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Port Orange Observer Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019 3 weeks ago

Gov. DeSantis encourages vigilance, Hurricane Dorian path remains uncertain

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“While the storm’s path is generally more favorable compared to yesterday, we can’t let our guard down,” he said.
by: Guest Writer

Gov. Ron DeSantis continued to monitor Hurricane Dorian’s trajectory with state, local and national weather experts as the storm’s path remains uncertain. He's continued to be in constant communication with Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz and county emergency management directors.

“While the storm’s path is generally more favorable compared to yesterday, we can’t let our guard down,” DeSantis said. “I appreciate the hard work of our local, state and federal emergency management professionals as we continue to do everything necessary to prepare for this storm. Floridians and their families along the east coast should have a plan and continue to heed all warnings.”

The storm continues to be unpredictable, according to Moskowitz, as the tracks shifted east in the morning and west in the afternoon.

"It is vital that we continue to be prepared," he said.

Telecommunications

  • To help residents and emergency personnel stay connected in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, Comcast announced it is opening its network of almost 200,000 Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Florida to anyone who needs them, including non-Xfinity customers, free of charge.
  • The Department of Management Services set up an emergency telecommunications provider coordination group to ensure coordinated recovery efforts to aid in the emergency response and recovery after the storm has passed.
  • There are almost 28,000 linemen, tree crews and support personnel staged around Florida to help quickly restore power. 
  • Verizon is offering unlimited calling, texting and data for customers in the path of the hurricane. Verizon’s prepaid, postpaid and small-business customers in the path of the hurricane will have unlimited calling, data and texting from Sept. 2-9.
  • AT&T announced it’s waiving data overages in affected Florida areas from Sept. 2-8.

Fuel

  • Florida Highway Patrol is escorting fuel trucks to ensure fuel reaches critical areas more quickly. The State is working closely with the fuel industry to ensure there is an adequate fuel supply statewide.
  • Through Executive Order 19-189, DeSantis waived hours of service and truck weights for fuel trucks. Neighboring states, specifically Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia have waived requirements as well so that fuel can be moved more efficiently.
  • The state is working with industry partners to identify additional resources, including trucks, staff and more to distribute more fuel throughout the state.
  • Florida officials are working with ports along the East Coast to monitor resources and assist with closures and re-openings.

Food and water

  • The state has 819,000 gallons of water and 1.8 million meals ready for distribution.
  • The state has submitted a request to FEMA for 9 million liters of water and 6.5 million shelf-stable meals.
  • The state has pre-deployed 860,000 bottles of water to preparing counties.
  • The state has 730,000 pounds of ice ready for distribution

Military support

  • DeSantis authorized the activation of 2,500 Florida National Guard troops, with an additional 1,500 awaiting orders.
  • The Florida National Guard is well-equipped, with assets including high-wheeled vehicles, helicopters, boats, generators and more.

Safety and security

  • Twenty Urban Search and Rescue Teams are on standby for deployment.
  • HazMat Teams have been identified across 12 departments that will be available for response.
  • Six FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Teams are on standby.

Law enforcement

  • More than 1,000 state sworn law enforcement officers are on standby for potential deployment.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol has prepared its emergency response equipment and resources for staging as the storm approaches the state.
  • FHP has activated 12-hour Alpha/Bravo shifts for approximately 1,400 Troopers in the eastern portions of the state.
  • FHP deployed three aircraft to monitor traffic over I-75, I-95 and Florida’s turnpike.
  • FHP has 68 Quick Reaction Force troopers on standby for pre-deployment.
  • FHP is also in contact with its local law enforcement and transportation partners to identify and assist with any local needs before, during and after the storm.
  • FHP is providing two troopers for security at each of the eight service plazas on the Florida Turnpike to expedite service at the fuel pumps.
  • Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Florida Licensing on Wheels mobiles are ready to serve impacted customers immediately following the storm.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is preparing officers and resources for potential deployments in the coming days. They are using a variety of specialized equipment, including shallow draft boats, ATVs, airboats and four-wheel drive vehicles.
  • FDLE’s mutual aid team is leading Florida’s law enforcement response coordinating around 30 missions including fuel delivery escorts and identifying pre-staging areas.
  • FDLE is pre-positioning logistics teams along the east coast who are ready to respond after the storm makes landfall. 
  • FDLE is pre-positioning a mobile communications team to ensure emergency communications continue following the storm.

Public health

  • The Agency for Health Care Administration activated the Emergency Status System for health care facilities statewide to enter their storm preparedness status including generators and utility company information, emergency contacts and bed availability.
  • Information about nursing homes and assisted living facilities generator status can be found at http://fl-generator.com/.
  • Of the 3,062 licensed assisted living facilities in Florida, 2,963 facilities have a generator and must have the generator on-site as a result of the state of emergency. Four facilities have emergency plans to evacuate if needed. AHCA is conducting extensive outreach with these facilities to ensure generators are being acquired or there are appropriate plans to evacuate in place.
  • AHCA is deploying staff to any facility in the coastal counties for which we do not have current updated information on their generator status.
  • 684 nursing homes have a generator and must have the generator on-site as a result of the state of emergency, and three facilities have emergency plans to evacuate if needed.
  • AHCA is participating in daily calls with the Florida Health Care Association and all residential and inpatient healthcare facilities, and the Florida Hospital Association and all hospitals. 
  • The Department of Health has no active boil water notices. However, it has two webpages that will be updated in real-time as notices are issued.

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