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Gov. Scott Issues Updates on Hurricane Michael Response

Governor's Press Office

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott is in constant communication with federal, state and local emergency management officials and state agency leaders to ensure that communities impacted by Hurricane Michael are receiving everything they need. Governor Scott has surveyed damage from Hurricane Michael in Bay, Gadsden, Washington, Liberty, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Wakulla, Franklin and Jackson counties.

Yesterday, Governor Scott, President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long surveyed damage in the impacted areas.

Following Governor Scott’s request, President Donald Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Michael. See the declaration HERE. On October 7th, Governor Scott declared a state of emergency in 26 Florida counties, and expanded it to include 35 counties total on October 8th. To see his Emergency Order, click HERE.

Following a request by Governor Scott, and approval by FEMA, families in the following counties are now eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance:  

Governor Scott’s request for Transitional Sheltering Assistance has been approved for Bay County, meaning that FEMA will be providing more options for places for families to stay, including hotel rooms. The Governor has requested that FEMA is flexible with families in this program and provides vouchers for condos and other rentals. More information HERE.  


The state is working to ensure adequate food resources are available for Florida residents impacted by Hurricane Michael, prioritizing based upon need. Specific activities include the following:

Law enforcement escorts have been arranged to expedite food and water resources.

Food and water commodities are being airdropped into the hardest hit counties.

Approximately 3 million meals ready to eat are being distributed.

Approximately 2 million gallons of water are being distributed.

Approximately 3 million pounds of ice are being distributed.

Emergency Supply Distribution Centers, or Points of Distribution (POD), are places where the public can pick up emergency supplies following a disaster. These sites have food, water, or other critical supplies. Click HERE for a complete map of POD locations.

There are no reported widespread fuel shortages.

Florida SERT made first responder fueling depots available to utility crews across the Panhandle. This helps ensure that utility restoration trucks have the fuel they need so they can restore power faster. 

Approximately 700,000 gallons of fuel is staged to be distributed at fueling stations to support restoration efforts in the impacted areas.

There are currently 96 fueling trucks being used to distribute fuel.

Today, Governor Scott laid out his expectations for telecommunications companies that are experiencing prolonged service outages in the areas impacted by Hurricane Michael. See the Governor’s press release HERE which states the following expectations of Governor Scott:

Any Floridian in the impacted counties should be allowed to switch providers without penalty;

Bills for Floridians in impacted counties that have been without service should be waived for the month of October; and
Telecommunications companies should be open and transparent with Floridians and do so with a clearly communicated plan to quickly restore service.

More than 2,000 personnel are working to restore cell service and communications in the impacted areas.

Communications support packages have been dispatched through the Commercial Service Providers and Florida National Guard to Holmes, Liberty, Jackson, Gadsden. Calhoun, Gulf, Franklin, and Washington counties.

At the direction of Governor Scott, Florida Highway Patrol escorted cellular service provider crews to the affected areas. See the video HERE.

Comcast has sent the Xfinity “WiFi on Wheels” or “WoW” van to provide free wireless internet service so residents and emergency personnel can stay connected.

The vehicle is set up at the Lynn Haven Walmart Supercenter at 2101 State Road 77, Lynn Haven, FL 32444. The customized van is outfitted with six WiFi access points, which can provide wireless internet connectivity to approximately 3,000 users over a 500 square foot area.

Prior to Hurricane Michael’s impact, Governor Scott called on every local government to immediately confirm their mutual aid agreements between investor-owned utilities, municipals and co-ops are in place and effective so there is no delay in power restoration for Floridians. These agreements allow municipal utilities to receive aid from investor-owned utilities and co-ops as they work to restore power to customers. Without these agreements in place ahead of time, power restoration will be delayed. To view the full list of Florida utilities with agreements in place, click HERE.

Florida SERT made first responder fueling depots available to utility crews across the Panhandle. This helps ensure that utility restoration trucks have the fuel they need so they can restore power faster. 

Following Governor Scott’s offer to each utility in Florida additional push crews to augment the ability of power restoration workers, five utilities have drawn down push crews. Push crews will go in advance of utility crews and clear their paths so the utilities can focus solely on getting power restored. There are currently 21 push crews working in impacted areas.

Governor Scott directed the Florida Department of Transportation to organize, lead and mobilize push crews to expedite power restoration.

Approximately 600 generators have been mobilized to impacted counties to bring traffic lights online, which will alleviate the need for law enforcement to direct traffic.

Governor Scott also requested assistance from Manny Miranda, Florida Power and Light’s Senior Vice President of Power Delivery, to advise and assist the state’s power restoration efforts. Manny will be traveling to Tallahassee where he will serve as a liaison between the state and FEMA to help provide technical support and assistance.

The current power outage as of 3 p.m. is 138,588.

Currently 13 shelters are open with a population of 1,196.
Visit to find information on shelters in your area. This site is being updated as shelters open throughout the day.

The Department of Management Services is overseeing the development of a base camp for up to 1,000 first responders and utility workers on the grounds of the Tallahassee Regional Airport along Springhill Road.  The camp will include multiple large air-conditioned tents for long-term housing of workers.

At Governor Scott's direction, the Florida National Guard has authorized the activation of up to 4,000 Soldiers and Airmen to assist with response efforts.

Through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), the Florida National Guard has coordinated for extra aviation assets from other states. Currently on site in Florida, there are five extra CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the Mississippi, New York, Ohio and Minnesota National Guards to augment our aviation capabilities, as well as six UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from the Louisiana, New York, Arkansas and Kansas National Guards.

The Florida National Guard currently has a total of 3,459 Soldiers and Airmen on orders, along with 66 counterparts from Title 10 and other National Guard states. Joint Task Force-Florida has been tasked with a total of 296 missions including (but not limited to) the following:

Conducting 1 search and rescue mission in Gulf County;

Conducting 6 route clearance missions in Bay County;

Conducting 5 security missions in Bay, Liberty, and Gulf counties;
Communications support packages have been dispatched to 7 counties (Gulf, Calhoun, Bay, Franklin, Washington, Liberty and Jackson counties;

Guardsmen are currently staffing a total of 6 shelter missions in the following counties - Bay (3), Calhoun (2), Gulf (2);

Currently staffing 9 county Emergency Operations Centers;

Supporting 27 Points of Distribution (PODs) throughout 8 counties (Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Jackson, Liberty, Wakulla and Washington);

Operating at the State Logistics Readiness Center (SLRC) in Orlando and various Logistics Staging Areas (LSAs) to ensure that we are able to get supplies quickly to those who need them; and

Our aviation assets are actively conducting missions sets including reconnaissance, search and rescue, Governor support, and an air bridge operation to deliver life-saving supplies to affected areas.

In the past 24 hours, elements of Joint Task Force-Florida have supported approximately 24 missions including (but not limited to):

Supported emerging security missions in support of local law enforcement agencies in Bay, Liberty and Gulf counties;

Assisted in the assessment of more than 1,100 structures;

Conducted debris clearing of more than 16 square miles of roads in Bay County; and

Task Force 50 delivered approximately 220 pallets of food, 680 pallets of water along with 2,200 tarps and 1,720 cots

More than 1,830 law enforcement officers have been deployed to impacted areas in the Panhandle and Big Bend. These officers have completed 149 missions.

FWC officers continue performing search and rescue, welfare checks, reconnaissance, public safety missions and assisting with debris removal. This includes two initial waves of officers and support staff, totaling approximately 150 people. They are providing aid to areas of greatest need including Carrabelle, Mexico Beach, Panama City, Marianna, Blountstown, Port St. Joe, Alligator Point and other areas that were severely affected by Hurricane Michael.

FWC response teams have transitioned to 12-hour Alpha/Bravo shifts to provide 24-hour coverage in the affected areas.

Recent activities have included locating missing persons, distributing humanitarian aid, clearing debris from roadways and houses, assisting with medical calls, escorting supply trucks and assisting local police departments and sheriff’s offices.

A third wave of approximately 135 additional officers is currently on standby for deployment to replace initially deployed officers.

FWC Aviation is consistently providing reconnaissance information to state emergency management as well as providing air assistance to search and rescue teams on the ground.

15 members of FWC’s Special Operations Group continue working with the National Guard and Florida Fire Service USAR teams to create highly specialized urban search and rescue units.

FWC continues to assist with the command posts set up in Marianna, Carrabelle and Blountstown.

The Florida Highway Patrol has activated 12 hour shifts for field troops throughout Florida’s Panhandle and Big Bend. This activation will result in regular days off being cancelled and 24-hour enhanced coverage.

The Florida Highway Patrol has 632 state troopers assigned to the Panhandle and Big Bend area of Florida to assist with response and recovery. The Florida Highway Patrol has assisted with emergency management missions all across the Panhandle including the cities of Callaway, Lynn Haven, Panama City, Wewahitchka, Mexico Beach, Port St. Joe, Cape San Blas, Indian Pass, Apalachicola, St. George Island, St. Teresa, Carrabelle, Alligator Point, Marianna, Bristol, Altha, Blountstown, Tallahassee, Perry, Panacea, Crawfordville, Shell Point, Hosford, Quincy, Gretna, Chattahoochee, and Midway. The Florida Highway Patrol has completed 73 missions and has 37 active missions.  

The Florida Highway Patrol is providing security escorts to utility crews and the Florida National Guard route clearance teams.

The Florida Highway Patrol is assisting FDC with perimeter security at affected institutions and escorting FDC buses to secure facilities.

The Florida Highway Patrol is providing security escorts to essential commodity convoys into Bay County.

The Florida Highway Patrol is deploying multiple MRAPs (high clearance recovery vehicles) to perform search and rescue missions and clear roadways in impacted areas.

The Florida Highway Patrol is supplementing local law enforcement agency efforts with increased patrol of damaged areas.

The Florida Highway Patrol is providing traffic control and security at points of deliveries (PODs) for essential commodities.
The Florida Highway Patrol is assigning 10 state troopers to work with the Panama City Police Department to assist with Law Enforcement Operations.

The Florida Highway Patrol currently has 24/7 representation within the State Emergency Operations Center coordinating preparation, response and recovery efforts. The Florida Highway Patrol is also staffing numerous County Emergency Operations Centers.

The Florida Highway Patrol will maintain high visibility on Interstate-10 and other roadways to assist motorists, clear roadways and will routinely check rest areas to assist residents and visitors.

The Florida Highway Patrol has deployed an aircraft with live streaming capabilities to assess response and recovery needs.

The Florida Highway Patrol has deployed two small unmanned aerial vehicles with livestreaming capabilities to assess road and bridge response and recovery needs, as well as search and rescue missions.

Three DHSMV Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobiles will be in Bay County starting tomorrow to provide credentialing services to customers. Locations include Sam’s Club in Panama City, the Bay County Tax Collector main office in Panama City and the Bay County Tax Collector Lynn Haven office. The FLOW mobile hours will be 9am-6pm CDT.  

DHSMV’s Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobiles are finalizing logistics to deploy a unit to Gulf County to assist customers impacted by the storm. Locations and hours of operation will be released as soon as they are available.

One DHSMV Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobile will be at the Apalachicola City Complex to provide credentialing services to customers starting today. The FLOW mobile hours will be 9am-4pm EDT.

One DHSMV Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobile will be at the Liberty County Courthouse to provide credentialing services to customers starting today. The FLOW mobile hours will be 9am-4pm EDT.
FDLE’s Mutual Aid Team is coordinating more than 400 law enforcement missions assisting local agencies after the storm with search and rescue, patrols and traffic enforcement.
FDLE and other statewide law enforcement partners are working at SEOC and in the Pensacola and Tallahassee regions.
12 FDLE deployment teams are assisting law enforcement. In Bay, Gulf, Liberty, Washington, Calhoun, and Jackson Counties. These trams are working patrol and welfare check missions.

Regional FDLE law enforcement coordination teams are coordinating with urban search and rescue teams to get into impacted areas.

There are more than 2,400 search and rescue personnel deploying to the impacted areas. Including:
5 water tender strike teams, fire engine water tankers
7 Ambulance Strike Teams
10 EOC fire liaisons to support EOC’s impacted areas
21 Urban Search and Rescue teams; to include 7 swift water rescue teams with more than 900 personnel
12 fire engine strike teams with 60 fire engines and 300 firefighters

A Florida Fire Forest Service Incident Management Gold Team;
2 TERT (Dispatchers) teams with 9 personnel
1 EVT (Vehicle Maintenance) team with 3 people
1 Unmanned Arial Surveillance (UAV) team of 6 members;
Nearly 400 ambulances with more than 700 staff; and
Four Disaster Medical Assistance teams have been deployed.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is coordinating with utility companies and search and rescue companies to prioritize cut/toss debris clearance routes.

45 Emergency Road Access teams were deployed to ensure access to critical coastal communities

Portable generators were distributed to provide standby power to critical roadway intersections

Inspection teams were deployed to review roads and bridges to ensure safety for travel, particularly along US 98. All bridges have been inspected.

Governor Scott directed FDOT to suspend tolls effective immediately in the Northwest Florida region. Tolls are suspended at the following facilities: Mid-Bay Bridge and Spence Parkway (Okaloosa County), Garcon Point Bridge (Santa Rosa County), Bob Sikes Toll Bridge (Escambia County), and Orchard Pond Parkway (Leon County).

FDOT has suspended all construction operations from the roadways in the counties under the state of emergency.

FDOT is coordinating with the Florida Highway Patrol to reopen bridges and roadways when clear and safe to travel.

FDOT issued an Emergency Road Use Permit letter to relieve size and weight restrictions for vehicles responding to Hurricane Michael.

FDOT issued Weigh Station Bypass letter to allow emergency response vehicles such as utility vehicles and bucket trucks to bypass all FDOT weigh stations.

FDOT is coordinating with Florida’s seaports and airports on the status of their operations.

FDOT is coordinating with utility companies to coordinate post storm clean-up activities.

FDOT is coordinating with the Florida Highway Patrol on bridge and roadway closures and detours.

FDOT crews, in coordination with law enforcement, continue to inspect and assess state bridges and roadways.

FL 511 includes a listing of closed state roadways and bridges at This listing continues to be updated as additional state roads are inspected, opened, or closed and includes updated detour routes.

US 98 is closed to traffic from the Dupont Bridge in Bay County to the east side of Carrabelle in Franklin County for road inspection and emergency repairs except for first responders and power/rescue efforts.

Governor Scott today thanked Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey for taking action to allow pharmacists and pharmacies in their states assist in the Hurricane Michael response efforts providing a critically important health service to Floridians in need.

Florida continues to communicate and monitor pharmacies in the affected areas and work to restore services with as little disruption to citizens as possible. Currently there are 51 pharmacy locations open and dispensing medication in the following counties: Bay, Calhoun, Gadsden, Franklin, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington.

To find an open pharmacy, go to, which maps open and closed pharmacies during disasters. The site also has locations of American Red Cross shelters and infusion centers in the affected communities.

For those with a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, recommends contacting the plan to find the nearest network pharmacy that is open. If one is unavailable, the plan can connect evacuees with an out-of-network pharmacy. Call your plan for more details and instructions. To find your plan’s phone number, call 800-MEDICARE.

The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is in contact with healthcare facilities to ensure they have the resources they need. 

Facilities report their evacuation status to the Agency through the Emergency Status System. An updated evacuation report can be found on the AHCA twitter page:
AHCA has activated the Emergency Status System (ESS) for health care facilities in the panhandle to continue to report their ongoing status including generators and utility company information, emergency contacts, and bed availability.

All nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required to keep residents in a safe environment in an emergency to ensure the protection of resident health, safety, welfare, and comfort.

Facilities are required to have a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan approved and on file with the local emergency management agencies.

Nursing facilities all have back-up power that can power medical equipment and refrigeration for medicine and food.

Additionally, facilities are required to have an emergency power plan in place to ensure that resident occupied area temperatures do not exceed 81 degrees. These plans include onsite generators, delivered generators, or shifting populations to locations that can maintain comfortable temperatures.

As part of licensure, facilities are responsible for the health and safety of their patients.

The State is here to serve as a resource to connect facilities to the local emergency management officials to make sure needs are being met.

The Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) continues communication with directors and emergency coordinators at the affected Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and is working with our partners to resolve unmet need as they are identified.

DOEA has deployed staff from their Pensacola and Tallahassee CARES Bureau offices to assist at Special Needs Shelters both in Tallahassee and other storm-affected counties. Most CARES staff are RNs, and they are helping with special needs and discharge planning of seniors and others at the Special Needs Shelters.

DOEA’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program has been working to check on the welfare of all residents of long-term care facilities in the affected region and offer any needed assistance. Many were evacuated in advance of the storm.

DOEA is also prepping for the Disaster Recover Center Staffing needs and stand ready to deploy and assist.

US HHS declared a public health emergency in Florida following the storm, which will allow more people to continue to get treatment under Medicaid and Medicare.

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is actively communicating with ESF-8 leadership in the counties within the area of operations and supporting county health department (CHD) operations.

AHCA in coordination with DOH is in contact with hospitals and other health care facilities within the area of operations to determine operational status and resource needs.

DOH is monitoring and supporting Special Needs Shelter operations through census reporting and resource support as requested by local emergency operations. 175 nurses and non-clinical support staff have been deployed to augment local special needs shelter staff. Special Needs Shelter populations are decreasing slightly in the affected areas due to a return to normal operations. Special Needs Shelters remain open in the following counties: Leon, Washington, Jackson, Bay and Pasco (Pasco is a state consolidated Special Need Shelter).

390 ambulances and 5 multi-patient Ambu Buses and 125 paratransit vehicles are in the area of operations to assist with rescue operations, health care facility evaluations, local EMS augmentation and patient movement.

A hospital augmentation team from the International Medical Corp has been activated including 50 nurses, two hospital emergency department teams and one hospital augmentation team is supporting one area hospital. Four Disaster Medical Assistance Teams are supporting four area hospitals. Hospital locations include: Panama city (Bay County), Blountstown (Bay County), and Fort Walton Beach (Okaloosa County).

DOH has catalogued inventory of vaccines related to diseases that could be of concern after flooding events or for mass sheltering.

There are currently 45 Active Boil Water Notices: Bay (2), Calhoun (1), Franklin (6), Gadsden (7), Gulf (2), Hillsborough (1), Jackson (6), Leon (14), Levy (1) Liberty (2), Walton (1), and Washington (2). To view boil water notices in your area, please visit

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced steps taken to support Florida in response to Hurricane Michael, including:

Temporarily waiving or modifying certain Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP requirements,

Making special enrollment periods available for certain individuals seeking health plans offered through the Florida Health Insurance Exchange,

Helping patients obtain access to life-saving services such as dialysis.

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) continues to work with waiver support coordinators and providers to ensure the health and safety of the customers the agency serves.

APD crews are addressing needs at Sunland Center in Marianna. Tacachale in Gainesville continues to provide staff and supplies to help residents be as comfortable as possible, including disposable items and 10 more air conditioning window units. Tacachale will continue to provide aid and crews to Sunland as long as needed.
APD director and staff visited Developmental Disabilities Defendant Program (DDDP) (Chattahoochee) and Sunland Center (Marianna) today.

APD’s William J. Rish Recreational Park in Gulf County remains closed.

APD made Hawkins Park in Santa Rosa County available to utility trucks as a staging area if needed.

Residents at the Clifford C. Sims State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Panama City are doing well and continuing to receive medical care. Awaiting main utility power restoration from Gulf Power. All utilities are operational thanks to three onsite and portable generators. Tarp installation continued on the roof through Monday. Additional staff arriving today to relieve on-duty health care providers.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Marianna Community Based Outpatient Clinic, located at 4970 US 90, Marianna, FL, 32446, will begin temporary operations on Tuesday, Oct. 16, to receive veterans needing medical care and mental health services, from 8 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Additionally a toll-free number, 1-800-507-4571, has been established for veterans to get updated information on where to go for care, how to receive prescription drugs, or any other concerns they may have about their care. The phone line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

DCF has ordered an early release of food assistance benefits for those Florida residents in the 35 counties included in Governor Scott’s pre=landfall emergency order who would have received normal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits between now and October 28th.

DCF also waived restrictions on purchasing hot prepared food with SNAP benefits through October 31 statewide to assist customers who evacuated to another area or suffered storm damage to their home.

DCF is providing additional SNAP benefits for customers in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla and Washington counties. These benefits will be loaded onto EBT cards by close of business Wednesday.

A team from FEMA including experts from Homeland Security, the EPA, the Department of Defense, Health and Human Services, and the Army Corps of Engineers is now in Florida and providing federal assistance.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has conducted post-storm assessments on high priority facilities. Two emergency final orders have been issued to ensure recovery efforts are not hampered or delayed.

At DEP’s request, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has waived certain federal requirements related to fuel use and distribution so Florida’s recovery efforts are not hampered by supply disruptions.

DEP has activated and continues to closely monitoring StormTracker, a reporting tool for water and waste water facilities to provide updates on their operational status.

DEP has completed 43 requests and is assisting with 28 additional requests for assistance submitted through Florida's Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (FlaWARN) in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla and Washington counties, and has made outreach calls to 2,680 facilities to assess needs.

Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART) completed hazardous waste facility assessments and are currently conducting coastal fuel storage facility assessments and abandoned container identification in the impacted area.

Beach Surveys have been completed in Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Gulf counties.

Drinking water and wastewater crews completed on site spot assessments and are conducting field work in the impacted areas.
DEP is working closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to coordinate disaster debris management.

The U.S. Coast Guard, in collaboration with EPA, has completed fly overs to assess coastal areas.

An online tool for the public to report the location of storm debris in waterways has been deployed; and 411 reports of debris have been received.

235 Disaster Debris Management Sites have been pre-authorized for the counties addressed by the Governor’s Executive Order.
Florida State Parks strike teams are on site to clear debris and assist individuals in impacted state parks. Fifty-five state parks have re-opened. Current Florida State Park closures can be found at

DEP’s Florida Park Service has opened areas to dry camp for self-contained rigs – usually parking lots without utility connections - at some state parks for evacuees on a first come, first served basis with waived overnight fees. A list of open parks and contact information to check for availability can be found at

Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida has been awarded federal National Dislocated Worker Grants to provide temporary employment to Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael. This program is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and provides disaster relief employment in the form of temporary jobs that support storm response and recovery efforts.

Executive Director Cissy Proctor will be meeting with area businesses and CareerSource in Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla counties this week.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is working with CareerSource North Florida and CareerSource Northeast Florida to send mobile units, along with staff and resources, including water, gas, generators, flashlights and satellite phones to allow CareerSource partners in the panhandle to begin assisting jobseekers and businesses as a part of the recovery efforts.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has made the Disaster Reemployment Assistance program available for Florida businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Michael. To file a DUA claim go to or call 1-800-385-3920.

Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to assist claimants.

DEO has launched the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide short-term, interest-free loans to affects businesses at

Disaster cleanup and other related job openings are now available at for businesses to post job openings and for individuals to find job opportunities.

DEO has opened the Business Damage Assessment Survey for businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael. Businesses with damage should complete the survey at
Businesses can also visit to view tips for assessing storm damage and to register to receive updates on storm recovery.

To help residents and emergency personnel stay connected following the storm, Comcast is opening its network of more than 8,000 Xfinity WiFi hotspots throughout the Florida Panhandle, including Tallahassee, Panama City, Panama City Beach and surrounding areas and the Dothan, Alabama area, to anyone to use for free, including non-Xfinity customers.

The state has opened the Private Sector Hotline at (850) 815-4925. The hotline is available for business inquiries about the storm, preparedness information and post-impact information.

VISIT Florida has activated the Expedia/VISIT Florida Hotel Accommodation Web Portal to support evacuation orders. Visit to find available hotel rooms.

Airbnb Open Homes is now active in Alabama, Florida and Georgia in response to Hurricane Michael.

Visit for open homes.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association provided thousands of meals to first responders, volunteers and residents in Calhoun, Gadsden, Leon, Liberty and Jackson counties, and well as clean linens to a shelter in Panama City.

The Florida Retail Federation and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association continue to share disaster recovery information with their business affiliates.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) offers a Hurricane Guide with information about recovery, and helpful hurricane-related resources. DBPR has shared the Guide on social media and it is available at

The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) is focused on restoring critical education-related infrastructure, monitoring for unmet needs and assisting districts and state colleges in securing necessary supplies.

The Department and Florida Association of District School Superintendents are working together to coordinate district-to-district resource assistance.

Agency leaders from the Divisions of K-12 Public Schools and Colleges are traveling to impacted areas to meet with district and college staff. While there, they are receiving updates on damage, documenting assistance needed to reopen as quickly and offering encouragement.

Many schools in impacted areas, as well as Chipola College and Gulf Coast State College, are without power. FDOE is coordinating with the associated power companies to ensure power is restored to these essential buildings as quickly as safely possible.

FDOE is identifying vendors available to provide assistance and connecting them with impacted school districts and state colleges.

The following school districts have announced closures:

Bay will be closed until further notice.

Calhoun will be closed until further notice.

Franklin will be closed until further notice.

Gadsden will be closed until further notice.

Gulf is tentatively scheduled to reopen Monday, November 5.

Holmes will reopen schools Wednesday, October 17.

Jackson will be closed until further notice.

Liberty will be closed until further notice.

Washington will be closed until further notice.

The following state colleges and universities have announced closures:

Chipola College will be closed through Friday (10/19).
Florida State University’s Panama City Campus will be closed until further notice.

Gulf Coast State College will be closed until further notice.
The Division of Blind Services (DBS) and Division of Vocational Rehabilitatio (DVR) offices listed below are closed until further notice. In the meantime, DBS clients are being directed to the Pensacola office (600 University Office Boulevard), and VR staff has provided clients in impacted areas alternative contact information to receive services.

Bay (DVR & DBS): 2505 West 15th Street, Panama City

Gadsden (DVR): 305 West Crawford Street, Quincy

Jackson (DVR): 4743B Highway 90 East, Marianna

Many district schools are still operating shelters; for a list of Florida shelters, visit

FDOE will be posting up-to-date information regarding closures and meeting cancellations at 

At the direction of Governor Scott, Insurance Commissioner David 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:

o   An additional 90 days to policyholders to supply information to their insurance company

o   Prohibits insurance companies from canceling or non-renewing policies covering residential properties damaged by the hurricane for at least 90 days

o   Freezes efforts to increase rates on policyholders for 90 days. A copy of the Order can be found here.

OIR has ordered property insurers to submit claims information from Hurricane Michael on a daily basis until further notice.

Additional data calls will be scheduled in the near future.

Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and CFO Jimmy Patronis conducted a conference call with representatives of various insurance companies that have policies in force within the regions forecasted to be impacted by Hurricane Michael to ensure those companies:

o   Have resources positioned and available to respond to consumers’ needs

o   Assess damage and pay claims quickly

o   Report any challenges or issues as quickly as possible

o   Report claims to the OIR on time and in accordance with the reporting schedule that will be issued later today

OIR’s Incident Management Team remains fully activated and will have representatives at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. OIR team members will be actively working throughout the recovery phase with consumer advocates, industry stakeholders and entities licensed under OIR’s regulatory authority.

In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 18-276 and 18-277, OIR has

o   Notified all health insurers, managed care organizations and other health entities of their statutory obligation to allow for early prescription refills during a state of emergency.

Health Insurers
FL Pharmacy Assoc.

The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Consumer Services has resources for consumers seeking assistance with the claims-filing process or to file insurance complaints HERE.

Following Hurricane Michael’s devastation to the Florida panhandle, Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis will deploy emergency insurance villages in Panama City and Tallahassee to assist residents with the insurance claims process.

Details for both locations can be found below:

Panama City

Where: Regal Cinemas parking lot located at 1515 W 23rd St, Panama City, FL 32405.

When: Tuesday, October 16 to Friday, October 19 (WILL BE ADJUSTED AS NEEDED) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT

Where: Heritage Plaza 2810 Sharer Road Tallahassee, FL 32312

When: Thursday, October 18 and Friday, October 19 (WILL BE ADJUSTED AS NEEDED) 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., EST

DMS will stay in contact with all state offices and has asked them to report closures in WebEOC.

Open Enrollment began Monday at 8 a.m. ET as scheduled.  State employees can log in at that time to People First to begin making benefit choices. Due to storm response logistics, the benefit fair scheduled Monday at the Betty Easley Center is cancelled. All others are still on.  

Volunteer Florida is coordinating with volunteers in affected areas to begin passing out fliers with information about signing up for FEMA assistance.

Volunteer Florida is working with corporate donors to help establish comfort centers at nine shelters throughout the Florida Panhandle. This will include bringing games and other activities to the shelters to entertain children and help them feel safe during the displacement period.

Volunteer Florida’s 38 Florida Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) partners, including Habitat for Humanity and Team Rubicon, are still engaged in response and recovery activities.

Several Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are still assisting with shelter operations in Bay County. Another CERT team has begun preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) in Leon County. Other CERT teams throughout the state are on standby, prepared to mobilize upon Volunteer Florida’s direction.

Volunteer Florida is coordinating with a 100-person team of AmeriCorps members that will arrive in Tallahassee on Wednesday to be briefed before deploying to affected areas throughout the Panhandle.

Tarps from FEMA were sent to logistical staging areas (LSAs) throughout the Florida Panhandle, and Volunteer Florida is coordinating with partner organizations to have them there to help with tarping. So far, Florida Baptist Disaster Relief, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Mennonite Disaster Services have helped install more than 1,340 tarps.

At Governor Scott’s direction, Volunteer Florida has activated the Florida Disaster Fund, the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster. In partnership with the public sector, private sector and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities. To donate, visit, or text “DISASTER” to 20222 to make a one-time donation of $10.

The Salvation Army is working with state and local emergency management throughout the Florida Panhandle.

The Salvation Army has established Incident Commands in Panama City, Apalachicola, and Tallahassee. The Salvation Army has committed 24 mobile feeding units to the Panama City Incident Command (serving Bay, Holmes, and Washington Counites), 9 mobile feeding units to the Apalachicola Incident Command (serving Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Jackson and Liberty Counties), and 11 mobile feeding units to the Tallahassee Incident Command (serving Gadsden, Leon, and Wakulla Counties). Each unit can serve 500-1,500 meals per day.

In partnership with The Salvation Army, Operation BBQ Relief is serving meals at 7160 US 98, Panama City Beach, 32407, and providing meals for distribution through mobile feeding kitchens.
The Salvation Army has deployed a Personnel Support Unit (bunkhouse) to Panama City as well as shower trailer to support staff and volunteers that are providing services.
As of October 15, The Salvation Army has provided 66,482 meals, 57,237 drinks, 52,223 snacks, and 9,637 hours of service.
The Salvation Army has committed more than $820,000 in resources to Hurricane Michael relief efforts.
Red Cross has 785 disaster relief workers in the affected counties with an additional 300 on the way.

The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated at a level one, which is a full-scale, 24-hours-a-day activation.
The State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) contact number is 1-800-342-3557.

The State Emergency Operations Center Media Line: 850-921-0217.

Follow @FLSert or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live updates on Hurricane Michael.

Visit to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.

El número de contacto de la Línea de Información de Asistencia Estatal (SAIL) es 1-800-342-3557.

La línea de Prensa del Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia Estatal es: 850-921-0217

Siga a @FLSert o @FLGovScott en Twitter para obtener actualizaciones en vivo sobre el Huracán Michael.

Visite para encontrar información sobre refugios, cierres de carreteras y rutas de evacuación.

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