry policies and the availability of necessary commodities.
  • The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA) operates six skilled nursing facilities and one assisted living facility. All state veterans’ homes are currently operational. One veterans home is currently operating on generator power.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) operates a number of Florida-based medical centers, outpatient clinics and Vet Centers in the storm path. For specific information on all VA closures in Florida, please click HERE or visit



  • Today, the Florida Department of Transportation announced that I-75 will remain open, as flood waters have been receding on the Santa Fe River. As of this morning, FDOT engineers and state meteorologists do not believe that the Santa Fe River will reach a level to make the interstate unsafe.
  • FDOT continues to monitor the effect of unprecedented flooding at the Santa Fe River on nearby roadways and its impact on traffic flow. FDOT is watching S.R. 47 and U.S. 121 and will reroute traffic if needed. See the most recent closures below:
  • US 27 BRIDGE CLOSURE: Northbound – US 27 traffic to Lake City detour at NW 9th Street in High Springs. Southbound – US 27 to Gainesville and Southbound US 27 traffic to Gainesville detour at SR 47 in Fort White.
  • US 41 BRIDGE CLOSURE: Northbound – US 41 traffic to Lake City detour at Winn Dixie in High Springs. Southbound – US 41 traffic to Gainesville detour at CR 778.
  • FDOT continues to coordinate with Google’s emergency response team to “close” damaged roads in Google Maps in real time following damage assessments. FDOT is also working closely with WAZE, the Georgia Department of Transportation and other transportation industry partners to communicate the potential reroutes to the public.
  • Governor Rick Scott announced that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has approved a $25 million Emergency Relief (ER) Quick Release Grant to support response and recovery efforts for Florida’s roadways and transportation system. This federal funding will be used to conduct emergency repairs on impacted roads, embankments, bridges or other infrastructure and help restore traffic on major roadways to ensure Florida residents and visitors can travel safely.
  • FDOT debris removal crews have cleared U.S. 1 down to Key West. Local officials will determine when it’s safe to reenter Monroe County.
  • The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has completed damage assessments on major highways. Every interstate and turnpike is open for Floridians, however, there is heavy traffic volume on I-10 eastbound and I-75 southbound. Everyone should continue to listen to local officials on when to return home.
  • FDOT’s cut and toss crews will continue to work with utility crews across the state to clear road debris so power can be restored quickly.
  • Bridge inspections and debris clearance are ongoing throughout the state.
  • FDOT is continuing to coordinate with other states to deploy additional resources to impacted counties.
  • Around the state, FDOT has 13 traffic management centers where hundreds of DOT workers are monitoring traffic cameras 24/7.
  • Governor Scott directed the FDOT to suspend tolls across the entire State of Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma. Tolls remain suspended and immediate recovery efforts continue.



  • An aggressive recovery effort is ongoing, working with FEMA to identify and activate federal grant programs that can benefit Floridians and their communities.
  • President Donald Trump’s Administration expanded Major Disaster Declaration for Florida requested by Governor Scott to include individual assistance for Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia counties. Sunday, just hours after Governor Scott’s request, President Trump approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Florida authorizing federal funding to flow directly to Floridians impacted by Hurricane Irma and reimburse local communities and the state government to aid in response and recovery. See the amendments to the declaration HERE.
  • Emergency Protective Measures (Category A and Category B) funded through the Federal Public Assistance Program is available for all 67 counties.



  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging individuals and families to be alert for false rumors, scams, identity theft, and fraud. For resources on how to protect yourself and your loves ones from disaster fraud, visit
  • Residents who sustained losses in the declared counties can apply for assistance by registering online at Residents who suffered damages from the storm may register now, and if their county is later included in the declaration, the application will be processed automatically.
  • Governor Scott will continue to work with President Trump and FEMA to approve more funding to additional communities affected by the storm.
  • Residents are also encouraged to download the FEMA App to begin the registration process. Simply click on Disaster Resources.
  • If you do not have access to the internet, you may register by calling 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY); if you use 711 Relay or Video Relay Service call 1-800-621-3362.
  • The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.





  • Volunteer Florida and the Department of Management Services are seeking state employee volunteers to transport food to affected areas in Southwest and Northeast Florida beginning Friday, Sept. 15. DMS is also working with rental car companies to secure cargo vans and box trucks for this effort and both agencies are coordinating with the American Red Cross to deliver supplies to shelters and staging areas. For more information, visit and click “Hurricane Irma: Volunteer to Help.”
  • Governor Rick Scott activated the Florida Disaster Fund to support individuals who are impacted by Tropical Storm Irma. The Florida Disaster Fund helps provide financial support to Florida’s communities in times of disaster. To make a contribution, please visit or text DISASTER to 20222 to make a one-time donation of $10. Volunteer Florida has also engaged with Facebook to activate a donation portal online.
  • In response to Hurricane Irma, Lyft is donating $100,000 to a “Relief Rides” program helping those in need get to/from hospitals and shelters after the hurricane, as well as partnering with Team Rubicon to help their volunteers. If you are associated with a hospital, shelter, or local government, please email so that Lyft can get you access to a pre-funded account to help those in need. Click here for information on how partners can use Lyft’s Concierge Service to request rides for those in need and who may not have access to a smartphone. If you are an individual in need of a ride, please use the code HELPFLORIDA. For information on specific locations for Relief Rides please click here.
  • Volunteer Florida is working with Uber to transport food to people in shelter. Uber is donating $400,000 of rides, food and relief to families and communities affected as well as first responders. Uber will also provide free rides to and from shelters for residents of Hillsborough and other impacted areas, including Duval County and Lee County. In partnership with Volunteer Florida, Uber will provide free rides to help move volunteers to shelters in impacted areas. Local governments, nonprofits, and organizations with an immediate need can visit
  • Volunteer Florida is working with Johnson & Johnson, which is donating baby supplies and personal hygiene items to victims, Americares, which is donating pharmaceutical supplies to special needs shelters, Poland Water, which is donating 100 box cars of bottled water, American Logistics Network to stand up a multiple agency warehouse, and multiple volunteer partners.
  • A Red Cross advance team is in the Florida Keys evaluating and assessing the most expeditious manner to provide services and emergency supplies there.
  • The American Red Cross has accepted 1,000 meals offered through Volunteer Florida from Boar’s Head Provisions. Local arrangements are being made to deliver these meals to areas of need in Duval County.



  • 49 Florida State Parks have reopened for day-use only, 125 parks remain closed to ensure visitor safety. Park service staff have formed teams to respond to impacted parks and re-open them as quickly as possible. A full list of closures can be found at
  • At Governor Scott’s request, EPA will make it easier for Duke Energy Florida to use available fuel resources for vehicles and equipment responding to power outages in Florida as a result of Hurricane Irma to allow recovery efforts to continue as quickly as possible.
  • DEP staff are conducting assessments of beach impacts in Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Martin, St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Manatee, Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Franklin and Gulf counties. DEP continues to coordinate with USACE to expedite recovery of Florida beaches.
  • DEP has mobilized 12 Hazardous Assessment and Response Teams in coordination with the EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard to assess hazardous waste facilities and respond to pollution incidents and other storm impacts. The 40 members of these teams have deployed to Duval and Hillsborough counties tomorrow to begin assessments, and are identifying additional sites north of Lake Okeechobee for assessment. A total of 119 assessments have been completed.
  • DEP staff continue to respond to local governments and utilities requests for support. DEP is mobilizing contractors to county-identified debris sites.
  • Dune and beach fortification activities in St. Johns, Volusia and Flagler counties that had begun in the week prior to Hurricane Irma have resumed.
  • Technical specialists from EPA’s water division have deployed to Florida to assist DEP staff with wastewater and drinking water system recovery.
  • DEP has established a mutual aid system to coordinate responses between utilities, the department, and other responders. This system is active and continues to coordinate and respond to the needs of drinking and waste water facilities throughout Florida. This includes ensuring generators are provided to the Town of White Springs, Alachua County, City of Delray Beach, City of Pompano Beach and Manatee County for lift stations, wastewater plant and other vital infrastructure operations.
  • DEP continues to coordinate with GIS and subject matter experts to map priority sites for preliminary damage assessments, and with FDOT to assure roads are cleared to priority sites to expedite assessments.
  • DEP is coordinating with US Army Corps of Engineers, FDOT, US Coast Guard, FWC, and FEMA on debris removal statewide.
  • DEP is mobilizing Beach Response Teams and participating with assistance of USACE in efforts to expedite recovery of Florida beaches.
  • DEP has issued an emergency order to ensure recovery efforts are not hampered or delayed. DEP has expanded that order for power plants to cover the entire state to assist any facility recovering from the storm and a new order to waive certain rules for fuel facilities impacted by the storm statewide. Both orders apply only to impacted facilities and have provisions to guard the environment while assisting in quick recovery of critical infrastructure.
  • DEP is working with FWC, EPA, and the U.S. Coast Guard to mitigate pollutants from submerged vessels.



  • The Suwannee River Water Management District is working with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Department of Environmental Protection to manage conditions around the Santa Fe River at 1-75 to ensure public safety.
  • The South Florida Water Management District’s (SFWMD) Aerial inspections and Damage Assessment Unit teams have completed inspections of the canals, levees and structures throughout the District. No levee breaches have been found.
  • Three 42-inch temporary pumps are being relocated to Collier County to assist with lowering canal levels.
  • Pumps along the southern rim of Lake Okeechobee are pumping water into the lake to address flooding, which has affected families and businesses in Glades communities.
  • Debris teams have been deployed in Miami-Dade, Broward and Collier counties to assess debris in canals that could slow the flow of water and begin removal.  Most canals are receding to normal levels.
  • SFWMD continues to coordinate with local drainage districts and to operating flood control structures to address localized flooding. This includes relocating temporary pumps to Collier County and assisting Orlando International Airport with operations to lower its water levels.
  • Two major St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) water control structures remain closed, preventing 3,300 cubic feet per second from entering the St. Johns River. So far total discharge to the St. Johns River has been reduced by 8,300 cubic feet per second.
  • Two additional SJRWMD structures are open, discharging 5,000 cubic feet per second of water to the Indian River Lagoon, to help mitigate flooding.
  • SJRWMD continues to deploy pumps and staff to assist Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties in recovery efforts from flooding caused by Hurricane Irma.
  • SJRWMD responded to a request from a local municipality and pumped out flood waters from an assisted living home in Putnam County.
  • SWFWMD continues to operate water control structures. All structures without power are being monitored and are discharging as needed. These structures can be manually operated if needed.



  • Governor Scott announced today that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has launched the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma to provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm. To complete an application by the Oct. 31, 2017, deadline, visit For more information contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 850-898-3489 or email
  • DEO has launched the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Program to provide assistance to businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Irma. To file for DUA or for more information go to or call 1-800-385-3920.
  • A private sector hotline is available at (850) 410-1403 to respond to calls from businesses and private sector support organizations.
  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is readying the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program to provide temporary income support to eligible individuals in counties approved for FEMA Individual Assistance.
  • The state is working to identify the “open/close” status of businesses. This information is being posted to the SERT Tropical Storm Irma web page:
  • The Florida Retail Federation is assisting in coordinating information to Florida Retailers regarding restocking of emergency supplies, readying mobile pharmacies, and the transportation of fuel.
  • The Florida Small Business Development Center Network is working with federal officials to identify additional staffing and financial resources to support business response activities.
  • The Florida Chamber of Commerce is coordinating with their members and local chambers to determine post-storm recovery needs and identifying resources available to be sent to the affected areas.



  • At the Direction of Governor Scott, Insurance Commissioner Altmaier issued an Emergency Order suspending and activating certain insurance rules and statutes for the health, safety, and welfare of Florida’s policyholders. Among other provisions, the Order provides an additional 90 days to policyholders to supply information to their insurance company; prohibits insurance companies from canceling or non-renewing policies covering residential properties damaged by the hurricane for at least 90 days; and freezes any and all efforts to increase rates on policyholders for 90 days. The Order can be found HERE.
  • Floridians affected by the storm must now begin the process of surveying damages to their property and belongings. If you need help finding your Florida’s property insurance company’s website and contact information, click HERE. For a list of licensed insurance agents in Florida, click HERE.
  • Consumers with questions about their policies and those who need help filing a claim should call the CFO’s free Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-693-5236.
  • It is important to document all damaged property and belongings. A free smartphone app developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners called “MyHome” is available to assist with photo documentation.
  • OIR has updated its “Hurricane Season Resources” webpage, which contains links to information provided by the Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture, Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program, and contact information for Florida’s property insurers.